Should your Goodreads target challenge you?

28/12/2018 Discussions, Reading 25

Should your Goodreads target challenge you?

So, it’s that time of year again when everyone is setting their goals and resolutions for the New Year. And whilst most people want to lose weight, or eat healthier, or quit smoking, us bookworms just want to read lots of books in the coming year! And not only that, but we want to formalise that goal by publicly setting ourselves a target on Goodreads!

But how exactly do you go about setting that target? In a post I wrote a couple of weeks ago about being a slow reader in the blogosphere, I touched on this issue, and about how reading isn’t a race or competition, and how enjoying books was more important than numbers and statistics.

However, I definitely think the Goodreads Challenge is a fun way of getting involved in the online reading community, and a great way to keep track of your reading. Setting a target is also a great way to encourage yourself to read more, and it’s extra motivation having the accountability of all your reader friends being able to see it.

But at the same time, reading is meant to be a fun and relaxing hobby, so surely putting pressure on yourself is a bad thing? Especially when you find that it’s affecting your reading choices, eg. you are avoiding longer books you really want to read, and sticking primarily with short, quick reads.

The past couple of years I’ve set my targets at a comfortable level for me: 50 books in 2017 (but I read 60), and 60 in 2018 (currently I’m edging up to 62). This is an amount of books I know I’ll reasonably be able to read in a year, but also doesn’t allow me much scope to slack off.

However, I’ve recently been wondering whether to up my target to challenge myself more, and try and make a bigger dent in my TBR in 2019, or whether to go the other way and lower it to decrease the pressure.

The fact that it’s called the Goodsreads ‘Challenge’ makes you feel like you should be setting a target that you consider to be a challenge… But at the same time the Goodreads platform is more about keeping track of books you’ve read, seeing ratings and reviews and interacting with other readers. In short, it’s about enjoying reading, and if there’s a chance that a challenging target is going to get in the way of your enjoyment, then that’s not really in the spirit of the website.

So I’d love to know: what’s your approach when setting your Goodreads Challenge target? Do you like to challenge yourself, or stick to a target that’s more comfortable and use it mainly just to keep track of your reading?

25 Responses to “Should your Goodreads target challenge you?”

  1. Olivia Roach

    So I am one of those people who doesn’t actually use Goodreads properly. I only put books on Goodreads that I review on my blog, so basically my goal is actually how many book reviews I want to post of my blog.

    BUT I think the challenge depends on what you want to do. If you want no pressure reading, then I definitely think it’s a good idea to set it at a low number. If you want to try and read more I would recommend upping it, but just keeping in mind that you don’t have to reach it. Not all goals need to be reached and there shouldn’t be pressure when it comes to reading. You can even check back in a half a year and lower it if it seems too much.

    My recent post:

    • Laura

      That’s interesting that you use it to keep track of your blog reviews instead! That seems like a really good idea, because I’m so bad at writing reviews, I always forget, and then when I get round to writing the review I’ve forgotten the entire book.
      And that’s a great point that you don’t necessarily have to reach your target. I always forget that you can go in and change it halfway through! 🙂

  2. Alex Graham

    I’m a lot like you in that I like to take my time with books. I usually do the reading challenge and it’s normally a comfortable 50 books a year (it takes me about a week to read a book). I was thinking about upping my goal for 2019, but I think I’m going to focus more on reading different kinds of books. Specifically, I’d like to try and read more books from local authors and also books from smaller publishing companies (instead of just the big 5). I’ll probably get more out of that goal than by just upping my numbers and choosing quick reads.

    • Laura

      That’s such a good idea to focus more on the kinds of books you want to read than the number! I don’t often read books by local authors or from smaller publishers either, so I’ll maybe have to look into doing something like that myself 🙂

  3. Elley @ Elley the Book Otter

    I set mine at 150 in 2018 and smashed it, ended up increasing it to 175 in the fall. HOWEVER, there are also plenty of longer or just more time consuming reads I didnt pick up in favor of shorter, faster reads this year, and while I dont think a did it CONSCIOUSLY or on purpose, I do think that Goodreads goal played a part in my reading choices. I’m setting my goal at 100 books for 2019 (which is pretty low for me) BUT I am also focusing on reading down my physical TBR, which has a lot of thick fantasy novels and a fair amount of non-fiction (which always takes me forevvvverrrr to get through). Romance I can crank through a book in a day or two, but other genres take me longer, and I’m going to try to broaden my focus in 2019, so I’m making sure I set my Goodreads goal accordingly!

    • Laura

      That’s such a great idea, to set your target lower and focus more on exactly what you want to read, rather than how many books you want to read. I love long fantasy books, but they take me forever to get through as well, and I’m quite slow with non-fiction too, so I do tend to subconsciously avoid stuff like that so I don’t fall behind. I’d like to read more books that I own this year too though (both physical and on my Kindle!), so maybe I’ll have to do the same and set a lower target and focus on some of the longer books I have, or genres that take me longer (for me, it’s YA that I get through fastest!).

