Why you should plan readingIt’s January–that time of year when resolutions abound. Maybe you’ve resolved to eat healthier, exercise more, or spend more time with friends and family. 

But have you made any reading goals for the year? 

Odds are, your answer is no. If you’re anything like I used to be, you just kind of bounce from book to book haphazardly. What you read from month to month and year to year is simply not something you really sit down and think about.

Or maybe you’ve gone through a season without reading any books at all.  If that’s the case, you’re definitely not alone:

“The Pew Research Center reported [in January of 2014] that nearly a quarter of American adults had not read a single book in the past year. As in, they hadn’t cracked a paperback, fired up a Kindle, or even hit play on an audiobook while in the car. The number of non-book-readers has nearly tripled since 1978.”

Many of us are very intentional about what we put in our bodies (especially this time of year). Shouldn’t we also be intentional about what we put in our minds and hearts? 

4 Reasons to Plan Your Reading in 2016

Here are four quick reasons why you should plan out your reading for the year:

  1. You’ll Read More Books

It’s a simple fact. If you plan your reading, you’re pretty much guaranteed to read more than you did last year. Why? Because if you take the time to pick out ten or twelve books you really want to read, it’ll create excitement and anticipation. As a result, you’ll spend more time reading! And it will help you push through the slow parts of a book when you’re pumped about the next book on your list.

   2. You’ll Read Better Books

Sometimes when I’m in-between books, I’ll just look around the house and see what’s available. This isn’t always a bad strategy, but if you’re young like me, you probably don’t have an extensive collection of books. Therefore, your reading options will be severely limited. Don’t let laziness get in the way of a fruitful reading year. Do some research, figure out which books you want to read, and get your hands on them. If you can’t afford to spend the money to buy them, pick them up at your local library or borrow from a friend.

  3. You’ll Be A Better Steward of Your Reading Time

Often when we think about stewardship, we think about money and financial resources. But we forget that time is one of our greatest resources. As I’ve said before, there’s simply not enough time in this life to read all the books in the world. And when you think about the amount of time the average person spends reading, the time is small indeed. Therefore, choose your books wisely. 

 4. You’ll Be A Better Person & Leader For It

Books have the power to change lives. It’s as simple as that. Malcolm X nailed it on this point: “People don’t realize how a man’s whole life can be changed by one book.” Reading great books can make you a better leader (at home, in the workplace, in your church, in life), a better friend, a better spouse, a better neighbor, a better witness for Christ, and a better lover of people.

My Reading Strategy

Are you convinced but not sure where to start? Feeling overwhelmed? Here’s what I would do.

Pick 12 books to read this year.

That’s one per month–a very doable goal.

Mix it up.

As I’ve said before, my reading strategy is to alternate between old books and newer books. I adopted this model after I heard this quote from C.S. Lewis:

“It is a good rule after reading a new book, never to allow yourself another new one till you have read an old one in between.”

Additionally, I try to read a wide range of books: children’s books, classic and contemporary literature, business books, Christian books, historical nonfiction, short stories, and poetry.

Try not to read more than a few books at a time.

I typically try to keep it between two to four books, each in a different category listed above. Why? Some days I find myself in the mood for a good story, other days for a solid nonfiction book. It’s good to have options–just not too many or you’ll never finish any of them.

Book Ideas for 2016

Ok, so now that you’ve got a strategy, it’s time to pick your books.

This is the fun part. Not sure where to start?

Allow me to give you a few ideas:

My Favorite Books of All Time (including fiction, nonfiction, and Christian)

My Top Books of 2015

Fiction

TIME Magazine’s Greatest Novels of All Time

Christian

The Gospel Coalition’s Hubworthy Page (see what books have most influenced Tim Keller, Matt Chandler, Russell Moore, Melissa Kruger, and more)

Nonfiction Business

Michael Hyatt’s list of The 37 Best Business Books He’s Ever Read

Nonfiction Miscellaneous

The New York Times’ List of Best Nonfiction Books of All Time

My (Loose) Reading Plan for the Year

Remember, you don’t have to stick to your plan exactly. It’s not set in stone. Mine certainly isn’t. But I guarantee you’ll be glad you created one.

Here’s my list for the year. It’s probably longer than most, but remember, I’m a book nerd. I probably won’t read them all in 2016, but hey, it doesn’t hurt to dream. 

Fiction – Classic & Contemporary Literature

Fiction – Children’s Books


Nonfiction Books


Nonfiction – Christian Books


 

What are you planning on reading this year? Share your answer in the comments below or via social media.