gr-chall

Raise your hand if you are on Goodreads. Yeah, pretty sure you are. Raise your hand if you participate in the Goodreads Reading Challenges. I’m assuming that most of our hands are still raised, yes?

Okay, fabulous. There are a lot of reading challenges out there, but Goodreads is probably one of the few (and certainly the most notorious) to be based on sheer number of books read. There are other awesome challenges out there that get us to read outside our comfort zone, explore new authors, new genres, diverse books/authors,  finish series… all kinds of good stuff! In fact, here are a few that I either participate in, or want to participate in but never seem to follow through on. But will someday, promise. (These link to their respective sign up pages- it’s never too late, y’all!)

seriesmonthfairytaleretellingdiverse-challenge1unique-format-challengedac2016s_zpsoz3xwyvubookish-bingo-1024x379lgbt-books-challenge

And if you are looking for a list of like, every challenge in the history of bookish challenges, Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction has you covered! 

But that isn’t what this post is about. No, those are awesome challenges, and I wanted to share some positive vibes before I get to the question at hand:

Why do we feel the need to challenge ourselves to read all the books?

Here’s a little history of my Goodreads Challenges:

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Notice a trend? Yeah, that is me making myself read more and more books every year, even though I have no more time than I did the year before. In fact, in 2012, I only had one spawn, but by the end of 2013, I had somehow doubled my spawn volume. So in 2014 when I tried to be a rational human being and lowered my goal… I still insisted on reading more than before.

And now, even at 12 books ahead, I feel like I need to be more than 12 books ahead. For REASONS. And I don’t think I am alone. I know that my friends are all actively trying to beat their goals. Though, I do imagine that they may not be as broken up about it as I would be if I didn’t make it.

Really, I feel like I am more concerned sometimes with the amount of reading I do rather than the quality of reading I do. Let’s take a gander at why, shall we?

  • I do not DNF because I can’t not finish a book. And while part of that we’ve discussed before is that I am not great at trusting myself, I will also say that part of it is because I am worried I will be wasting precious goal time.
  • I stay up wayyyy too late reading. Sometimes it is because the book is awesome, of course, and that is acceptable as a bookperson, yes? But sometimes it’s more like “Welp, let’s finish this 2-star book so I can check it off and move along”.  And that is never a good reason to miss precious sleep!
  • I get legitimately stressed if I fall behind in my goal. I need a buffer. And then my buffer needs a buffer. It gets out of hand very quickly.
  • I also can be a little too competitive with my friends. It isn’t a great personality trait, tbh.

This isn’t to say that it is bad to challenge ourselves to read more! At its core, the Goodreads Challenge is kind of awesome. But for those of us who spend a lot of time not only reading, but then writing about books, talking about books, sharing them on social media… maybe we aren’t really who the challenge benefits? Challenge or no challenge, I am going to be reading a lot, let’s be real.

I don’t think it is all negative either though! (Otherwise, why would I do it, right?) There are some really great things about it too! Like…

  • Reading more! That has to be a good thing, regardless, right?
  • Getting to be social, cheering your friends on. This is so fun. Even in my competitiveness, I get giddy excited for someone who reaches their goal on my feed! I love to see that, and to congratulate them and all that warm fuzzy stuff!
  • It totally can encourage people who might want to read more, but may need a bit of motivation. And then, isn’t it all worth it really?
  • It’s really freaking fun to do. I can’t imagine ever not doing it, just because it is fun to see how much I read!
  • There are statistics and I like to look at them. Goodreads sorts them for me. Goodreads enables my laziness. Thank you, Goodreads!

So I wrote this because I quite literally need to know WHY? Why do we do the challenge? Why do you do it? Do you think it’s a good way to read more, just a source of stress, or both? 

Posted September 16, 2016 by Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight in Discussion, Discussion Challenge / 105 Comments


105 responses to “Goodreads Challenges: What’s the Rush?

  1. Tesni

    I used do the reading challenge. I used it as a way to get back into reading when I fell out of the habit at university. Now I’m back in the swing of it I haven’t participated in the last 2 years but still reading around 50-70 books a year which is all I realistically have time for without ignoring the world. I gave up on the challenge as I wanted to reread books but you can’t count those (as far as I could work out) on good reads and I didn’t feel I had to challenge myself to force me to read more as I was still reading between 1-3 books a week depending if I was in a roll or slump or simply busy.

    Life seems freer without it!

    • I did the same exact thing, actually! I used to read a lot, and then in college I fell out of it, and then I ended up joining Goodreads for that same reason!

