When there were just a few days left in 2015, I resigned myself disappointedly to the fact that I wasn't going to meet my Reading Challenge. “Reading Challenge” you ask? For the past three years, I’ve made reading a deliberate priority in my life, and just as when on some New Year's Days I set out running a 5K, 10K, and half-marathon as running goals for myself, I’ve been setting myself book reading goals too.
If you find yourself wishing you were reading more, or envious of your friends chatting about the newest bestseller, the new year is the perfect time to start your own reading challenge.
Be realistic. Just as it would be unadvisable to sign up for a marathon if you’ve never run for anything but a bus, don’t plan to read a book a day if you’ve been struggling through Hunger Games since it was originally published. Think about how many books you’ve read in the past year, and then add 10% more to come up with a realistic goal.
I love Goodreads for keeping track of my progress. It’s easy to use, and easy to peruse. By looking at the books I’ve read this year, I can easily see interesting things like the fact that 91% of my reading is of female authors. Huh!?
The best way to keep yourself honest in any goal is to declare your intentions. With a reading goal, it’s also a great way to get new book suggestions and find like-minded reading friends (more on that later).
Another thing I love about Goodreads is that I can share my progress and my reviews via social media. There’s no better way to stay motivated than to get feedback from others. When I was struggling through the first 100 pages of a (very) long book, it was helpful to have a friend comment that the reading got easier eventually.
I’ve made so many friends as a result of my book reading challenges, I’ve been invited to join an amazing book club with some really fascinating women, and I was even offered a gig at one of the greatest places on earth (this amazing site) as a books blogger for Yummy Mummy Club. On top of that, I lived 47 incredible lives with characters I’d never have met, facing experiences I’d never have contemplated, had I not picked up that book.
So, while I’d practically have to lock myself in a room and read 24/7 for the rest of 2015 to meet my original goal of 52 books, I’m proud of the fact that I’ve read 47 so far. To continue the analogy, I may not have run the marathon I’d hoped to run, but I’ve put a lot of training in and I’m in much better shape than I was a year ago…and closer to meeting my goal in 2016.
Goodreads has even provided me with a fun infographic that tells me that I’ve ploughed through over 17,000 pages, shows the cover art and informs me that the book I read and reviewed this year that garnered the highest rating on their site was “A Little Life.”