Ch-Ch-Changes: Getting Rid of the 2016 Reading Goals Count

The New Year is here, which means people are making tons of resolutions, including choosing how many books they want to read for their 2016 reading goals.

2016 Reading Goals Reading Challenge

I adore reading challenges, yet lately I’ve realized that I’ve been failing at many. I almost failed my Goodreads challenge of 50 books this year, and that really bummed me out. Reading fifty books wasn’t even a challenge for me a few years ago, but due to more responsibility now, it’s a struggle.

And I’m not the only one facing this. I’ve noticed several people stating that they’ve failed their challenges, and in the end, lost the desire to read at all. A challenge should, obviously, challenge you, but it should also be fun. People are losing the joy of reading because they’re too busy competing with themselves or others, and that’s tragic.

As Ray Bradbury says, “There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.”

Ray Bradbury Quote Reading Challenge 2016 Reading Goals

I started thinking about the New Year and what my reading goal would be and I decided to set a very loose goal and ditch counting how many books I’ve read.

I decided my primary target for my 2016 reading goals would be to read larger tomes I’ve ditched in order to meet my challenges the last few years. I wanted to write predominately on that but then realized that my goal isn’t necessarily one that sounds appealing to others.

Instead, I’ve created a quick list to help you choose easier 2016 reading goals, and help keep reading fun and not a chore.

5 Ways to Set Easy-to-Manage 2016 Reading Goals

1. Read Larger Tomes You’ve Avoided in Order to Meet Your Previous Goals

As I’ve said, this is my primary goal for the upcoming year. About 5+ years ago, I could easily reach my goal and quickly read several larger books. However, that just isn’t the case anymore. Part of that is being busy and part of that is due to depression (read my post on that here).

This led me to the decision not to set an arbitrary number or follow a premade guide. Instead, I resolved to read several larger tomes that I’ve put off for XYZ reasons. Some aren’t necessarily gigantic, but they are rather hefty reads.

I desperately want to set a number goal for this, but I need to stay strong – that’s what I’m trying to avoid this year.

2. Read the Books You Should’ve Read but Never Did in High School

Whether you were homeschooled, went to a school that didn’t follow typical school reading outlines, or ignored certain books, this is for you. High school reading lists vary so there is always something awesome to choose from whether it is 1984, The Crucible, a Shakespeare play, or Lord of the Flies – try it!

In fact, Common Room’s wonderful founder Hadas is planning to do a “Books I Should’ve Read in School” challenge.

High School Books Reading Challenge 2016 Reading Goals

3. Read a Book or Two Out of Your Comfort Zone

We all have a reading comfort zone. Mine is fantasy or fantasy/sci-fi. I adore those books and tend to reread a lot of them. Lately, however, I’ve been attempting to read outside my comfort zone and I’ve found a few really great reads.

For instance, I never used to be big into mysteries and then one day I decided to try Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None and I fell in love. I also picked up a few Chuck Palahniuk books and found I really enjoy his writing style.

You never know what you’ll discover when you step out of your comfort zone so try to at least once this year.

4. Ask a Friend for a Recommendation

This can be an easy way to step out of your reading comfort zone or it might help you find another favorite in your preferred genre. If you’re at an impasse on what to read next, text your friend and get a suggestion.

If you happen to ask someone like me, get ready to have a huge list. In fact, if you ask someone like me, (my book rec lists are usually gigantic), ask for 5 books at most.

Crowley Book Recs 2016 Reading Goals

5. Follow Book Blogs and Book Bloggers

If you’re looking for specific books to meet something special you’re wanting, make sure to follow a few book blogs. We review a lot of books here at Common Room, so keep an eye out for our reviews!

Book blogs can also give you wonderful suggestions for a reading challenge if you want to branch out. See Book Riot’s Read Harder challenge. Book Riot is an awesome book blog site that can help introduce you to quite the range of different books to read.

Lydia Circle BG Label

Are you ready to read for fun this year? I know I sure am!

Do YOU have any reading challenge plans?

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  • I love this. I didn’t meet my Goodreads goal of 30 books last year. I already feel it’s low compared to others and then felt even more guilty that I couldn’t do that!

    I also failed at the Read Harder challenge but I did read a few selections that I normally wouldn’t have due to that challenge – so I see that as a success.

    I would like to hit 30 this year, but I really like the notion of pushing myself more. Would love to hear what ideas you and Hadas have. I love suggestions. The best part about being in a book club (other than new friends) is expanding my reading comfort zone. It’s fabulous.

