Every year on January 1st one of the first things Goodreads members do is set their reading challenge. The amount you want to read that year. My whole feed is full of these kinds of update on that day. And honestly, I am right there with them. There is just something so great about setting that number and starting right away with your first book of the year.
There has been a lot of comments in recent years against the goodreads reading challenge however. How it sparks a certain competitiveness amongst bloggers and readers about wanting to read more than others or how it puts a lot of pressure on you. I can’t deny that those things do play a part with a lot of people. There is always going to be envy among groups of people and some will always set too high goals.
But is that really the fault of the Goodreads reading challenge? I think not.
Lowering My Goal
Last year I choose to create a lower Goodreads reading challenge than I usually would have done. I like to try and go for at least a 100 each year but I decided to go for 60. I just didn’t know how things would be with Merijn and I didn’t want to add extra pressure on myself. I made the choice to create less expectations. Because 60 books a year is a great number too.
As you might have seen, I easily doubled the amount last year. But why was that?
I think the biggest reason for this was that I went easy on myself. And I don’t mean just creating a lower number.
Creating My Own Rules
Normally I would only count full books. I would not count short stories under 80 pages or count any comics. It is almost an unspoken rule amongst a lot of goodreads reading challengers to do this I feel. It isn’t said but it is often insinuated. As if when you do add comics or shorter stories to your challenge it means your number means less.
As the year went on though, I slowly let these things go. I counted short stories under 80 pages and slowly started counting comics. Because why not? Why should I go by other people’s rules? This is a challenge for ME. Comics, short stories, children’s books all are books and stories you read and therefor count. I haven’t seen anything you could not count towards your reading challenge that is on Goodreads. As long as you add in the ending date, it will be counted. So it counts.
Do you read a lot of picture books for your kids? They count. Do you cook a lot and use cooking books? They count.
These things made the presure to complete my reading challenge lower and there was no last minute scramble to complete my challenge or to get to a certain number. There was so much more ease in my year. Most of the time I didn’t even know what my number was and only checked for my monthly wrap up.
What I am trying to say is that we make our own rules. Just because the Goodreads Reading Challenge is a widely known and used way to set a yearly reading goal doesn’t mean you have to do it the way others do or that you should feel pressured into only adding certain things.
In the end we make these goals for ourselves. What works for me doesn’t have to work for you. Play by your own rules.