Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Goodreads Challenge 2014 or The Anal Analysis of How I Set My Reading Goals For the Year

For the past three years I've signed up for the Goodreads Challenge. If you haven't used it before, it's basically a way to challenge yourself to read a certain amount of books and keep track of your progress. I like it a lot but end up feeling like if I don't complete it I'm a loser, which is total hogwash, but who can understand one's own psyche? Mine loves to drive me up a tree and convince me that I failed even though I totally read over 20 books! How can that be a fail? Conclusion: It can't.

Here's a look at my past three Challenges if your interested. The first year I signed up I set my goal way too high.

2011  Goal = 60 books (What was I thinking? Seriously, when did I think I'd have time to read 1 book a week, plus? *Shakes head in disbelief*)
           Books Read = 26 (Wake up to reality, hun)

I ended up feeling like I was behind all year and could never catch up to a goal that was completely out of reach by the fall. Didn't feel too good about my goal setting abilities that year and lost sight that I had accomplished reading 26 books. After all, reading is supposed to be relaxing, right?

2012  Goal = 40 books (Much more manageable of a goal until the Whirlwind Spring of '12 hit my life)
           Books Read = 27 (Not bad)

This time I figured, okay, 3 books a month =36, plus throw in a few extras during the summer = 40. What I didn't factor in were the multiple, time-consuming family events and many exhausting days/nights that year.


At the beginning of 2013, I re-evaluated my purpose in completing the Goodreads Challenge. Did I want to set an unrealistic, challenging goal and feel that pressure again? No. I wanted to feel good about continuing to read for pleasure in the category I write: Young Adult, with a focus on the genre I prefer, contemporary. AND I wanted to use my free time focused more on my writing. For 2013, I realized that my writing had to be my first priority for free time use, so I set my goal the lowest it had been in the past three years. Guess what happened? I ended up reading MORE!

2013  Goal = 32 books (This time I purposely set my goal lower to relieve the self-induced, bordering on neurotic pressure I put on myself to complete this Challenge)
           Books Read = 39 (Yeah, baby!) one was a reread that didn't get added to the GR total)

So this year, I've decided to up my goal a tiny bit higher. My first priority again, is to write during my spare time. This goal ensures that I can continue to read for pleasure during the slower times of the year (like now) and lighten up during the busy months while still reaching a comfortable goal.

2014 Goal = 35 books

Do you set a reading goal for yourself each year? How many books do you hope to read in 2014?


4 comments:

  1. I've lowered my book goal every year, but that's down to George Martin becoming my new obsession. It takes a month to read one of his books.

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  2. I thought about signing up for that too, but I'd rather set a goal for pages read than books - I wouldn't want an artificial goal like this to influence the books I choose. I read lots of 1000-page historical novels, but obviously they take a different amount of time than a 300-page YA. So I'm happy just looking back at the end of the year to see how many I ended up reading. The other thing is that Goodreads doesn't capture all my reading - a lot of Finnish books aren't listed there, re-reads are hard to keep track of, and on the other hand, some of the "books" I read were really only novellas or even short stories.

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    1. Now I got curious, so I went and looked at my stats. According to Goodreads, I read 14 more books in 2013 than I did in 2012. That's a big difference, right? But looking at page counts, I actually read 1,500 more pages in 2012 than in 2013. Shows why counting books doesn't work for me personally. :)

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  3. Good luck! I did that last year and beat it, but it was audiobooks that saved my bacon. I hope I do as well this year.

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