How to Beat Your Goodreads Reading Challenge
A wise woman once told me that the Goodreads Reading Challenge not a competition, but just a way to keep track of myself for myself. THEN WHY DO THEY CALL IT A CHALLENGE, LINDA? And why do I get a victory laurel at the end of every year when I TOTALLY KILL IT?
The reality is that fighting against yourself can be just as fun and rewarding and frustrating as any other competition. And since I’ve been doing this every year since 2011, I feel like I’ve found a foolproof way to crush the competition.
We all know about how many books we are going to be able to get through in any given year. My average is around 85. But there was that one year (2015) when I thought I would be cute and give myself a new goal. 100 Books. I did NOT make it. I punked out at Christmas at around 89. I hate that I don’t have a cute little “Completed!” badge on that one year, and so I have learned: underestimate yourself.
Don’t go in guns blazing, trying to make yourself read more than you are ready for. If you haven’t finished a novel in six years, you aren’t going to read one every month of 2019. Even if you can finish a book or two a week, don’t set your goal for 200 books. You.Won’t.Make.It. Look back at what you’ve done in previous years and knock off 10%. For me? That means I will set my goal at around 75 books. Find your reachable goal and dial it back a bit. It’s not cheating.
There are no referees in the Goodreads Reading Challenge. No one is going to call foul if you step over the line. If you want to hit your goal, count everything. My challenge from 2018 has about a dozen comic books, a couple of books I read with my girls for school, and a TON of re-reads. That’s right. Books you read again. The ability to add dates read to a book was the greatest thing to come out of Goodreads updated functionality in years, and it’s especially fulfilling for readers like me who love to re-read again and again. If they counted fanfic, my numbers circa 2008-2013 would be astronomical. Count it all, friends. It’s not cheating (but the next one is).
Move the Goalposts
If beating your challenge is really important to you, be aware of it. Goodreads give you a nice tracker (or a shame chyron, depending on where you are in your challenge) that tells you how far you have come, how many books you need to get on track, and what percentage of your challenge is completed at any given point in the year. If you find yourself in the month of June, perpetually 7 books behind, CHANGE YOUR CHALLENGE. Delete 10 books from your goal, and VOILA you are ahead. Just do it early in the year, so you forget that you did it come December, and your victory still feels hard won. Enjoy those slightly fudged accolades.
So get out there and READ BOOKS and make trophies out of them. Because what good was it if we can’t brag about it to our dumber friends later?