I set a reading goal in 2013: one book per week.
I’ve never reached the goal though I’ve read more books each year — until 2017. While the goal was 52 books in one year, the best I’ve done is 36, twice the number I read in 2012.
The original purpose of the goal was to become more disciplined with my reading and to increase the number of books I read.
I read nearly every morning while I savor my first cup of coffee. I enjoy this slow start to my day. Twenty pages is the minimum read, even if the book has big pages and tiny print.
While I’ve never chosen short books to make it easier to reach my book-a-week goal, I haven’t enjoyed the self-induced pressure the goal generated. As soon as I finished one book, I picked up the next, with no time to reflect or ponder the one just completed. And sometimes I didn’t allow myself time to slow down and enjoy the story.
So in 2018 my reading goal is gone — because its purpose has been fulfilled. I’m reading more books and I’m reading every day. That’s all I ever wanted and the goal helped me get there.
I will continue to keep my book list on this site. If you’re interested, you can see what I’ve read here.
There’s another side to this issue: I could see my inability to reach my goal as a failure. You know the self-speak:
- I tried. I just couldn’t do it.
- The books were too long.
- I never have enough time.
- I can’t just sit and read all day!
Every year for four years, I got closer to my goal, though by 2017 I suspected I would never accomplish it.
But, if I go back to the beginning and ask myself, “Why did I set the goal in the first place?” The answer is, “I wanted to read more books.” From that perspective I’ve been a resounding success. I read every day and I’m reading more books than I used to. That’s all I wanted.
Sometimes we need a goal as motivation, as a way to get a new habit in place. When the habit is established we can set the goal aside, or change it to something else.
Here are some things to consider this week:
- Have any of your goals helped you accomplish your initial purpose? Can you set them aside?
- If you’re feeling like a failure with one particular goal, look at what you’ve accomplished since you put it in place. Have you made progress?
- If you feel too much pressure to meet your goal, perhaps it needs to be changed so you can experience success.
- Set yourself up for success, not failure.
Goals can keep us heading in a desired direction. But sometimes they need to be changed or tweaked or deleted, depending on our situation and our definition of success.
You are hereby granted permission to evaluate your goals and change or delete as necessary. No explanation required.
Until next Tuesday . . .