      OH and as far as re-reading, I didn’t know how to do it either, but figured it out- you can just add different editions of the same book, and then mark them both as “read”, leaving the original alone and just adding the date you reread it to the other edition!

      I do think life would be freer without it- yet I can’t seem to stop 😉

  2. I participate in the reading challenge, but I always try to set my goal deliberately low, so as to not get super stressed and therefore over-competitive about it. I have so much stress in my life already that it just doesn’t seem worth it. But I use the challenge as a way to keep track of the books that I’ve read throughout the year – I think it is rather lovely to look back and remember a specific time period associated with a book – and simply to make sure my reading life is on record. That is an important thing for me (to be honest, I have a hunch it is part of my OCD, which is… a comment for another day). One must always keep in mind, I think, that it’s only a challenge. There are no consequences of falling short. Finding pleasure in the books is the most important thing of all. <3

    • You are definitely right about all of this! It IS just a fun challenge, no one will like, attack me if I don’t complete it- it’s an internal struggle (perhaps something I need to work on!). And I agree, I LOVE being able to look back at the books over the years- which is probably why I love doing it so much. I just need to cut myself some slack, basically- which is probably easier said than done 😉

  3. I’ve been participating in the Goodreads reading challenge since 2013 and while I didn’t set my goal higher each year (150, 100, 150 and 100 this year), I do have the same problem as you. Even when I’m X books ahead OR had already completed my challenge I keep pushing myself, wanting to read MORE and feeling bad when in my alone time instead of reading I’d rather watch a movie or a tv show. One of my worst treats is being really competitive, but only with my friends which is RIDICULOUS. I don’t want them to do worse than they did and I’m happy for them, but I feel extremely bad for not doing better than them. *hides*
    Great post, Shannon! 🙂

    • Oh my goodness, YES! I get the guilties too! Like “maybe I should be reading instead of watching X/sitting around doing nothing/sleeping” which is so ridiculous! I am the same way as you too- like, I want my friends to do well, but I want to do BETTER hahahah. And this year, I am so NOT. The thing is, they have more time to read, and I should like, be fine in that knowledge, right? But alas, I am not 😂

      And thank youuuu! 😘

  4. I LOVE THE GOODREADS CHALLENGE. IT IS MY FAVOURITE THING. Ahem. I think I am also a horrible overachiever, like, I literally cannot help myself. I compete with myself mostly, but alsow ith other humans if I know they’re reading more hhaha. OKAY BUT TRUTH: I did actually put a limit on myself this year. Like last year I was kicking myself if I couldn’t read a book per day. Like wut. Why was I even doing that? It was stressful and not fun and was ruining reading for me. So now I have like a very strict schedule to stop me overachieving too badly (that sounds weird…but there it is) but I’m still like 30+ books ahead of schedule. And it bugs me because I read 300 books last year and this year I’m only barely going to get to 200!! SO I STRUGGLE wITH THAT. But at the same time, I think making reading into a competition can take the joy out of it? Honestly we should just read what we can and not worry so much about it. (Speaking to myself here.😂) The real trouble is not being able to read all the books of ever…BECAUSE I KIND OF SERIOUSLY WANT TO. *distant sobbing* Someone get me immortality asap.

    • WHOA Cait. A book a day!?? Yeah that is not good for you, I don’t think. I am glad that you are stopping yourself. That is one thing I am worried about because there WILL come a time when I CAN’T actually read more than I did the year before. And then what? Will I lose my mind? I hope not.

      I think that you definitely nailed part of it- wanting to read ALL the books. And not being able to. And not being okay with that. Because I am the same way. It is SCARY to think that we will have unread books sitting here forever. Maybe we need some kind of… help. Like a support group, that focuses on readers’ fear of death and unread books. Let’s get that set up, shall we?

  5. I totally participate. I actually lowered my goal this year so I could focus on some bigger books. Have I done that? Nope! I am 11 books ahead so I have time to but I keep plowing through other things. Also my need to read a lot of books is to have reviews up on the blog. I know I can skip days and what not but I can’t you know. Another thing is I see people like you who have two kids and I am like how does she read so much! I must be able to as well. And I know I shouldn’t compare but human nature and all that. Any whooo! Great discussion!!