    • I’m definitely willing to offer suggestions! What are you looking for, specifically?

      • I like the longer tome idea. Along with books missed in high school college. I am also thinking of focusing on Gaiman this year. I’ve only read part one of Sandman and Good Omens. Stardust is obviously at the top of that but not sure on others (other than more Sandman) because he has so many.

      • A few of the larger books I’m planning on are The Once and Future King, Doctor Zhivago (not necessarily large, but quite hefty), rereading Les Mis, etc.

        Focusing on Gaiman is great! I love Stardust, but some others to try are Neverwhere, The Graveyard Book, Trigger Warning, and The Ocean and the End of the Lane.

      • Thanks for the recommendations. I read Middlemarch a few years back and some Austen books I hadn’t read for the same reason.

        I have two of the Gaiman books you suggested already so I will start there and get the other two in the future!

        I love giving recommendations as well if you are ever looking for something new. :)

      • I always love hearing book recs. I’m constantly adding to my TBR list with no regret – so anything you want to suggest, go for it!

      • I highly recommend Middlemarch for a long tome. And two things maybe missed in school – The Picture of Dorian Gray (I read this last year) and the short story The Birthmark by Nathanial Hawthorne. And recent novels I would suggest Station Eleven and All The Light We Cannot See. All great stuff.

      • I’ll mark down Middlemarch, The Birthmakr, and All the Light We Cannot See! Have Station Eleven on my list already, and I’ve read Dorian Gray (loved it). Thanks!

      • You are most welcome! Let me know what you think of them!

        I added your suggestions to my TBR as well. I need to update my spreadsheet.

  • B.

    This is why I keep my GoodReads goal at a low number. I use to pick 50 and never even got close. Last year I went with 15 and passed it by a few. This year my goal is 20 which I feel is pretty “easy.” Reading should never feel like work!

    • Exactly! A lot of people look at their reading goals and if it is lower than 50, they feel like they aren’t truly “bookworms” which is incredibly untrue. Good luck on your challenge for the year! Would love to hear which books you come across throughout 2016.

  • Lyly D

    My yearly read is severely shrunken this year. Seriously, 12 is my goal because I didn’t even come close to my goal for this year. I am setting it low so that I can 1) meet it and 2) when I exceed it I will feel REALLY good!

    • Exceeding your goal always feels amazing!

  • My goal this year is to try to get as many book of my “to be read” list as I can. I’d like to hit at least 7 but if it’s less it’s not biggie. All that really matters to me is that I’m reading & I’m enjoying it!

    • That sounds like a great goal! I need to focus on that too.

  • I’ve stop following the GoodReads reading goal count the other year (though it hasn’t stopped me from just adding a number at the end of the year *shhhh, don’t tell anyone* ;)), opting instead to just read without deadlines, pressure, or stress over my massive TBR pile. Hence I’ve also slowly stopped asking for ARCs and signing up for book blog tours and reading challenges too.

    Haha, I’m the same when it comes to book recommendations; if someone asks me for recommendations, I give them a whole ton. Plenty to choose from on their part, right? :)

    • Does it feel great to not have those deadlines and pressure? I’m looking forward to the relief, though I am a bit stressed because I’m not setting a number goal like usual. I love routine, so this is taking a lot of strength! :D

      Agreed! Plenty to choose from.

  • I love this. I had to stop setting reading goals, it just got discouraging when I couldn’t meet them, and it took the joy out of reading for me. I have a GIANT tbr list, but now that I don’t have a number to meet, I just read them because I love reading. There’s always a part of me that wants to set a # goal, but I think it just overwhelms me. But these are great tips to make manageable goals!

    • I keep finding myself itching to set a goal when Goodreads asks – it’s what I’m used to. But, I know that number will bring about stress and making reading this year so hard. I’ll be strong! And enjoy reading again. :)

  • I’m actually entering the world of reading goals / challenges for the first time this year. I’m looking to push myself to read more, since I do have the time to do so, and to read more diversely, so I’ve set my GoodReads reading goal to 40 books and I’m going to attempt the 2016 POPSUGAR Ultimate Reading Challenge.

    Even though I’m doing the opposite of what you’re doing, your post was helpful in highlighting the pitfalls that can arise from setting these goals or participating in these challenges. I’ll be mindful of keeping reading fun. :)

    • That’s exciting! Challenges can be great; good luck on yours!