Goodreads and the Struggle to Set a Reading Goal

Like many book-lovers out there, I use Goodreads to track what I’m currently reading, rate how much I enjoyed what I have already read, and find recommendations for new books.  Unfortunately, there is one time of the year where a website that I typically love fills me with dread, and that time is coming up again.

I am, of course, referring to the Goodreads reading challenge.  For those who don’t use Goodreads, this reading-based social media application has its members set a goal for how many books they intend to read every year.  This seems like a simple task to complete, as all I have to do is pick a number, right?  Regardless, I agonize over this choice every year.

If I set my reading goal high, it seems like I am stretching myself to read more.  Instead, I spend my year in constant worry about whether I will hit my goal, refusing to read anything over a certain page count so I can get more books in.  This often results in a months-long reading slump because I read books I’m not into for no reason other than to finish it and increase my count.  On the other hand, setting my goal low makes me feel like a bad reader because I see so many others around me with much higher numbers.

Over time, however, I’m trying to turn off the part of my brain that worries so much about what others think of my reading.  It can be so easy to look at someone who reads 200 books and feel inadequate, but as long as I’m enjoying everything I pick up, who cares what others are doing?  I need to just focus on reading what I love at a pace that I’m comfortable with, instead of constantly sprinting to the finish.

Part of the process of being my own reading cheerleader is to redefine what the Goodreads challenge means for me.  In past years, I’ve set my goal to be ambitious, but in 2019, I’m trying something different.  I’m going to set my goal to the minimum amount of books I wish to be reading in a year.  On average, I want to be reading at least two books a month, or 24 in a year.  Therefore, that’s my new challenge number.  It’s definitely conservative, and I’ll likely far exceed it by the end of the year, but this amount allows me to comfortably read what I want without constantly panicking about whether I am reading enough.  I will have other personal 2019 reading challenges that will push me harder, which I will discuss more in a future post.

Do you experience fear or dread over the Goodreads reading challenge?  Go ahead and comment down below so we can worry together!


12 thoughts on “Goodreads and the Struggle to Set a Reading Goal

  1. I usually set my goal lower, like a reasonable amount based on what I actually read the previous year. And then if I’m doing good I up the goal later. I like that you can adjust it throughout if you need to. Good luck!

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  2. I definitely feel a certain amount of anxiety about my Goodreads goal each year. In fact, I just spent an hour deliberating on it with my husband last night. I want it to push me a bit, but not so much that it stresses me into a reading slump. I like your idea a lot and I think I’ll be setting mine to my minimum goal too.

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  3. 24 books is a reasonable number. There’s no point in putting pressure on yourself. My goal is going to be 10 books. I will definitely read more than that. My reading goal isn’t based around how many books I think I’m going to read, but based on the 10 books I absolutely want to read this year. If I manage to read those 10 books, I’ll be happy.

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  4. I generally set my goal around 30 books to start and move it up if it looks like I’m going to exceed it. I do, usually, but life can always sneak up on us. I love tracking my reading on Goodreads, but at the end of the day, quality wins over quantity and that’s what I try to focus on every year.

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  5. It is a challenge to set that goal! Especially when you’re either working full-time, a student, or both. Luckily for me this will be my last semester of my Master’s so I’m planning on setting a little higher than I originally did last year 😀 Good luck with your new year’s challenge!

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  6. I completely understand what you mean about feeling the pressure when setting goals for yourself especially when you feel as though you are being scrutinized by someone else. I haven’t set a reading goal this year on Goodreads, but I have many other goals that I am hoping to accomplish. I’m trying to remember that the goals are for me. I hope those who set goals are able to encourage one another. Congratulations to everyone who is willing to put your goals out there even if you don’t accomplish them all. There are many people who don’t even do that and their goals may easily fade away. Good luck with the goals you set for yourself!

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  7. I definitely pushed myself to the point of being stressed about it in 2018. I made my goal 52 (a book per week!) just to see if I could do it. It was a struggle, but I did it. I’m thinking of halving the goal this year to make it more easily achievable and yet still something to work to!

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  8. I completely understand the race to try and complete a Goodreads channel! When I first started doing it I was very discouraged when I didn’t hit my goal, and for a little while after that sometimes I would read just to complete my goal. But I always love setting it still and I’ve found that gradually increasing the number over a few years, or keeping it the same or lower when I don’t hit it is really working for me. I feel like I read a lot more in a year, and I’m less stressed about completing the challenge so I read whatever I’m in the mood for!

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