    • BWAHHAHA that was smart, in theory 😉 I totally ignore big books so I can reach my goal faster. And since I AM actually reading Queen of Shadows, when I am done, I will probably treat myself to Saga as a reward 😉

      And dude, I read because I don’t sleep, and my body does NOT do well on no sleep, so what I am telling you is, DON’T BE LIKE ME (though I just looked at your Goodreads challenge, and you HAVE read almost as many books as me. So you aren’t listening! Bwhahah) . And I feel you with needing reviews for the blog… only I have read WAY more books than I could ever review. So that just totally did not work at all 😂 And thank you, love ♥♥

  6. I feel like the laziest blogger on the face of the planet because I legitimately don’t give a toss about Goodreads challenges XD I read at my own pace, and I try not to rush myself because I am already a forgetful reader as it is. I do really love reading sprints and readathon though! I just don’t get that sense of accomplishment from counting how many books I can read a year, I guess. I am participating this year but I don’t even update my Goodreads 75% of the time so OOPS. Yup, I am a Horrible Blogger.

    • Pshhh, you might be the SMARTEST blogger on the planet! Reading at your own pace is a good thing, trust me! I do wish I could do readathons from time to time though- that’s one thing I would LOVE to do because it sounds so FUN, for the social aspect! But alas, my time limits me.

  7. I use the Goodreads Challenge because I like seeing how many books I read in a year 🙂 And I’m the same, every year I up the number of books I aim to read but this year is the first I’m majorly behind, mostly because I stopped reading for a good 6 months. And, weirdly enough, it doesn’t stress me out that I’m drastically behind. But it is kind of nice having that slight pressure to read a lot and often it’s fun but yeah, the stress is not so good. Great post!

    Zareena @ The Slanted Bookshelf

  8. It’s both for me. I need the challenge or I become legitimately lazy, even though I absolutely love reading. I’m pretty far behind on my GR challenge right now and it’s stressing me out like crazy. I have come to realize though that I’m at least stressed about it for personal pride. Thank goodness it has nothing to do with my blog or friends on GR. I’m competitive, but there are so many bloggers out there that read over 200 books in a year and I just can’t. This was an extremely interesting post because I think we all feel and then assume we’re the only ones with that problem.

  9. I’ve actually reduced my goals from previous years because I hate NOT meeting that thing and not having it on my sidebar. I like how it tracks the books I read and I can easily access it. It used to be an outdo last year type thing for me but now it is more tracker lol

  10. The first year I did the challenge I stressed about doing it (and then failed by one…) But the next year I set it and tried to forget it. (And did worse) This year I’m doing rather well, but failing at not caring. I tried several other challenges and am failing at all of them. I think I need to forget them all and read for fun. Easier said than done though.

    • Oh NO! Just ONE? That is sadness, I feel for you! I agree that reading for fun is the best idea- but also easier said than done! I like the challenges where I don’t have to set an actual goal. Like the debut author challenge, I just link up whenever I end up reviewing a debut, it’s more fun that way for me 😀

  11. I have done the exact same thing during my first few years of blogging. So this year I decided to force myself to only read the books I actually am excited for. I cut my reading challenge in half and with the many changes that have happened in mine and the husband’s life this year I needed to read less and focus on other things more. Once you are able to let go of making yourself read books you don’t really care all that much about or aren’t that excited to read, these reading challenges become far less stressful.

    • That is a REALLY great idea, Marie! I think part of my problem is that I don’t read what I WANT to read most of the time- I let reviews kind of dictate my schedule, so the challenge just becomes another thing to do. I am so glad that you found a way that works for you!

  12. *raises hand throughout your questions* I’ve been participating in the Goodreads challenge for 3 years, and while I really stressed myself last year (I had a really far fetched goal) overall I really love it! It’s a really amazing way to push myself to read more, as well as giving me an idea what books I read during that particular year. The statistics are pretty helpful too! I love to see about my best book and average ratings!

    • Oh, I agree with you so much, I LOOOOVE seeing my best books! And then, years later, looking at my ratings on some old ones like “what was I thinking!?” 😂 And then being surprised at how long ago I read certain books, etc. It is definitely fun to keep track of!

  13. I don’t take my reading challenges very seriously. I mostly do the Goodreads one for the statistics. Before I joined Goodreads, I used to keep track of my read books on a piece of paper, but it’s really difficult to not lose a piece of paper for an entire year. So far, I haven’t been able to lose Goodreads. It works a lot better than paper.

