2018: The Year Without Reading Goals

I started out this year much as I did last year, bridging the transition from New Year’s Eve to New Year’s Day with a fun historical romance (not a coincidence that they were by the same author).  I assumed I would follow that up by also making a post of 2018 goals for my reading and my blog and setting a new goal on GoodReads for, most likely, 100 books.  But something has switched in my mind and I find myself re-evaluating my approach to many things.

Mount Must Read January 1, 2018 Review and Giveaway copies courtesy of Publishers, Authors & other bloggers

I’m no longer setting hard and fast reading or blogging goals.  I am not setting anything as a goal, but I am setting intentions.  Now, I’m not going all woo-woo on you, I’m just choosing a kinder, gentler approach to the things I want or need to accomplish.

With this new approach, the GoodReads Challenge became a bit of an issue.  I knew, based on past experience, that not setting a number wouldn’t last long.  I also knew that whatever the number I’ve chosen in the past (30, 52, 72, 100, 104), I’ve exceeded it in the natural course of my reading.  Still, I couldn’t make a decision.  And then I set my challenge for 12.  

You may have done a little involuntary math in your head and equated that to one book a month, but that isn’t the case.  Twelve was my challenge for the month of January and I’ve already exceeded it.  So now my challenge number is twenty and will change again at the end of this and every month, if not sooner.  My intention for this challenge is to set a number monthly and to reassess that number when/if it is met as well as at the end of each month.  A moving target that is always reasonable and in reach, rather than a set number that may become a source of stress or rushed reading.

As to the goals I set last year, they were quite optimistic and unrealistic for my living situation.  Since moving into my current home a few years ago, I have lived in a constant state of sleep deprivation due in large part to circumstances out of the control of my neighbor who was disturbing my sleep.  The circumstances called for compassion and forbearance, and the sleep deprivation meant that those goals were highly unrealistic as reading and blogging – anything past just making it through the day at work, really – were negatively affected.  My home and I are still in recovery and so I’m continuing one or more of those goals but framing them as hopes and intentions.

I intend to catch up on the books publishers and authors have sent me for review or as a giveaway prize.  However, if any of those books are ones I would not have finished if they were from the library or I had purchased them, then I will be finding them a new home rather than force myself to finish them.  Sadly, not all of the books on my shelves are books that I will enjoy and I would rather spend my limited reading time on those I like or love.  To that end, I’ve already found new homes for several after giving them “page 112” test, and will be giving any that were borderline the “try a chapter” test,” based on tags I’ve seen in the BookTube community on YouTube.

As to the other goals from last year, they are under consideration as things I might do.  They are, after all, things I would like to do.  I intend to give them some thought, eventually…  Oh, and the books themselves?  I’ve turned the spines of Mount Must Read (my name for my TBR – to be read – pile), along with any library or owned books that are must-read-soon toward the wall or back of the bookcase.  Somehow, not seeing the spines has made it less stressful to have them lined up and stacked on my shelves.  Only if they are no longer a part of Mount Must Read are their spines facing out, with current reads to the left and those already read and reviewed on the right (where they will stay until moved to a ‘keeper shelf’ or are found a new home).  And bonus – they make a great background for bookstagram pictures for Instagram!

Mount Must Read, January 28, 2018

May we all have a wonderful (and restful) reading year in 2018!




6 thoughts on “2018: The Year Without Reading Goals

  1. Although I love reading well written and interesting books I have found I was spending so much time reading that I was not accomplishing other things that needed and that I wanted to get done, so I have reduced my reading time I have to admit that it is sometimes a challenge😊. Good luck to you on your new “goals”.


  2. It seems you and I may have swapped places this year. I have become more organized and intentional than ever with my reading goals, but we will see how I do. I wrote a whole post on the issue of reading challenges and have a separate page on my blog just for my TBR list and updates. I’ve already “broken the rules” and skipped ahead to read books that better suited my mood now but weren’t scheduled to be read for another month or more.

    I am trying to keep up with the Christian Book Devourer’s Group Author of the Month challenge because I enjoy reading new authors and several were already on my TBR list, but schedules and moods don’t always coincide. I find reading very much like eating. I may intend to eat one thing for dinner, but when the time actually comes to prepare the meal, it is just as likely I will change my mind as not. LOL

    I try to avoid forcing myself to read books that don’t suit my mood because these days I try to review as many of the books that I read as possible and it isn’t fair to the author if I am forcing myself to read a book I am just not in the mood for. I never knowingly agree to review a book in a genre that isn’t my cup of tea for the same reason. I find it more difficult to award a full five stars to a book I didn’t really want to read in the first place even if I can objectively see its merits. So I think it is smart for you to rehome any books you don’t actually want to read, even if you did win them in a giveaway. (I’m assuming you aren’t doing that with any of the ones you requested to review.) Hopefully, whomever receives your copies will write and share their own review which will likely be much better than yours would have been had you forced yourself to read it.

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    1. I’ll have to take a look at your post and lists! I’m finding that the lack of reading goals has actually contributed to a more structured approach to my reading. I’ve improved how I track my to-reads and reassess the list at least once a week, adjusting it to suit deadlines and moods, making sure I fit in older review copies but allowing for constant adjustments in their order. Though I am mainly reading review copies at the moment, my reading feels more flexible with intentions rather than set goals.

      Rehoming some of the giveaway copies that are better suited to another reader is part of my efforts to be fair to the authors (as is not reading and reviewing when I am taking cold medicine). The only review copies that have found new homes are either duplicates or ones I did not request, since I do consider a requested review book to have an obligation to read, consider, and review.

      Like you, I try to review as many of the books I read as I can, and these changes are part of why I am feeling less stressed about the numbers. What a difference a change in mindset and more sleep is making this year! I find myself able to resist binge-requesting from NetGalley and even checking to see if my library has a book on order first. But the year is young, so we’ll see how it goes. 😀

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