Reading Resolutions for the New Year

A few weeks ago my friend Chelse, one of the bloggers at Jellybean Journals, asked if I would contribute a suggestion on best health tips for mamas to be included in her new year post. We were texting, so I could only respond with what would be the written equivalent of uncontrollable laughter. We have horrible eating habits and my exercise routine consists of packing around two 20+ lb toddlers and climbing stairs numerous times a day because I need to use the restroom or forgot something in another room. But once she assured me that brain health is just as important as physical, I had some ideas rolling around in my head.

So here is my contribution to Chelse's Jan. 3, 2017 post:  I Talked to Fierce Women about Health Hacks and it was Awesome!

Share Your Passion & Read with Your Kiddos
Find something you are passionate about and share it with your kids; for me that is reading. My firm belief is a home with books creates a home of readers. The more books and more choices, the more likely you are to raise a reader. Our house is covered in books, stacked in every room, including all our bathrooms, kitchen table, and in toy baskets, backpacks, diaper bags, purses and even in the car. Some we buy, some are borrowed from the library, some are gifts; books to fulfill the growing interests of our kids, books to solve our latest parenting conundrum, some just to escape into. My kids know that books are usually the one thing mom won’t say no to at the store and reading could get them five more minutes awake at night, ease a long car trip, or make us late for school in the morning. Reading doesn’t have to be limited to physical books as it could be blogs, newspapers, magazines, eBooks, listening to an audiobooks, and it can happen anywhere, anytime. I read as much for fun as I have time for to balance the mental load of learning, working, and parenting.

X just happened to be caught reading over winter break.

The Library staff write articles that are published every other week in our community paper. I usually have 2-3 pieces published a year. Today happened to be my day and coincidentally it also focuses on reading.

My article was originally published in the Wed. January 4, 2017 issue of the Casper Journal. I have included it below with extra links to some of my favorite places to find book challenges.

Happy New Year!

Countless people start the year making resolutions for self-improvement in some aspect of their lives. I’ve heard it takes 21 days to make a habit, which could be why so many give up on their resolutions before January is even complete. Not only do folks assume they can make huge changes overnight, but they guilt themselves into feeling like a failure when it doesn’t magically happen.

For the past several years now, rather than load myself down with one more unattainable chore I don’t have time for, I have pushed off the trend of making resolutions to change something and instead have chosen challenges to expand upon something I already enjoy doing and desire to make more time for.

For example, I participate in the Goodreads Reading Challenge and have for many years. It is quite simple. I set my own goal for the number of books I strive to read during the calendar year. I already use Goodreads to keep track of the multitude of books I am currently reading, have previously read, or want to pick up in the future, so the challenge helps me see at a glance where I am at any given moment in time.

In addition, 2017 marks the second year Library staff are participating in a reading challenge devised not only to fulfill our own bookworm desires but to encourage sharing our personal reading tastes with each other and hopefully with our patrons.

So are you ready to take the reading challenge a step further? A quick online search reveals a plethora of reading challenge lists, created by bloggers, libraries, media publications and others who strive to encourage readers and self-proclaimed bookaholics to read more widely or with a bigger purpose. Do you only read a specific genre? Are you looking to expand your literary horizons? Searching for an extreme challenge or simply a little fun? You’re sure to find a challenge to fit your needs. Better yet, create your own!

Try challenging yourself to read, for example, the work of a new author; a favorite author’s debut novel or their entire backlist (if you are feeling ambitious); something published in 2017; an award winner (Newbery, Printz, Pulitzer, National Book Award, etc.); a childhood favorite; a book published the year or decade you were born; a collection of poetry or short stories; something published under a pseudonym; the work of a local author; or listen to an audiobook.

If you need some recommendations, search the “NoveList Plus” database on our website or take a peek at one of the curated reading lists on the Library’s homepage.

Try to make 2017 a year for expanding challenges instead of making new ones. And if reading happens to be a passion of yours, then ask a staff member what they are reading the next time you stop in the Library. Better yet, let us help you find the next book on your personal reading quest. Remember, whatever you’re into, we’re into it too.

Here is our staff challenge from last year as well as a "challenge" I created as a gift for a dear friend.
Some of the challenges I've consulted or tried to complete in the past include:
Bringing Up Burns
Extreme Book Nerd (Idaho Falls Public Library)
Modern Mrs. Darcy
Read Harder from Book Riot

In fairness to myself, I am not going to attempt to any challenges other than Goodreads and our staff challenge, which I didn't finish last year.  After reflecting and trying to find ways to stress less, a friend summed it up best with "we are readers no matter what any lists or challenges say".  I love reading and need to get back to the joy this year.

Happy new reading year to you!


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks. I was hoping you would be ok with being a part of it. ;)

  2. Love this! Every year I try hard to read a few books out of my comfort zone...and it almost always pays off! Sharing your passion with your kids is an amazing way to spend time as a family AND learn about eachother. It's hard for me to sit and play video games with the oldest but, I never regret the time spent with him or the other kiddos cheering me on. Happy New Year Jenn :)

  3. Happy New Year to you Cathy!


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