MAKE GOALSStart by having goals for the year. It may be just these 12 books, or it may be more. But pick the actual books that you want to read for each category (you can always change it along the way), because that might determine the order in which you want to read them.
HAVE LEAD MEASURES IN PLACEWe all know that saying we want to read "x" number of books this year is much easier than actually reading them. Goals really mean nothing without "lead measures" (which I learned from Cal Newport's book Deep Work). A lead measure tracks how you are progressing in meeting your goals and gives you a realistic strategy for meeting them. For example, let's say that I have the goal of reading War and Peace in two months. For that goal to become a reality, I need to know how many pages I need to read in a week and how many in a day. It also then requires me to determine how long and when I need to read each day.
TRACK YOUR READINGOnce you know what these lead measures need to be, you can track them daily/weekly. There are many options for this -- from reading journals to pages in your planner to Goodreads. It need not be complicated; just find what works for you. I use my bullet journal and Goodreads to help track what and when I am reading.
USE AUDIOBOOKSI found that I read twice as much last year, because I utilized audiobooks. I find that I -- like most of you -- have lots of pockets of time that are redeemed well with audiobooks: folding/putting away laundry, dinner prep, washing dishes, cleaning, driving, and so on. Have several audio books in the cue (through Audible or a library app) and have your wireless headphones accessible, and you will find yourself meeting your reading goals more quickly with audiobooks this year.
SHARE THIS CHALLENGEShare this reading challenge with others that may be interested or link to this post on your social media accounts. It's always more fun to be reading along with a group of others, especially when you know the people personally. You probably know people who are looking for some resources to motivate their reading lives -- encourage them to do the #2018catholicreadingchallenge with you! Most of us find that we want to be reading more, and I think that is because we realize the need for it in the formation of our faith and every other area of our lives. It is vital for us to be lifelong learners and to nourish our souls with good literature. There are many things vying for our time and attention that leave us empty afterwards, but I firmly believe that we never regret the time that we spend "filling up" our minds, hearts, and souls with what only good books have to offer. I look forward to feasting on some good books with you in 2018!
Copyright 2018 Jessica Ptomey
About the Author
Jessica Ptomey is a Catholic convert, wife, mom, writer, communications scholar and professor, and homeschooler. She blogs at JessicaPtomey.com. She is the author of Home in the Church: Living an Embodied Catholic Faith, and her research in inter-faith dialogue has been published in the Journal of Communication and Religion (JCR). She is also the co-host, with her husband Mike, of The Catholic Reading Challenge podcast.