Why I Do Believe in Reading Targets

Last January, I set my Goodreads goal at 20 books, having achieved 25 the previous year. I began 2020 reading various course materials and was therefore making good progress with my challenge. After March’s lockdown hit, I found myself with more time to read and began consuming books at a faster rate, eventually upping my initial goal to inspire me to continue developing my passion for reading.

There seems to be quite a debate among reading communities about reading goals and whether you should or shouldn’t follow them, in addition to whether they are mostly motivating or disheartening. I for one love them. Despite generally being a motivated reader, without any pressure requiring me to read a certain amount of books, I can go days, weeks or even months without picking up a book. Therefore, the pressure of a numerical target is a great motivator, and faced with the possibility of otherwise failing, I am encouraged even more to reach my goal.

One great thing about reading goals for me personally is the sense of achievement at the end of the year. It gives me the chance to look back and see what I have done and, often, that creates a positive feeling. This is especially important in an age where we often feel like failures and, in years like 2020, the pride of achieving my goal was the exact boost I needed.

Additionally, my Goodreads reading goal offers me a visual indicator of how my progress is going throughout the year. Opening the app to see I am ‘x books ahead of schedule’ always fills me with pride. I rarely feel pressured from this and instead can merely use my progress as a motivator to surpass my goal.

During the chaos of 2020, I decided to limit my reading to books that I actively wanted to read, ridding of the classics that have sat on my shelf for years because I felt I should read them. Consequently, the books I own are ones I have accumulated over the years and am excited to, at some point, read. My books span a variety of centuries, genres, authors and topics, giving me a wide range of reading material to choose from; there is something for every mood. The anticipation of reading these new titles acts as a further motivating factor for my reading as I am constantly preparing my next read.

Setting a reading goal is a personal choice and I therefore have complete control over my yearly goal, which books I read, and how harsh I am on myself to reach that goal. I’ve always been competitive, and a reading goal allows me to have healthy competition with myself.

Maybe goals and the stresses which come with it aren’t for everyone, but it works for me and while the overall result is positive, I’ll continue to do it.

Now, time to read.

Image courtesy of Siora Photography.

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