As the year grows quickly to a close, a lot of folks are beginning to think about their resolutions and goals for the new year. There has been a lot of discussions going on in groups that I am a part of about yearly reading targets and what everyone is setting as their target for 2019 and honestly its kind of bothering me.
Now I know people are entitled to their resolutions and I’m not coming to rain in on anyone’s parade. I’ve seen a lot of people smashing their reading goal for 2018 and that’s great, but in the same breath, I’ve seen a lot of the opposite. People have set goals and haven’t managed to reach them for whatever reason. Some people have the time and security in life to read 150 novels and some don’t.
For some people, reading goals are great. They can be huge motivators to push us to read more throughout the year, to take more time to ourselves to escape into our own little world where nothing exists except and the words on the page. Some people like to make it into a competition for themselves to push themselves to read more and that might be part of their resolution for the coming new year. Encouraging yourself to read more is great, I am not disputing that at all. People should take more time for books. I know people who haven’t read a single book this year and I know so many more who haven’t read a book since they left school. That makes me sad (and despair a little for our generation).
But for others, and I include myself in this statement, reading goals don’t work. Reading goals stress me out a lot and I know they do for others too. My life isn’t stable enough to know whether or not I would have the time to read ‘X’ many books in the next year. I know the idea of the goal is to make the time for it or to push yourself towards that goal but I’m a slow reader and it is immensely time-consuming to read 50 novels. These types of goals become constant stress, especially when you get to August and realise that you aren’t even halfway. I feel like resolutions or yearly goals should be about you and perhaps bettering yourself but reading goals always feel like its a competition.
Keep a record of what you read, be that by using a diary or an app, because it is always nice to see where you’ve been, what you’ve enjoyed and what you haven’t. And sure, if you manage to read more than you did in the previous year then that is brilliant. A lot of folks use Goodreads to record this, some use diaries and planners and notebooks. I personally don’t like Goodreads because it feels messy and unorganised to me. However, this could be because my Goodreads account is about 8 years old and I didn’t understand how to use it at the time. But really it’s about finding what works for you.
What I’m trying to say is that it doesn’t matter if you read 10 books in 2019 or 100. Stop giving a damn about not meeting the same goals that others manage to meet. If you are going to set a reading goal for 2019 then make it something manageable for you. If you read 50 books in 2018, it is rather unreasonable to push for a reading goal of 150 books so do what works for you. Take pride in what you achieve but don’t beat yourself up if you aren’t matching goals of your friends (online or otherwise). Reading is for you, it is for your enjoyment. You don’t have to prove anything by smashing a goal out of the ballpark or stressing yourself about not meeting your goal.
Best wishes for the New Year to you all. I hope it’s going to be a better year for everyone. Enjoy what the year has in store for us, what new books and authors it will bring.