  14. I always participate int he godreads challenge as it is fun. It’s part of starting the new year to set a goal for the next year for how many books I read. Then again I know your feeling of your buffer needing a buffer, so to get that I just set my goal low. Low enough that I know I will reach that goal (like halfway during the year already in this case). And then goodreads always tells me I am ahead, which is great. I love being ahead, even though the only reason i am ahead is because I set a low enough goal to be ahead. This year’s goal was 65 books and by now I have read 88 books. i am pretty sure I will reach the 100, but no way am I upping my goal. Great post! I definitely think we worry too much about our goodreads challenge goals sometimes, but hey that’s why we’re bookworms and I thin k there are a lot of positive things about it too.

    • Setting your goal low is SUCH a good idea. I don’t know why I needed to be SO ridiculous this year. Like, I could have just made my goal more than LAST year, but nooooo, I had to put it obscenely high. And now any time I go back down, I’ll feel like I failed. That… wasn’t smart 😂 You will definitely reach 100, but yeah, good call on the not upping your goal- I have done that wayyy too many times. Maybe I should DECREASE my goal for this year before it is set in stone 😉

      And thank you SO much ♥

  15. I stopped participating in this challenge because I felt like I had to read more and more. The more books I tried to read to win the challenge, the less that I remembered because they all blended together. Now I try to read at least 2-4 books a month if I can and if I can’t, all well, life happens. I also take breaks in between books for other activities.

  16. The Goodreads Challenge does stress me out, but I still do it every year. I do agree with you when you say that you’ll be reading a good amount of books regardless of the challenge. I also agree with Topaz Winters because I also set my challenge to a low number that way I know I can get it done and if I go over that certain number I’m even happier. I also HATE it when I invest too much time in a horrendous book and find myself feeling guilty for 1) wasting precious time; 2) that I won’t be able to count it on my Goodreads Challenge.

    • I think that setting your goal low is definitely the way to do it- because then you feel awesome when you achieve it, plus you’re still reading a lot of great books. Definitely a win-win! But the struggle and the stress is definitely there, hopefully less so with a smaller goal thougH!

  17. I…don’t do this challege. For exactly the reasons you mentioned. I’ve debated it these past years (especially since pretty much everyone in the blogosphere is doing it) but I’ve always come to the conclusion that I want quality more than quantity. I don’t want to set a low goal that would be easy to reach – because that’s no challenge, is it? And then I’d worry about reading long books, because they’d lower my count… and I do other challenges instead. 🙂
    But congrats on winning yours in the previous years and WAY TO GO for this year! 🙂 You’re almost there!

  18. Zoe

    I’ve only started to actively use Goodreads this year so it’s my first year doing the Goodreads Challenge. And I set an extremely low goal of 20 books for myself bc it was June and I had read only 2 books that month, so the logical part of me said that if my average is 2 books per month, 20 books by the end of the year should be a piece of cake. I’ve already finished the 20 books by now and even though I know I could possibly read 50 books a year, I’m not gonna test that yet. I think I might still set the same goal next year coz ‘A’ Levels.

    I find it amusing to see others set increasingly higher goal for themselves every year that they’ve doubled the amount of books read per year after like three years. It’s pretty amazing and funny at the same time.

    • I think that setting a smaller goal is the best way to do it! While reading all the comments, I have been thinking of lowering my own goal, just so I don’t drive myself insane! I think you’re doing it the best way possible, honestly! And I agree with you, it IS funny- and maybe a little ridiculous even- to keep thinking we can outdo ourselves every year! 😀

  19. I completely agree with you on the Goodreads challenge is really based upon the number of books rather then trying to get you out of your comfort zone. I try really hard to pickup books I wouldn’t normally read, but I am a DNF if I can’t get into the book I just put it down there are too many books on my TBR to get stuck. I need to branch out next year and participate in some of the other challenges out there to help diversify my reading. Great post!

  20. I didn’t do any challenges this year, nope, none. Zippo. And… I kind wish I did. Everyone is talking about their challenegs and I’m like… not ha ha. So… 2017. Yeah. 🙂 But I get it. I do this too, every time I finish a book I’m like another one bites the dust. What is THAT all about? I think I fall for the quantity thing too even though I’m NOT doing a challenge. Although I honestly don’t know if I would read more w/ the challenge, since I think I read about as much as I can right now. I read about a book a week, maybe two, and not sure how I could do more with life stuff, so… maybe it wouldn’t make any difference for me? I may still try it though. 🙂

    Congrats on being ahead of schedule BTW!

    • Good for you! It is better that way. I mean, I know you wish you did but…. well, like you said, 2017 is close haha. I find it VERY fascinating that you still think about the quantity without the actual numbers and challenge to worry about! Maybe it is just… a “thing” we bookish people do? It probably wouldn’t make you read any more, but if you set your goal low, then it could be fun to track!

