A new year i upon us, with a ton of new reading goals. I, too, have a bunch of new goals for this new year, but before I share them with you I want to talk about setting a reading challenge.When setting goals for the new year it is often very focused on the amount of books we want to read next year. Almost everyone part of the online book community set a reading challenge on Goodreads. Even though the majority of readers hate math, we have a tendency to count everything we read. At the end of every month and on Goodreads for our challenge. I see both downsides and upsides about this, and today I want to talk about that.
Amount more than content
I almost never see a wrap up without people saying something like, “I read x amount of books this month, I wish I had read more/I am very impressed with myself for that number.” It feels so stupid. Why is the number the most important thing to talk about? Surely we talk about the individual books we read as well, but most of the time a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ reading month is defined by how much we read rather than the quality of the actual books. I think that is a shame, and we need to do something about that approach to our reading.
A lot of the time long books are left unread, due to the fact that they take longer to read and makes people fall behind on their challenge. Again, think about the content rather than the number!
Reading is a relaxing activity, which we do because we enjoy it. Nonetheless there is a lot of stressing out around reaching your reading challenge, and sometimes competition between us on who has read the most. We talk about how the new generation constantly is in the spotlight and needs to perform fully at all times. How ironic is it then, that we make our relaxing hobby competitive and stressful? It is absolutely ridiculous.
It is motivating to go on Goodreads and marked a book as finished and see the number go up. It makes your want to read more, which is always a great feeling.
We like to be acknowledged and receive praise. It is part of our human nature. So when we put so much time into reading, and it genuinely just is for our own pleasure, I guess, we like the idea of setting a goal, so when we reach it we can feel good about it, and, yeah, praise ourselves.
This hasn’t much to do with the actual number, but just that I love to have that full overview of my reading year. I use it all the time for blog posts, and it’s just very nice to look at.
I think it is important to say that I do have reading challenges, and all the things I wrote here isn’t just to blame all of you but all something I’ve done/felt. I am a very competitive person, and a reading challenge both motivates me and stresses me out. In 2016 I set my reading challenge to 52, but ended up reading 75. This year I have decided to put my reading challenge on 52 again. I am aware of making it so low that I don’t have to think or worry about it. I want 2017 to be a relaxed year for me. At least relaxed in terms of reading.
I would love to know your thoughts on this. Do you agree with the things I wrote, and do you have other reasons you either do or don’t have a reading challenge?