Why I Cut My Goodreads Challenge In Half // 2021 is a new year of reading differently

POV: In a sea of internet people who read 100s of books per year, you have finally stumbled upon me, who recently forced myself to read 50 books over the past two years.  

Don’t get me wrong, 50 books in one year is still a lot! I’m giving myself a pat on the back as we speak. But as I was asked to input a new Goodreads challenge for 2021, I decided to lower my standards by a lot, and I went for it. 

I only signed up to read 25 books this year. 


Accidental Peer Pressure

When I first started blogging, one of the most surprising things I found was that some people here (and actually, quite a lot of people in the community) read more than 10 YA books per year. 

I was shocked, for some reason. There I was, fresh out of high school and believing that I read “a lot” of books, but in reality, I hadn’t even fathomed the massive levels this community was at to read 75-150 books per year. Compared to my in-real-life peers, I was an avid reader, but here, I felt very behind. 

an old joke but it still applies :’)

In the first few months of my Starry Sky Books Goodreads account, I managed to read almost 20 books, and I ended 2018 with 28 books on my challenge. That was a miracle for me, but it also made me feel great. I really could do anything if I put my mind to it. 

No one was telling me I needed to read more, but I could feel it in my bones. Every day, it seemed like new books were popping up on my radar, and if I didn’t read them soon, I would start to get even farther “behind” in book blogger culture. 

But now that I’ve been gone from the internet for months… I can tell you that “being behind” doesn’t really matter to me anymore. *shrugs* At least, it wasn’t the amount of books that caused an issue. 

I’ve recently discovered that some of my blogging burn out comes from the pressure I put on myself to read new books all of the time. And for what? I’m missing out on some great older books by doing that!

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Self-Motivation and Goals 

In theory, telling myself that I would like to reach the goal of 25 books this year should help my relationship with books a bit. I didn’t quit the challenge all together, though, because I knew I would definitely be able to reach 25.

According to the past two years of Goodreads challenges, around 20 of the books I completed each year were books I read for university classes… meaning that only about 30 of the other completed books were for leisure. 

me drowning in school books

With that in mind, 25 books in 2021 should be a breeze for me. While I love doing easy things, it’s also more important for me to set goals which are well within my reach. As I’ve noticed in my past, setting realistic goals really helps with my motivation! So far, I’m already 2 books ahead of scheduled, and that makes me feel great! It’s all about feeling accomplished, people. 😌

Though I won’t ever be taking that amount of English Literature classes again (I over-worked myself by almost completing my university major too early haha), I’m sure I will still have to read a few books in some classes this year. 

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Over-Achievement? 

Look, the real reason why I made the number so low by my own standards is because I want to feel like I will be achieving the goal early. And let’s face it – I need all the motivation I can get.

Lately I’ve been feeling like I tend to force myself to do things I used to find fun, like blogging and posting on bookstagram. These things are supposed to be fun, so why am I so hesitant to do them? 

me after a long day of university

I think it all comes down to how I see things. If I give myself little goals (such as 25 books per year instead of 50), it will help me feel like I’m doing a great job. Because in reality, reading any amount of books is already great. And I just have to let myself see that. 


In the end, I’ll probably end up reading the same amount of books as last year. But at least I’ll feel more accomplished while doing it. 

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netflix and books-33

Well, I hope this post made some sense to you. 😅 Do you agree with any of my points? Did you set a Goodreads challenge this year? How many books did you used to read every year before you joined the community?

(Also… Hello! What have you been up to lately? Feel free to send me your recent posts so I can catch up with you!) 

Chat with me about it!


You can also be my friend on social media!

Happy reading! Have a lovely day! Please stay safe!

Starry Sky Books-13

53 thoughts on “Why I Cut My Goodreads Challenge In Half // 2021 is a new year of reading differently

  1. Nice post Xandra, I agree with every point you made 😅 I feel like I might have to push my challenge down a bit this year too. I’ve never tracked my reading on Goodreads before this year, so I just set it to 100 thinking its how much I usually read. Haha apparently not 😆 Two months in I’ve only got about 12 books I think 😅 The accidental peer pressure is very true, I feel like I should be pushing myself to read so much more since everyone I see online is reading 150 books a year 🥲 Thanks for making this post, it gave words to things that happen in the book blogging community and don’t really get talked about 😊

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you, Cherry! I’m glad you agree 😅 I didn’t used to track my books until I joined the book community, and sometimes I do feel self conscious about the amount of books I read, even when it was 50 books a year! So far I’ve read about 5 this year, but it’s okay because I’m ahead on the challenge! 😂 I’m glad you enjoyed the post!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Great post! I agree, the difference between what’s considered as a lot of books IRL/in the bookish community is definitely something that surprised me at first. You’re absolutely right, the most important is to find our own balance (I know I’ll read many books for a few weeks and then nothing for a month for some reason XD).

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  3. All great points! At the end of the day, we have to do what works best for us. I’m glad that’s what you’re doing! I didn’t track my reading nearly as much as I do now after joining the online book community. I read a lot last year mostly to help destress from what was going on in the world. Now, it DOES feel like added pressure to read more and read new things as you mentioned in your post. Additionally, I’ve started to question if I am giving myself enough time to really appreciate the books I’ve been reading. I appreciated this post a lot! Thank you so much for sharing.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you! I agree, we should just do whatever we feel is best. I never used to track my reading, either, but now I kind of enjoy seeing all the books I’ve read in one place (though I do not like that it feels like a numbers competition, haha). I also feel as though I often don’t give books enough time to appreciate the writing, and I would much rather take my time! Thank you so much for reading!