      And thanks!! 😀

  21. Preach it, sister! I love the goodreads challenge because it keeps track of all of the books that I have read during the year, and going back and looking at my completed challenges is like a walk down memory lane. For me, the unfortunate thing about the goodreads challenge is that I feel this pressure to just accomplish books, rather than reading for enjoyment and to discover new, wonderful stories. Now that I am working and going to college, I barely have time to look up from my homework, let alone read a pile of random books just to exceed my goodreads challenge goal. *sighs* Reading a lot of random books for no reason other than to say that I read *insert number here* of books by the end of this year has whittled away what time I should have had for blogging, and that breaks my heart a little. I want to go back to just enjoying experience of reading and blogging instead of trying to power through both of my hobbies, just to say I read and blogged this much in 2016. The goodreads challenge is great, but for me personally, I think that I need to stop looking at it like it’s a numbers and time game, and just enjoy the experience of reading and blogging for fun.
    I love this post, and I’m glad that I’m not the only one who feels this way!

  22. Aw, thanks for mentioning my challenge! I did the Goodreads challenge for the first time this year, mainly to keep track of all that I read and see what amount I read by the end of the year. I put it at 100 books and I’m pass that now, but I still feel like I’ll keep it around the same next year because I’ll be busier. I do think it can be stressful, because Goodreads likes to tell you how far behind you are at times. It’s good for people that want to read more, but as a book blogger, I think we’d do that no matter what. It should be more about seeing what and how much you read instead of making you desperate to reach a certain amount.

    • Oh, of course! I think it is such a fun one! I just finished another book that would qualify- We are Still Tornadoes 😀

      And YES- why you feel the need to stress me out, Goodreads?! It’s like, I know I am behind, I can do math 😉 I agree with you completely- we WILL read plenty anyway, why add extra stress to the mix? I like that your goal is reasonable- you can just stick with that and use it for tracking, and that’d be a win-win!

  23. I haven’t done ANY challenges, because I feel like life is too unpredictable for that! But it may work for some people. It may work for me, too, but I think I get stressed too easily and would be stressed if I didn’t finish on time! I do feel the need to read allll the books, though!

    • I think that is such a refreshing way to think of it! You are right, life IS unpredictable, and I hate feeling bad if I don’t read because I was sick, or had something else to do! It’s supposed to be a good thing! (I feel you with needing to read all the books though hahha!)

  24. I was actually WAY more obsessed with the GR challenge before I started really blogging. I loved reading as much as I could (without having to worry about reviews). I, too, would get SO stressed out when I was behind!! I think I probably read fewer books now because of having to review and because of setting an ARC schedule although I have been meeting my GR challenge for the past few years of 200+ books! UGH! So I made my GR challenge lower this year (120) and I’ve already surpassed it — I set it lower though because I wanted to re-read a lot and I haven’t been able to because of ARCs. *insert sadface* But yes, why are we so obsessed with that challenge? The number of books has no bearing on quality of reads or on reading what we really to read!

    • Awww! I read way more now, though I am not sure how? I guess lack of sleep, much less TV watching? 😉 Also…. TWO HUNDRED books!?! Holy crap, girl! That is a LOT! I am impressed! But you are so right, we should really be reading for QUALITY for sure!

  25. My very first goodreads challenge was more or less about my curiousity. How much books can I read in one year? When I had the number and saw the numbers of my friends (much bigger numbers) it started to be a motivation for me to read more books. Every year I would make the number bigger and every year I was trying to accomplish the number. Than I realized that I’m too focused on the numbers on my challenge. I stopped writing my own story because it was easier to pick up a book and I needed to accomplish the challenge. Later on I started to read so quickly that I didn’t really enjoyed the book. If someone asked me what was the book about, I wouldn’t know. So this year I went down a little bit with the number and I’ll see where it takes me. I had great start at the beginning of the year, I was reading like a mad woman, I was enjoying it and I didn’t even know how much books I’ve read. During summer, I got into a reading slump but instead of beating myself over it, I enjoyed it. It’s good to have a little break, do other stuff, write a little and not care about the challenge. Though I think it is a great think which can help you be motivated to read more books, I also think it can have negative effect. It’s important to find the right balance. 🙂

    • I agree! Mine was definitely just for funsies- it was before I started blogging, and I had NO idea! I think you are SO right about needing to do other stuff too. I totally put other interests on the back burner (and yes, writing too!) which is NOT a good thing. You are spot on with the balance thing- because if we use it just as a fun thing, and still keep other interests, it can totally be a positive thing! 😀

  26. I don’t raise my hand. I’m not on Goodreads and I don’t do their challenges. I wouldn’t be able to do those challenges because I do have chores and actual work to do. Otherwise, I would read all day. (which secretly I would love to do.)

