Flip side of a reading challenge

At first it was fun.

Last updated on 15 February 2024. Created on 18 January 2022.

Many years ago, I started using this feature from Goodreads called "Reading Challenge".

For those of you who don't know it, you can set a number that represents the number of books you intend to read in a year. So year after year, each January I would set that target.

Since the beginning I had a rule: The target for the current year should be the target from the previous year + 1.

The system worked. It helped me stay on track and sometimes push me a little when I needed it.

Now, I'm starting to feel too much pressure. There's one side of me that wants to read (for pleasure, for work, for improvement, for education). And there's another part of me that wants to achieve every goal and objective.

Last week I finished a book, added it and marked it as read and then quickly checked to see where I was at in the Challenge. The app will even let you know at any point in time how many books you need to read in order to reach your goal by the end of the year.

This morning was a bit rough. I wasn't really in a mood to read something heavy. Plus, there was this nagging voice reminding me of the challenge. It also said it was best to finish what I'm currently reading so that I can move on to the next. And that's when it hit me.

The moment when reading a book starts to become another item on your to-do list is a warning sign

This was the moment I had to change something. The moment when reading a book starts to become another item on your to-do list is a warning sign.

The sign simply says that my current path will not lead me anywhere good. So I've made two small decisions:

One, is to change the rule of my system. This means I will not be changing the yearly target anymore. It will be capped at the current number. Second, I will allow myself the possibility of not achieving my target this year.

That's it. Why was this an easy decision to make?

Because, by now the system has worked it magic and helped me change some of my habits. The changes run deep. And by still keeping track of things, I will be able to determine if I ever go of the rails and do something about it before it's too late.

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