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  4. I love this post! I think it’s so easy for us as readers to get lost in the whole “have to read as much as I can” mindset, which can take away from our enjoyment of reading than if we took the time to step back and remember that reading is a hobby and not a race! I’m definitely in the same boat – I decreased mine to 52 and am very excited to (hopefully!) hit that goal earlier rather than scraping by at the last minute, haha! Loved reading your thoughts on this! ♥

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much, Erin! ♥ I agree, it’s very easy to lose sight of what really makes us readers, which is just to enjoy books, no matter the amount. It’s definitely not supposed to be a race, although it often feels as though it is! I’m glad your new goal seems more attainable for you! Happy reading, and good luck!

      Liked by 2 people

  5. This is such a great post!! I personally set my reading challenge to one book 😂. I used to set it to 30 books or more but it was just too stressful and I would put way too much pressure on myself to read as many books as I could. So now I just read when I feel like it and it’s great! Do whatever works best for you! At the end of the day, the most important thing is to read the books that you want to read. Thank you so much for sharing this!!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I LOVE this post and I can totally relate! There is this weird peer pressure with other people reading so much faster but I’ve had to also be kinder to myself and realise that I should be reading to enjoy myself – not only to be reaching that goal and feeling good just because I’ve finished a book. Love this ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  7. ahh xandra i completely relate with this!! i feel like last year i kept my goal at 100 books, and though i managed to reach it, it was very stressed, and i wasn’t reading because i wanted to, but because i wanted to crush that goal! this year, however, i decided to keep it at half of what i set last year, and it’s so much easier!! seeing that i’m ahead of schedule also makes me feel better about myself, so i 100% agree with everything you mentioned!! 💖

    Liked by 3 people

  8. I loved reading this post!! As someone who can never get enough reading material and almost never able to read new releases, I can relate to this so much!! I consider myself a bookworm but I think being a bookworm has nothing to do with the number of books I’ve read but how much I enjoy reading them, and there’s nothing to feel bad about not reading a book everyone else has. Thank you so much for this post!!!😊💕

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I love this post and I get where you come from. There is a certain pressure to read all the books because you just see all those new releases and you wanna stay on top but also your tbr is so high and…
    I think we are all much to suseptible to peer pressure. I guess it has to do with evolution but also all the media we are exposed to. I’m trying to remember how that was when I was a kid, when I got all my books from the library. I didn’t give a care about what books were new. (Besides a few special ones like Harry Potter or Percy Jackson or Inkheart.) I was just reading what was there. But I have to admit that while setting a goal can be full of pressure I also want to challenge myself and if the challenge helps to keep me reading instead of hanging on my phone or gaming all the time, then I think it’s not so bad.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much for enjoying this post! I definitely think it has something to do with the media we’re exposed to, and with the people we’re surrounded by. I never used to care about reading new books either, until I joined this community. It can be nice to challenge ourselves, but reading should never feel like a chore! I agree with all of your points.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Great post, Xandra! I couldn’t remember how many books I read a year before blogging, but I do know that after, the number of books I read increased a lot and it’s also partly because I experienced the pressure of reading more like you did. I lowered my goal this year too and at this point I’m already struggling to meet it, so I might lower it even more 😂

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  11. While I do easily read more, especially because I read a ton of adult romance which are easy to breeze through in a day, keeping the number high does still put pressure on me. Me being me, I like to actually CROSS the goal, not just reach it. This year, I decided to ease the pressure too. I started with a goal of 10 books with the idea that I’ll increase by 10 every time I reach my goal. So 10, then 20 then 30. This makes it so I only read if I want to. And I’ll stop increasing in December, of course.

    Hope your reading experience is much better this year!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. These are great points! My goal is still high, but it’s no longer a stretch goal for me. The Goodreads goal for me was fun when I was getting back into reading, but now that it’s such a big part of my life I’d rather just focus that energy on different types of reading goals. I also want to read a little less in general so get rid of my overwhelm of wanting to read everything right this second, but I have a feeling I’ll be reading the same amount as last year too 😅

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  13. I think blogger burnout is almost always about the pressure we put on ourselves about various things — how many books to read, what books to read, reading challenges and goals, events, how many posts to put out a week, etc. I think the most important thing when one starts feeling the burn is to step back and remember what made reading fun and just do that! It’s easy to feel peer pressure as a blogger and want to ‘keep up’ with everyone else–I find myself falling into that a lot. Everyone reads at their own pace. I’ve read anywhere from 10 books a year to 200 books a year–you just have to do what feels comfortable for yourself! I hope that you’ll feel a lot better now that you’re not putting so much pressure on yourself and you can go forward without feeling as burdened by such a high goal.

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  14. Good post. Reading is supposed to be fun and personal, and it definitely gets weird if it becomes competitive. I set my goodreads goal to 104, which is two books a week. I hit that very easily. My secret? I read a graphic novel or two and audiobooks as well. Really pumps the numbers up!

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  15. I remember that exact feeling when I first started joining online book communities. There was me feeling cool for reading 30 books in a year, only to see people reading 130. Even when people are saying that it’s okay to read at your own pace, I understand that feeling that you have to push yourself to read more books just to “belong” in bookish communities. If it makes you feel any better, I work with people who are literal booksellers who finish maybe one or two books a month.

    I think doing whatever works for you to make reading enjoyable is important, and if that means cutting your goodreads goal in half to create a sense of achievement when you hit it, then that’s amazing!

    Like

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