  27. I lol’ed at your need for your buffer to have a buffer because I am TOTALLY the same way. Oddly enough I’m also 12 books ahead for my goal haha. It’s funny because I keep thinking “oh my god if I hadn’t binge-listened to the super easy and short 13 book Series of Unfortunate Events I would be BEHIND RIGHT NOW.” Like the idea of that freaks me out and it’s not even true because I DID read them. Ugh.

    I love keeping track of the amount of books I read but definitely find that it puts a lot of pressure on me. My goal this year was to read less because I really wanted to enjoy other hobbies I have for once instead of being like I MUST READ every spare minute. I did lower my goal and I’m still super ahead, which makes me feel good and comfortable, but I still want to get even more ahead. It’s a sick cycle.

    • BWHAHAHHA I am SO glad that I am not the only one who does these things 😂 Nice job on being 12 ahead, too!

      I think that is REALLY great that you lowered your goal. I may try to do it next year- or at least NOT increase it? I still feel like maybe I should un-increase it this year, I still have time to lower it, even though I am ahead. Because you are SO right- focusing on other hobbies is a GOOD thing!

  28. I like doing the challenge because it helps keep track of the books I am reading. I didn’t know how many books I was reading until I started tracking it last year and was surprised when it was close to 200 books. So I didn’t set my goal this year to be that high because I think it’s a bit ridiculous but I set it to what was comfortable for me. I don’t use the challenge to compete with anyone but myself.

  29. I did not participate this year after participating four years. University stress was getting to me and i did not need the extra stress. Luckily my mental health has improved some after the past school year. It ‘s possible that 2017 will be a reading challenge year

  30. UGh. There are so many ups and downs to these types of challenges. I had to cut my goodreads challenge in half because I was too stressed out about falling behind and not reading “enough” and UGH! I feel like it puts so much pressure on people when it is just important that WE ARE READING. I always feel like I am not reading enough compared to other people, and then realize that we are DIFFERENT people and so everyone reads different amounts. I really like being able to see my progress, though. Fantastic post (as always)!

    • Aww thank you!! ♥ I think it is awesome that you cut it in half! Like, why be stressed? Isn’t life stressful enough? (I say to you, as I am thinking to myself “I have to go read ASAP” 😉 ) You’re so right too, we all have different lives and situations and reading paces and all kinds of other things- so comparing ourselves to others simply doesn’t make sense! Love your outlook on this!

  31. To be honest, I always set up a goal, but I don’t force myself to finish the goal. I mean, if it happens, it happens. If I don’t finish, then I don’t finish. I used to force myself to read and felt like I HAD to complete the goal. It was a must. Now, I read when I want to. If I’m not up for reading, I won’t read anything. There are weeks when I’ll read 5 or 6 books. Then there are other weeks when I only read 1 or 2 books. And I’m totally okay with that. I also deserve me time, meaning no books. My world used to revolve around reading and books. This year I realized it shouldn’t be that way, at least for me. Lately I’ve been a very social potato, going out all the time, being with friends or boyfriend, etc etc. I prefer to be a social potato than a couch potato. Granted, if you had asked me that two years ago, I would have gone with couch potato all the way lol But I’ve grown and I keep growing and I realize life is meant to be cherished. So if someone invites me to go out, reading takes a back seat.
    I use the GR challenge just to keep track of how many books I read in a year, is all. It’s awesome to see a big number on there, obviously. But it’s a number I reached without adding stress to my life.

    • Dude, I wish I had your outlook! I don’t WANT to care as much as I do, I promise! 😂 I think you are SO spot on with needing “me time” too- how else can you be your best self if you don’t take care of you? (Again, I say to you as I am doing blog stuff instead of getting the bubble bath I am basically dying for hahahha) And I think it is AWESOME that you have been so social lately. I think that I would read a lot less (and probably blog a lot less too) if I had a better social situation. Definitely better to be with people you care about, no question! Books and blogging will always be there, but opportunities to be with other people are definitely more important, I agree SO much!

