For many of us, 2016 was a doozy, but we here at Brit + Co are ready to hit refresh in 2017! Follow our Hit Refresh series through January for new ideas, hacks and skills that will help you achieve (and maintain!) those New Year’s resolutions.

For our New Year’s resolutions this year, we decided to get literary and try to read more in 2017. Although we’ve started getting ready for our new challenge by adding a ton of new adult and young adult reads to our Goodreads account, finding the time to actually squeeze in leisurely reading is proving mega-difficult for us busy gals. That’s why we went straight to the experts for a few tips on how to fit in all those best books of the year in 2017.

Reading a book

1. Choose a specific time to read and honor that time. “I read submissions much of the day for Ashland Creek Press and so I always devote at least an hour each evening to reading for pleasure,” notes small press publisher for Ashland Creek Press and author of My Last Continent, Midge Raymond. Try to stick to one time of day and keep yourself accountable — whether it’s an alarm on your iPhone or a sticky note on your mirror.

2. Don’t feel like you need to sign up for a 52-book challenge. “We often focus on the mega-milestone versus the rituals,” says cofounder and co-CEO of goals app Shine, Naomi Hirabayashi. Instead of making a yearly reading quota, she advises to set smaller goals that you can actually accomplish. “Research shows that reading just six minutes can be enough to reduce your stress levels more than two-thirds,” she notes. Plus, once you get over the initial hurdle, you’re waaay more likely to finish a chapter or two.

black woman headphones commute

3. Don’t be afraid to try audiobooks. Just because you don’t have a physical book in front of you doesn’t mean you aren’t contributing to your daily reading. “Get an Audible subscription,” suggests senior literary agent at P.S. Literary Agency Carly Watters, “and take advantage of your local library’s media section.” You’ll be surprised how fast you can finish a book when you start listening to audiobooks during your lengthy commute and daily workout.

4. Find reading material you genuinely enjoy. Whether you enjoy diving into a classic Hemingway or a more modern Veronica Roth, try to find authors and genres you know you’re going to want to binge read. “If you can zero-in on why it is you want to read more, the chances that you’ll find reading material you’ll actually enjoy increase tenfold,” suggests Ariel Banayan from Habit Nest. “All it takes is one book that sparks interest in you to make you a reading addict.”

5. Try reading a great novella or search for flash fiction online. While reading the entirety of Moby Dick might seem like an impressive challenge for the new year, you may want to try starting off your literary year with some shorter works. “At anywhere from half to one-fifth the length of a standard novel, micro-reads are the perfect solution for busy book lovers who don’t want to sacrifice quality for quantity when it comes to discovering new material,” notes author of Beyond Good Manners Tara Woods Turner.

Couple reading book and newspaper in bed

6. Make reading a social activity. Sure, the most obvious example of this is to join a book club (IRL or online), but there are many other ways to make reading social. “Whether you’re reading in the car or actively reading aloud with your significant other, turning reading from a solo activity into a social one will make you more inclined not to skip it,” notes Alaina Leary from Charlesbridge Publishing.

7. Always keep a book on you. While this tip may seem obvious, it’s definitely a must. Keeping a book on hand, “Gives you an excuse to read instead of looking at your phone when you’re stuck on the train, waiting for your doctor’s appointment or meeting a friend downtown,” says Leary. Although we still love reading paperbacks, those digital tablets are sure convenient to throw into almost any purse.

8. Become a book reviewer. Committing to reading a ton in 2017 is bound to get expensive, with most new books pushing the $20 mark. To offset some of the cost, Woods Turner suggests becoming a book reviewer. “Book reviews are the coin of the realm for authors, especially independent authors who don’t always have the marketing muscle of traditional publishers behind them when it comes to getting reviews,” she says. “Goodreads and book blogs are excellent places to reach out to authors who will provide you with a free copy of their titles in exchange for your honest review consideration.” Free books? Sign us up!

Have you made a New Year’s resolution to read more in 2017? Tweet us your tips by mentioning @BritandCo!

(Photos via Getty)