Challenges – Stretch Your Goals

I’m always up for a challenge. That kind of external expectation drives me forward. (Read The Four Tendencies for the description of the Obliger type individual.)

So, I typically do the Goodreads Annual Challenge, which is where you select the number of books you’d like to read in the course of a year. I’ve been participating since 2013. In seven years, I’ve only missed my book goal three times. And most were at least a “B” effort (80% or better).

Goodreads will calculate how close you are to meeting your goal, but you have to update your (now) Reading and Read lists to capture the data. That has been a fun one. For 2020, my goal was 52 (averages a book a week), and I have already hit 74 completed books. Nothing like a pandemic Stay at Home Order to increase the reading time. But I usually enjoy reading, and it is far more entertaining than the substandard fare they show on Netflix.

*For the record, we cancelled our 14 year subscription to Netflix in February 2020. JUST before lockdown. So I’m not doing Netflix for purely practical reasons. Turns out I don’t really need to know about people who kill exotic species like tigers. And I probably don’t need another Ted Bundy documentary.

Photo by Maria Orlova on

I am going to set another book goal for 2021 on Goodreads. At least 52, but let’s keep it reachable–especially if we’re allowed to go outside in 2021. And travel. But travel is good for reading, especially in airports and on airplanes. Trains. Passenger seats in the automobile. (Cancel that– car sickness–do Audible instead.)

I think I’ll set it for 60 books. A little stretching for the goal itself, but definitely something I can do. Especially if I add in a few kids books like the I Survived series.

Meanwhile, I’ve started a two week focused challenge on ONE book, and getting it read. I’ve done this once before with Man’s Search for Meaning by Dr. Viktor Frankl. If I hadn’t had the Two Week reading challenge, I probably would not have pushed through the second half of the book, which was the more science-y logotherapy discussion.

I like winning a challenge.

Today I started the Ready, Set, Read Challenge on the Waybetter App. (Do you remember my RunBet posts? Waybetter is the App maker, and now does running challenges on the same App.) The Reading challenge is free. Some of the other challenges are fairly inexpensive, and you win back your money if you complete the challenge. Not to mention others who play forfeit their “bet” if they don’t finish, and you collect a portion of their, well, for lack of a better word, shame money. Which is why I REALLY like to win the challenges I sign up for!

The book I’ll be reading in the next two weeks is High Performance Habits by Brendon Burchard. It’s the kind of nonfiction book I don’t usually finish, unless it’s really really relevant and insightful (like James Clear’s Atomic Habits – highly recommended!!)

Since I don’t have any money on the line for this book, I am going to read it to see if it gives me any insights into better habits for 2021. If you have a system, good habits, and a target goal, you can get to that goal. And feel great while you’re going there.

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