In the book blogger world, Goodreads Reading Challenge goals are big. Really big. Some of the book bloggers I follow read upwards of 150 or 200 books in a year. That’s A LOT of books.
And it stresses me out.
In 2018, I set my Goodreads Goal to 100 books.
That was huge for me. Since I started tracking my reading a few years ago, the most books I’d read was 88 books in a year. So, I aimed high in 2019. And I made it! I read 100 books in 12 months. Which was super exciting. But also, super stressful.
The thing with numbered reading goals is they are dual-sided.
- They encourage you to read more.
- They make you feel like you have to read more.
Numbered reading goals are both positive and negative.
I love reading more books, discovering new authors, trying out new genres and styles. I like seeing the number and saying to myself, “Wow, I’ve read a lot of books this year. That’s cool!”.
But, I also dislike seeing the “You’re 8 books behind schedule” note and feeling like I need to find some short books to quickly read so I can catch up. I dislike feeling like I have to force myself to read just a little bit more of a book I’m not enjoying to see if it will get better so I can finish it and count it on my list as “read”. I don’t want to force myself to finish a book before going to bed, when what I actually want to do is veg on the couch and watch a movie that night.
Last year my life went a little off the rails. I barely read anything during the first trimester of my pregnancy. I was too tired, too nauseated. And then, when my son was stillborn, my reading went up and down like crazy. Some days reading was an escape. Other days, it was a chore. And I was constantly looking at my goal and getting stressed that I was behind or stressed about whether I would make it.
And that manufactured, self-imposed stress is not what I need. It’s not healthy for me.
So in 2019, I’ve set my Goodreads Reading Challenge to one book.
Yup. Just one. And that way, throughout the year when I inevitably read a lot more than that, I’ll feel accomplishment and not stress.
Reading should be fun. And I want to read whatever I feel like reading, regardless of how long or how short the book is.
So this year, I’ll probably read a lot of books. That’s part of who I am. But, I’m not aiming for a specific number. I’ll read what I want, when I want. And, if that number is a high number at the end of December, cool. If it’s not as high as this year, no worries.
I haven’t quite decided on my other reading goals for the year. Come back next Friday, for a post exploring different kinds of reading goals readers around the world are aiming for.