I’m Ending My Reading Challenge Early

There’s a huge truth I need to get off my chest: I’m resenting reading. It’s the mid-year mark (well, a month late) and I’m starting to not read books. I can tell because I would rather spend my days with the TV on and laid out on the couch. Whenever I feel like I resent reading, I take a look at my goals either for the year or the month and find the culprit to my despair. What is going on that’s making me unhappy to read?

I think I’ve narrowed it down to one big thing: my reading challenge.

So I was excited because this year I was pushing myself to read 100 books. At the beginning of the year, it made a lot of sense. 100 books means about 10 books a month. Since I was already averaging 8 books a month, I figured I could probably just tack on an extra book or two to hit 100 before the end of the year. No problem!

What I didn’t realize is that reading this month is actually burning me out. With little time to think about what I just read, I would pick up another book and then tell myself I’ll catch up on my thoughts later. The process has made me delay reviews and sometimes not even review them.

Secondly, I’ve just picked up a job as a book reviewer so that adds a few more books to my monthly reading list and I feel like I’m inundating myself with way too much reading. I know, how can someone who loves to read think they’re reading too much? I don’t know.

So I decided I’m done trying to read 100 books a year. The reason isn’t because I can’t do it. I think it’s very possible for me to do it, but I think that for my own reading enjoyment having really aggressive goals like this takes away the fun of reading and points the focus on completing the challenge. I would much rather read 10 amazing books in a year than read 100 books I squeezed in between all the other activities I love.

Granted, anyone who can comfortably read 100 books or more a year should most definitely do it. I don’t want to deter anyone from their own goals, but I think the bigger learn I’ve gotten from this is that reading is a personal experience. I know I could read 100 books if I really pushed myself, but I’m not in the business of doing that anymore (or creating any monthly TBRs. Sheesh.)

What’s your reading challenge this year? Do you plan on breaking your own goals or just reading and seeing  your outcome?

 

12 thoughts on “I’m Ending My Reading Challenge Early

  1. Part of life is reassessing our goals and making healthy changes. You did the right thing. Good for you! No reading goals for moi. I just read and read until I feel like binging on tv shows.

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  2. I love that you’ve adjusted your goal! Sometimes you have to give yourself a break and ease the pressure off to make sure you’re still enjoying life.
    Since one of my jobs requires me to read a lot, I try to make sure when I’m reading in my free-time it’s stuff I want to read. I’m learning to DNF books more but it’s still tough for me sometimes.

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  3. I set my reading challenge this year at 10 books. I know that isn’t a lot but I had been on a reading drought for some time and I wanted an achievable goal that would help me fall back in love with books and the joys of reading.
    Spoiler: I completed my challenge in the first half of this year and reached my goal – reading and I are pals again!
    In 2020 I am not going to set a hard and fast number but operate on the vague notion of reading a book a month and see where that gets me.
    I don’t want reading to be a chore but a pleasure – something that is calming and peaceful.
    I hope you are able to reconnect with literature and keep your passion for the written word!

    PS. I also have accepted the inevitable DNF books. Read what makes you happy!

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  4. OMG – 100 books in a year – my goal is 50! But I totally understand what you’re saying, even at the 50/year level. If all we’re doing is reading without enjoying the books and working to get through them just to tally up another, then what’s the point? Right now I’m reading Vanity Fair and it’s over 800 pages. It’s very enjoyable and the type of book I can’t rush through, but it will slow me down on books read. I bet if you take a break, you’ll enjoy the next book you read much more. This is a great post and talks about something most readers won’t admit to.

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  5. Love this post! I struggle with reading for enjoyment versus reading to reach a goal. I think goals are awesome, but if they’re sucking all the joy from reading, what’s the point? Thank you for being so open and honest about your experiences!

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  6. Every year I set my goal at 50, I know I will go over this, but I never want to make reading a chore because it takes out all of the fun. My reading goals make me go outside of my comfort zone, but I never finish books or goals if they are not working for me. This year I gave myself a goal of reading a book from each continent and I am loving it so much more than previous attempts. Normally reading around the world challenges have so many books on those lists I ended up being overwhelmed. If you are not enjoying reading with that goal, don’t force it. Reading is meant to be fun.

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  7. Oh, I’ve been there. I tried setting myself a challenge and reading “only one or two more books a month, it’s doable” and not only was I not enjoying my time reading, I felt kinda pressured to make it happen, reading books without really getting into them or giving them much of an afterthought. That’s why this year I set my goal really low and kinda forgot about it. I’ve been on a reading slump for a long time, but I’m now tackling one book at a time and making notes, getting into the story and enjoying it way more. I’m sure I’ll pick up the pace again soon enough, but for now less is more for me.

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  8. I really felt this! I gave myself a challenge of 100 this year as well, and it’s just not gonna happen, no way near. And I’m just making myself feel bad for it. I’ve only started blogging and writing book reviews this year, so the addition of this activity really takes some time out of reading. But then I feel like as I write the reviews, I actually consider the book more and remember more plot/themes/characters from it, and it stays with me for longer. So I came to realise that there’s no need to push myself to read a certain amount per year. I’m just trying to be more conscious of what I’m reading and enjoy it!

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  9. Well, I used to be the same, with difficult kind of goals, and so for two years I couldn’t reach my mark. Then I chose an easier challenge, for 50 books, and I hit 75 in six months. The problem is that july and August were weird reading months… I went completelly off my reading list and read way less, and now I know it’s going to be hard to finish my list… This is also, the first year that I stopped reading books that I didn’t enjoy. It was really hard for me to DNF a book, but I did 3-4 times this year and I feel less guilty… I mean, I do try to hit 30-50 % , but If I don’t enjoy a least one aspect of the book, I’m done… The thing I’m more sorry about is that I read too many average books and less than 10 really good…

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  10. I get a lot in but that’s due to a very long (75 minutes at least each) commute, five days per week and often as much doing errands on Saturday. I listen to audiobooks the whole time. But some times I just listen to ….silence. It rejuvenates me. That said, I find I read almost nothing in print now for the very reason you are discussing: Too Much of a Good Thing. I gave up challenges because it became “competitive reading”–just reading to tick a box. Like school homework. Now I “do” challenges by looking at them a few times a year, filling out the form with what I’ve already read. Occasionally I look at categories (i.e. read a novel from a different country you’ve not read before) and use that to find a new, interesting book. Before the internet and the over-the-top bookclubs, we didn’t worry about all this! lol Just relax, breathe, watch t.v., do other stuff. The love of reading will be reborn.

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  11. Honestly? I don’t believe in reading challenges and this is the main reason why I deleted my Goodreads account a few years ago. Reading should be a fun and relaxing hobby, not something that’s always measured in terms of success (or failure). People should read however many books they want throughout the year – if that’s 5 books, then it’s 5 books. If it’s 150, then it’s 150. Who cares? Read as much (or as little) as you want. As long as you’re happy and enjoying the act of reading, then nothing else really matters.

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