Should You Do a Reading Challenge?

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Skyler Boudreau
Reviewer/Editorial Contributor

I am a Goodreads fiend. It’s my favorite way of keeping track of how many books I’ve read, and it’s great for making lists of books you might want to read one day. For anyone who doesn’t know, Goodreads is a website that allows readers to connect with authors and other readers. There are book giveaways, discussion boards, author Q & A’s, and a ton of other features. One of this website’s most popular features is the Yearly Reading Challenge.

The Reading Challenge is a personal goal that users can set for themselves. They pledge to read a certain number of books and then use Goodreads to track their progress and tell them if they’re ahead of schedule, on track, or falling behind. It’s a fun way to read more books and motivate yourself to keep reading if you fall into a slump. For my Reading Challenge this year, I pledged to read 50 books. I’m currently 9 books into my challenge and one book ahead of schedule.

At the end of the year, you can review your year in books, and Goodreads will tell you how many pages you read across all of your books read for that year, what your longest and shortest books were, as well as your most and least popular reads, among other statistics. It’s a great way to reflect on your reading experiences for the year!

Sometimes Reading Challenges can be stressful though. Personally, I’m a very competitive person, especially against myself. There have been years in the past when I’ve fallen behind and completely given up. I’ve definitely gotten better with sticking to my pledge in the past year or two. If it’s reaching the end of the year and your goal seems hopelessly faraway, here are a few strategies you can try!

You’ve fallen into a slump. Nothing you pick up seems engaging. Should you even bother continuing with your challenge? I tend to fall into a reading slump half-way through the year. One thing that helps me pull myself out of it is reading shorter books. I tend to read a lot of fantasy, and most fantasy novels are long and brick-like. Reading a few slimmer volumes can help me pick up the pace and reignite my interest in reading.

You realize that the number of books you’ve chosen is either too high or too low. You’ll either blow by the goal without any challenge at all, or you’ve chosen something that you are certain you will never attain. It’s possible to change your Goodreads challenge at any time. You can lower it and raise it as much as you need to. No need to fret! It can take a little while to find the right challenge for you.

And finally: What happens if I fail my Reading Challenge? You can try again next year!

What are some of your Goodreads Reading Challenges?

4 thoughts on “Should You Do a Reading Challenge?

  1. I love the Goodreads challenge. I do tend to shoot a little lower than I think I will actually make because I don’t want it to be stressful toward the end. I also love that notice: “You are 3 books ahead of schedule.”

  2. I think the Goodreads challenge is about the only reading challenge I can do and stick to, since it’s so easy. I love being able to compare how my reading habits have changed in the past and see the differences in numbers each year on my challenge! I do totally have that habit of being so competitive that I want to “win,” so I try to set a lower, more realistic challenge to start with and then a stretch challenge This year, my goal is to read 150 books this year (since I intend to read more mid-grade and graphic novels, which are shorter reads by their nature) with a stretch goal of 200 books, and so far, I’m on track for that stretch goal. Your advice is great! Especially knowing that you can adjust your number at any time, and it’s not like there’s a penalty for it. 😀

  3. Wow, that’s an amazing goal! I agree about the Goodreads challenge being one that is easy to stick to. Many challenges get – um – challenging, with a long list of requirements such as: read a book written by a woman in 1875, read a book with an orange cover and no picture only the title; read a book on a subject you know nothing about, etc. This type of challenge may appeal to some but I’m less likely to stick to it because it might involve books I don’t really want to read – and life is too short for that!

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