  32. I totally know what you mean, when setting my GR challenge every year I kind of put it up and up. But this year is probably the first that I’ve failed miserably in keeping up with my challenge, but also because I’ve had the most emotionally draining year with lots of changes. I’m kind of glad that I’m getting any sort of reading done tbh. So in the end I’ve just stopped caring about the GR nag meter XD

    • “The GR nag meter”, I LOVE that! 😂 I am so calling it that from now on, it is my new favorite thing! And I understand that, it is so hard to even WANT to read and such when you have a lot of stuff going on in your life, and there is NO reason to force it- so I am glad you stopped caring! It’s definitely better for your mental health this way! ♥

  33. You ALWAYS crack me up, Shannon! By the way, miss reading tour posts! I’ve been toooooo busy adulting that I didn’t have time… Anyway, back to the topic…

    Uhh I am currently 17 (I think) ahead and I already know that I will meet my reading goal before the end of the year. BUUUUTTTT… Anyway. I still think this goal is still for us obsessed readers who just want to know if they can outdo their own reading goals! Ha ha! I mean, I think the challenge here isn’t how many books you can read. I think for us, it is WHEN will I exceed my own set goals before the end of the year? Or may it’s how many books did I go over my set goal at the end of the year? LOL I think it gives us A LOT of satisfaction that we are crushing our own past selves! 😜

    • AW you are just TOO sweet! Adulting is kind of the worst, yes? Yes. NICE job on being 17 ahead! I feel you, I know I will meet my goal too, because I will force myself if it comes to it 😂 BWHAHA I love your analysis of it because you are SO spot on! We are such overachievers 😉 Our past selves are probably embarrassed, and our future selves are probably shaming us too 😀

  34. I LOVE READING CHALLENGES! Especially the Goodreads one! It always motivates me to read more and I love looking at the statistics at the end of the year. I never set it too high though because I know that the next few years with school and university I won’t be reading as much, so I set it at an amount that I know I can achieve but doesn’t challenge me too much! XD

  35. MJ

    I love the statistics part! But so as not to stress I just put a really small reading challenge in the beginning of the year and then increase it once Goodreads says I’m ahead of my challenge. My real challenge for myself is 300 by the end of the books, but Goodreads thinks it’s 250, so that I don’t feel upset if I don’t reach my goal.

  36. Peach @ Rebelle Reads

    What IS the rush though?? I think people get nervous when their challenge # is like, 200, and they’ve only read 48 books. Aka me. No, kidding. I’ve read a few more, but I’m a lazybones reader. People see it like crunch time around the end tho. It gets to be nervous wracking (again #me) so they begin rushing. Awesome discussion!!

  37. I’m quite a bit behind on my Goodreads challenge this year, and I can’t even make myself care a tiny bit. I think the challenge thing is great – because it’s nice to know if I’m on track or not. I don’t let it become something that is stressful, though. One year, I lowered my challenge number in the middle of the year, because there was just no way I was going to be able to read all those books.
    I guess we are a self-competitive bunch – we want to do better than we did last year, and somehow, ‘better’ has become more 🙂

  38. I can SO relate to this instinct – the drive to read more, more, MORE! Not only because I want to enjoy more books (which is a factor, of course), but because I want to see that number go up. Like you, DNFing is hard for me partially because any time I’ve spent on a DNFd book now feels “wasted;” whereas if I finish the book, I at least got to make my Read count go up one. I realize this is a silly way to think, but I can’t really make myself stop. I’ve also stayed up way too late reading a book I’m not really enjoying just so I can mark it Read and move on.

    I WILL say that I’ve managed to be realistic with my GR goal when I got busier. I reduced it instead of increasing it when I started editing. I call that a win!

    • YEP so true- I have done all of those things, and it is like… well, it’s DUMB, why do we do this to ourselves?! I am VERY proud of you for reducing it- I want to reduce mine even though I am ahead. But every time I start to… I can’t! I have problems 😉

  39. I have an added dimension, a personal challenge, to my GoodReads Challenge and that is to read 20k pages a year. (Yes, GoodReads tracks that if you pick editions that have page counts.) This gives me some leeway in the number of books I read in a year. For the type of books I read it is usually between 52 and 60 books year.

    The GoodReads Challenge doesn’t stress me out. When I did it for the first couple of years, I wasn’t blogging so it was more like a New Year’s Resolution for me.

    • Oooh I like the page idea! Because I am stressing to finish a huge book right now, but pages would be so much easier! I have to check this out, thanks so much for the tip! And I am VERY glad that you don’t get stressed by it- that is definitely the best mindset!

