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?


  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.

  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.

    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. :)

  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.