It’s a new year and challenges and project prompts are everywhere – the daily photo challenge, the weekly writing challenge…
It’s also the time for book lovers to enroll in the annual Goodreads reading challenge.
I have done this challenge almost every year since 2015. For the past 7 times, I set the goal to read 12 books and successfully achieved this goal in the last two years.
This year again Goodreads is luring me to take the challenge – with the big banners and prompts all over my profile.
But I am hesitating to take part. Here’s why.
Reading is not a chore. I want reading to be an enjoyable experience and not take it as a burden.
I want to focus on the quality of my reading rather than the number of books.
I want to get more from the books I read.
I want to savor the books I read, take my time and allow myself to mull over what I read, write about what I learn, and put things into action rather than go from one to the next like a task. I want to enjoy reading books.
I know there are folks who read 100 books a year. I know I can do that too if I only work and read. But I have other hobbies in my life that I want to spend more time on like my singing and lettering projects.
I want to have a slow, intentional life, especially when work and responsibilities come at me at a warping speed. Don’t we all deal with enough deadlines and pressures in life? Why add one more thing to the list of things to do?
Life happens in phases. Some days I want to step back from reading to focus on other things, like decluttering my home, or setting up our new home. I may have an exciting new project to work on or maybe I’m too tired to read.
I like to change things up and don’t want reading to be something I HAVE to do but rather something I enjoy doing, among all the other hobbies I have-like sketching and lettering.
I want to bring back the joy of reading. Spending a lazy Sunday curled up with a book, and not a daily chore that I have to get done among a list of several things.
I want to read when the mood strikes, and not have a schedule and a timeline for my reading.
There may be books I start and do not finish because I don’t enjoy them anymore. I want to stop reading a book that doesn’t interest me without feeling guilty. Life is too short to read boring books.
Sometimes I may even need to take a break halfway through the book.
I want to read longer books on important topics that are deep, that can’t be read cover to cover in a week like Caste. I may need to take it all in slowly, think, and understand. Some books are not meant to be rushed.
I know having a challenge pushes you to read more, keeps you motivated, and add a bit of structure to your reading. I’ve always been a reader since a very young age and I know I am going to continue tugging a book where ever I go. I don’t need the challenge to drive me.
I don’t want to make reading like a homework assignment in my school years. Reading is a good habit that I want to do purely out of enjoyment.
I don’t want to feel compelled to read just to finish a challenge.
My reading goal this year is to read good books and cherish them. And do it without feeling guilty about not reading and pressurizing myself. And I will make that happen by not doing the Goodreads reading challenge. I am taking back the control in my own hands and feel empowered by this choice. This is my first step towards a slow, intentional life, this year.