  4. Aj @ Read All The Things!

    For the past few years, I’ve set my target at 100. That’s usually a manageable number for me, but this year, it was really stressful! I was constantly behind and avoided big books so I could catch up. Next year, I think I’m going to set it at 50 and not think about it so much.

    • Laura

      That seems like a good idea, if it was starting to get stressful last year. I’ve been considering doing that myself! 🙂

  5. Malka @ Paper Procrastinators

    I cheat a bit with the Goodreads challenge. Every year I set an easily achievable goal for myself, and hen I up the challenge once I read that goal. I change my goal constantly throughout the year. That way I still have a sort of minimum, but I then have a new goal for myself once I reach the minimum.

  6. Carrie @ Cat on the Bookshelf

    I think it is good to challenge yourself to read a certain number of books if you feel like you should be reading more or reading more about some topic. On the other hand, I’m reaching a point with Goodreads where I don’t want to keep promising to read so many books. I just want to enjoy reading books and seeing what others are reading.

    • Laura

      I know what you mean, that’s exactly how I feel! It’s good to challenge yourself, but you just have to be careful it isn’t taking any of the enjoyment out of your reading.

    • Laura

      That’s a good idea! It really can be stressful when you get behind, so setting a reasonable target based on how busy you’ll be seems like a good solution.

  7. Kelsey

    I think next year I will be setting my challenge as twenty. Last year I completely smashed it, but this year I struggled and although I ended up beating it, I definitely chose shorter books and contemporary as they are easier to read in my opinion, but I didn’t always love them as much as if I had invested my time in a chunky fantasy

    • Laura

      I found myself doing that too, so perhaps it’s sometimes better to set a lower target, and then you know you’ll just be reading things you really want to read.

  8. Tasya @ The Literary Huntress

    I used to do it to challenge myself, but lately I’ve been using it solely to keep track of my reading. I just been feeling overwhelmed lately and felt like wanting to pursue other hobbies, so I keep setting the number lower and lower even though I read so much more than that 😀 It’s still a fun way to challenge my reading though!

    • Laura

      That seems like a good idea to set your target lower when you know you want to pursue other things at that time, or it’s starting to get overwhelming. It’s fun to challenge yourself sometimes, but I definitely don’t think it should be to the point where it’s becoming stressful.

  9. Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity

    I’ve decided low pressure is the way forward for next year. I usually always set mine to 100 because usually, I read fast enough to easily hit that but lately my reading has slowed down some and midway through the year when it was telling me I was behind on my challenge it got me down some. It sucks to feel demotivated by a challenge which should be fun. Next year I’m setting it to 12 because that is a book a month and good goal (I was originally going to set it to 1 but that just seemed too easy). I think as long as it doesn’t stress you out set it to something which will challenge you but if you take these challenges to heart then lower is better. It’s personal preference.

    • Laura

      I know what you mean about it being demotivating to get behind, so sometimes I think a low pressure goal can be a good idea. You’re definitely right though, in that it’s personal preference. I maybe take the challenge a bit too seriously, which is why I hate getting behind so much, whereas other people are probably more relaxed about it all. I’m trying not to take it so seriously this year though: I’ve decided to do a moderately challenging goal, and then go in and change it if it’s stressing me out.

  10. Cheryl Malandrinos

    I set realistic Goodreads goals. What’s the point of me setting a goal if I know I can’t achieve it? When I went back to work, my reading suffered. It is ever so slowly making a come back, but it won’t be what it used to be until the day I retire. It’s great for me to have a visual goal when I set one, so visiting my Goodreads page regularly when I post reviews helps motivate me.

    Here’s to lots of reading in 2019!

    • Laura

      I think you’re right about setting realistic goals. I think it’s good to challenge yourself a bit, but it’s no good setting your goal at 100, if you only usually read about 60!
      I feel like that too though, where having the visual reminder on Goodreads motivates me. I like seeing the percentage thing go up!
      Happy reading in 2019! 🙂

  11. Helia @ Rose Quartz Reads

    These past two years I haven’t set my Goodreads Challenge to a number that is particularly challenging for me. In 2017 and 2018 I set my Challenge to 50 books because I knew it was a number I could realistically reach, and this year I have it at 20 because I want minimal pressure in my dissertation year (but also don’t want to get out of the practice of reading regularly). I would like to challenge myself again, but given I’ve been in university for the past few years it just isn’t realistic to set it to 70 like I did in high school.

    I think challenging myself is definitely worth it for me because it gives me a goal to accomplish for the year. But I think what is most important is prioritising other life goals first before tackling the reading goals.

    Thought provoking post, Laura!

  12. Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    I think the Goodreads goal can work well as a little push, but it’s no good if your goal is too far out there. I mostly use Goodreads as a way of tracking what I read (and own and blog), but I definitely get a bit of motivation from seeing the number of books I’m ahead or behind!

    • Laura

      Using Goodreads mostly for tracking, but also for a bit of motivation is probably the best idea. That way you’re not taking it too seriously, but are still treating it like a challenge! 🙂

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