New Year Reading Goals: Pleasure or Pressure?

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It’s that time of year when everybody is starting to plan out what their reading life will look like in 2019! With so many challenges and checklists, there are plenty of resolutions to choose from.

Personally, I have not set myself any reading goals this year. As an English Literature student, my compulsory reading is enough without setting myself any more deadlines! However, if you are reading purely for pleasure, can setting goals help to enhance this or turn reading into a competitive activity that puts you under pressure?

Pros of Reading Goals

1.Sense of achievement

Keeping track of the books that you read in a whole year can give you a real sense of satisfaction when you realise how big a dent you have made in that never-ending to-read list!

2. Creates conversations around books

On a lot of bookish blogs and websites, I see readers discussing prompts for certain challenges and sharing recommendations. What better way to start conversations about books and find some hidden gems for your next read?


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3. Increased motivation to read

I remember at school we always used to have a Summer Reading Challenge where you could receive prizes for reading a certain number of books over the summer holidays. Although there is no adult equivalent now I’m in my twenties, setting yourself a reading challenge could be the little motivator needed to have you reaching for the bookshelf instead of your smartphone…

4. Encourages diversity in reading

Taking part in a reading challenge can encourage you to try new authors, genres, series, settings – the list goes on! Meeting a variety of prompts forces you out of your comfort zone. Maybe you’ll get hooked on something unexpected?

Cons of Reading Goals

1. Longer books

If you are trying to read a certain number of books, you may be put off from reading heavier tomes that threaten to put you behind schedule. Although they can require a bit more getting into, longer books can also be incredibly rewarding.

2. Competition

When I started my degree, I was really worried about people having read so many more books than me and feeling behind. It’s turned out not to be like that at all. Other students are more likely to stare in horror if someone admits to never having read Harry Potter than Hamlet! (I watched The Lion King – does that count?!?)

However, some people may avoid reading goals because they worry about comparing their reading lives to others’, especially on social media.


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3. Limitation of choice

Although the prompts of reading challenges tend to be flexible enough to give you room to manoeuvre, if you have very specific reading tastes then you may feel forced into reading a genre you aren’t keen on.

4. Feeling under pressure

Sometimes, we’re tired. We’ve had a world-is-against you week. At times like this, the effort required to get into a challenging book outside our comfort zone is just not there. Feeling under pressure because we’re behind on a reading challenge is only going to add to the exhaustion and make us want to curl up with a childhood re-read.

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Now it’s over to you! Do you enjoy setting yourself New Year reading goals? What are your challenges for this year? Please feel free to share your opinion in the comments, I would love to hear from you!


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5 thoughts on “New Year Reading Goals: Pleasure or Pressure?

    1. Hi, thank you for the comment! I keep a list of books on Goodreads that I have been recommended/liked the look of just so I don’t forget them. But I never set myself an order or schedule to read them in. It’s nice to dip in and pick out a book depending on what I’m in the mood for!

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    1. I love a wander through a good library or bookshop too! I don’t mind having some structure, such as making sure I read my book club book for each month, as long as it gives me plenty of time. But if I start to feel under pressure it reduces the enjoyment – if I really enjoy a book I want to savour it rather than rushing through to the end!

      Liked by 1 person

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