I’ve been doing reading challenges for some years now. Every January I set out on a mission to read a said number of books and see how easily I can achieve that goal. For most years I’ve done pretty well, doing twenty to twenty-five books has been achievable. Back then I used to read mostly fiction, in some years I hardly picked up any non-fiction book at all.
In the past two years or so I’ve become an avid non-fiction reader – business, self-help, inspirational, motivational and very few biographies. It’s not just my choice of a genre that has taken a shift but also the number of books I’m able to read in a year.
Last year I set out on a mission to read 100 books and unfortunately got to forty-five. I squeezed in reading in between work, kids and socializing. I challenged myself again this January and aimed for 100 and while I was doing well at the beginning, I’ve slowed down significantly. I don’t even know which number I’m on now, twenty-something, I think.
I’ve learned that there are different ways to read books, especially non-fiction ones I mentioned above. You can either go throw it as you would a novel and hope to remember its key points and lessons (good luck with that) or you can use it for its intended purpose – to guide, teach, inspire or motivate. I’ve learned that the whole point of picking up these books is to extract as much of the good stuff as possible and put them to action.
Execution! Execution! Why else would I go through so many helpful books just to claim I have read them? That’s what ends up happening – I will have a list of all these excellent, recommended and highly books on my Read List but not remember much from them. Forgetting what the books were about means I have no way of applying what I learned and so it all becomes pointless.
So, I have canceled the reading challenge. I will probably set up a fiction one where I aim for less, review the books and share recommendations but for the business, self-help, etc. I will have to take time to milk them.
I hardly ever feel like reading is a chore but when I’m reading to reach a target of 100 then it becomes exhausting. Reading block is real. I don’t think 100 is unrealistic but if you have a different goal to why you’re reading then it will affect how many books you get to read. Reading for leisure definitely works, you can kill that marathon but I have a different goal to achieve using goals so it won’t work.
I’ve read a lot and now it’s time to put the words into my grind. I hope you do the same.