  40. SHANNON. I DO ALL OF THIS. AND MORE. GRAD SCHOOL. LIFE. VIDEO GAMES. And look at you 12 books ahead what the heck. I am 1 book behind or on track and I can’t seem to get past that.

    JOIN ME NEXT TIME SHANNON IN HAVING ONLY ONE BOOK BE OUR CHALLENGE.

  41. I compete so I don’t get complacent. Cuz I will do nothing without a motivating factor, like a challenge. I don’t actually set my goals too high. Like I finished 2/6 of my goals already this year. I set the bar low so it would feel like I am so awesome I am already done, when really I didn’t have to try to hard. I set my Goodreads Goal to 125, which should be no problem for me, although I am only at 87 and there are 104 days left of this year. You can do a lot in 104 days!

  42. Interesting question. I have been avoiding adding the challenge. Not sure why but I just don’t want to be held accountable. I’m sure I’ll read that many books but don’t need to see it on Goodreads. So my post/question would be “Why don’t I do this challenge” LOL because I really don’t know!!

  43. Becca

    Great post Shannon! I agree, I pressure myself so much to read ALL of the books and I have no idea why! I was actually stressing myself out about being behind on my goal, until I was like WHAT am I doing LOL 🙂

  44. I don’t even know why I do it! It’s all GR and other book bloggers’ faults since I never used to have a goal until I started blogging. But seriously, “Welp, let’s finish this 2-star book so I can check it off and move along,” speaks to my soul lol. I am the same exact way!

  45. I was reading some other comments and screeched to a halt at Cait’s when she mentioned feeling the need to read *a book a day*. What the what?! Who does that? In what world? I mean, unless someone is quite literally a full time reader and does nothing else I can’t even see how that’s possible. It’s like reading is her superpower. LOL Anyway, I do set a yearly GR goal (obvs) but for me it’s less a goal and more a way to keep track. I mean, it’s not like that’s the *only* way I keep track. I’m way too listy for that. My beloved Excel spreadsheet helps me keep track of every book I read, when I read it, etc. But GR is a great back-up. I like to meet my goal at GR but it’s not something I try to pound out as fast as possible or even exceed. And if I don’t make it, oh well. And I’ve never thought of it in terms of competition – not even with myself, really. That aspect never crossed my mind so now I’m intrigued that others view it that way!

    • Yeah Cait is an actual MACHINE. I think Cinder is actually the true story of Cait, a cyborg sent to Earth to shame all other readers/writers/bloggers. (I love Cait so I feel like I can say such things 😉 )

      But YOU, you have a spreadsheet!? So yeah now you’ve ventured into cyborg territory too! That is impressive! If it wasn’t for Goodreads, I think I would legitimately not know if I had ever even read certain books 😂 I like that you don’t think of it as a competition though! That is like, healthy. Teach us your ways!

  46. I’ve been thinking about the Goodread’s Reading Challenge quite a lot lately, mainly because I’m 16 books behind. I blame reading slumps (this year was bad in the reading slumps counts), and I was wondering why I even put myself though the stress of it. If anything it made me feel like I wasn’t reading nearly enough, and that I should have caught up by now. Then one day I just decided to not stress about it, because I was tired of feeling like I wasn’t doing well enough. Who cares if I don’t make my goal this year? I’ll just beat it in 2017. 🙂

  47. I have a goal but I actually don’t pay attention to it haha I DO set it higher than the year prior but I don’t ever reach it (literally, I have never reached my goal so idk why I continue to set it higher) but I also don’t check to see where I’m at. I JUST checked, I’m 19 books behind schedule lolololol

  48. I honestly think it’s a bit of both. When I’m way ahead of my goal I feel all smug and want to see how much further I can get ahead. But if it starts lagging behind then I do feel a bit stressed. I also feel a bit stressed over a book if it takes me more than a week to read, even if I’m reading other books at the same time. GR has definitely made me more aware of the quantity!

  49. You make a good point I definitely think the Goodreads Challenge is both stressful and motivating. I am never usually stressed about it if I am ahead of schedule but if I’m not that’s when I start to swear. I also feel like it doesn’t leave much room for reading breaks which honestly sometimes we need. The main thing I use it for though is keeping track of what I’ve read because like you said I am lazy and it keeps everything I read in once place.

  50. I’m really laid-back when it comes to my challenges. I like to participate in them to challenge myself to read more and different genres, but if it doesn’t work out, I’m also okay with that. (That being said, the fact that I’m 12 books behind does make my eye twitch every time I look at my challenge, because it disappoints me that I haven’t been able to read as much as I want to)

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