Is There A Purpose To Your Reading?

When I was in first grade, cliques were a big deal.  It mattered what group you belonged to, and once you were in a group you really couldn’t associate with other groups without risking being banned from your own group (I know because I was banned from my group by associating with someone who didn’t fit in).  The level of peer pressure that was placed on my little seven-year-old self by other seven-year-olds is actually a little disturbing when I think about it.

Anyway, we called these cliques “teams”.  And I still remember in first grade, forming my very first “team” with another girl based on the fact that we both read the Saddle Club books.  Books have been a big part of my life for a very long time.  

It was cool to be a part of our book-based group in first grade.  I’m not sure the book group would have been the cool group had our Saddle Club “team” survived until high school, but thankfully I was being homeschooled by then anyway, and me and my bookish friends all continued to read together.  We even wrote our own stories and read them aloud to each other - a writing club of sorts, and it was all so much fun.

I’ve carried my love of reading into adulthood, but I have to admit, it’s harder to stay motivated these days.  When four little kids are calling for your attention all day long, it is terribly tempting to use your moments of down-time to just veg and watch TV.  But it’s important to me to keep reading, to keep learning new things, even though I don’t have to anymore.

I love how Whitney has specific goals for her reading.  Instead of just setting a number of books as a goal or 2016, I have taken a cue from her and decided to be a little more intentional about my reading as well.

My goal for 2016 is to read one book for each of the following categories each month:

One Book To Strengthen My Relationships.

This could be a marriage or parenting book, a book about friendships, or a book to help me know myself better in an effort to improve my relationships.

One Book To Improve My Spiritual Health.

This could be a book that will instruct me biblically, a book on theology, a bible study, etc.  (One book I hope to read for this category is “Your God Is Too Small” - my pastor mentioned it a few years ago, and I have been wanting to read it ever since!)

One Book To Grow Intellectually.

I’d love to include a few more academic books on my to-read list.  This could include books about science, history, politics, or culture, or classic fiction.

One Book To Entertain.

I still have to fit some fun fiction in.  That’s where my love of books all started, after all.

The point of setting category goals like this is to hopefully stretch myself to read books that I am not always naturally drawn to, and to read books that will help me draw closer to Jesus and the people in my life.  I think it is perfectly acceptable to pick up a book that is easy to read, but I don't want to only pick up easy-reads.  The more you read, and the more difficult material you read, the easier it is to tackle those "hard" books that make you grow as a person.  I want to get to the end of this year being more capable of getting through a difficult book.  When you are working out physically and you want to see improvement, you have to push yourself to do something a littler harder each time.  It works the same way with reading.

If I stick with my goal, this should mean that I will read 48 books in 2016 (at least), and hopefully make it through some of my ever-growing to-read list! I am going to try to write a post each quarter to update you on my progress.  I am not worried about hitting the 48 book goal, because that is less than I read in 2015, but I do think it will be a challenge to stick with my categories.  It's a worthy challenge though.  Hopefully I’ll have some good, strong books to recommend to you throughout the year.

To see a few of the books that I hope to read this year, check out my shelf on Goodreads.  I'd also love to hear your recommendations for me!

Do you have any specific goals for your reading?  What was your first favorite book?


Also, A New Linkup!

I also have something fun to share with all of you - I am going to be a co-host for a brand-new linkup this year!  With Grit & Grace will be a monthly linkup to share goals and accomplishments with each other.  

There is something about writing out goals that helps me be more tenacious in actually accomplishing them.  At the same time, if some goals don't get accomplished because more important things - like family - take precedence, that is okay and even healthy.  We want With Grit & Grace to be a goals community that encourages each other to work toward our goals but also give ourselves a break when life happens.  

I am looking forward to sharing my main goal for February along for the first linkup this Wednesday, the 3rd!  If you are a fellow blogger, share your goals on your blog and then head back here to linkup with us!

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Bekah said...

When I started 1st grade, I tested at a 6th grade reading level, so the 4 of us that tested that high were put in a reading group that started off with chapter books. My fave? The Boxcar Children! I am now 6 months into being a stay-at-home wife and writer after working 4 years in radio. I had NO time to read while working, but now I'm enjoying the chance to read a book per week. I try to mix up my genres and challenge myself occasionally to read things that might be out of my comfort zone. My goal is to find books I can recommend to others on my blog!

Letter Me Loved said...

Wow, I love this goal to be intentional about your reading. I'm taking baby steps - one fiction + one non-fiction book per month. Because I'm pretty horrible about making it through half of one of those "spiritual growth" books before forgetting about it and starting another one. However, I can finish a fiction read in a couple of days. Maybe next year I'll categorize even more!

Heather Pedersen said...

I tend to set a number amount for goals, and then focus on books that partain to my life at the moment. I branched out more last year...I read quite a bit more "non fiction" than usual. I like your idea of having certain topics that you want to tackle each month.

Amanda @ Anchored to Sunshine said...

I loved Encyclopedia Brown! Major flash back to my childhood just now :)

Callie Nicole said...

It's definitely something new I am trying, so we will see how it goes! I didn't finish my "intellectual" book for January, but I'm only reporting quarterly so I have time to catch up. ;)

Callie Nicole said...

I am the same way, I start a million books and then it takes me forever to finish them! I'm trying to get better at that.

Callie Nicole said...

I can imagine it would be really hard to find time to read while holding down a full-time job! It's a blessing to be able to stay home with our kiddos and squeeze a few books in once in a while. ;-)

Callie Nicole said...

Me too! I was always so proud of myself when I figured it out before checking the back of the book, haha!

Mary Hill said...

Hi, I am following you from the new monthly goals linkup. I am glad I discovered your site. I hope you will link up with my readers at Literacy Musing Mondays. :) This discussion is perfect for our linkup, plus you can introduce my readers to your new linkup in which I know some of them will want to participate.

Whitney @ Journey Mercies said...

Such a great post on goals for reading. They remind me I need to revisit mine! Thanks for sharing AND inspiring me :)

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