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2019 Reading Challenge and Goals

Friday, January 18, 2019

There’s a lot I want to do this year. And that means I might not have as much time for reading. It also means that I don’t want to feel like I’m forcing myself to read just to meet a “challenge” if reading isn’t want I want/need to be doing at the moment. So I’m rolling back the challenge to 2014 levels! (That was the first year I participated in Goodreads’ annual challenge/tracking.)

2019 Challenge by the Numbers
In previous years, I’ve challenged myself by increasing the number of books I read year-over-year. This year, because I’m planning to take some kind of online course each month or so (I just started a course on Mindfulness on Coursera this week, in fact) as well as get back into teaching online—here on the blog, on YouTube, or on SkillShare—I need to be wise about my time and what I’m doing with it.

Considering that we’re finishing out the third week of the year and I’ve finished one book and am about halfway through another, I’m pretty much on track to average about one finished reading per week. Now, because I don’t limit this to full-length (50k+ words) books, reading at least one title per week is doable, as some of those will be short stories, novellas, and (possibly) long-form blog-post series.

2019 Challenge by the Clock
One of my biggest challenges over the past several years, now that I work remotely (from home, but employed full time by a university), is sticking to a regular schedule. I’ve gotten really lax about staying up late and then struggling the next day when I’m sitting at the computer editing for my scheduled eight hours. (It’s really not easy—or good—to edit tired!) One of my biggest goals in my Master Plan for 2019 is to develop the habit of sticking to a daily schedule, from what time I wake up and get up in the morning to what time I turn the bedside lamp off at night. And one of the most important things I’m including in that schedule is 30-45 minutes of daily reading:

Yes, you’re seeing that right—I built in a fifteen-minute “just one more page” buffer at the end of the reading time. 🙂 As with everything else I’m doing until it all becomes habit, I’m setting a timer, just to make sure I don’t stay up too late if I get caught up in the story.

2019 Challenge by the—
Actually, that’s it. Read 50 titles and read for at least 30 minutes every night before sleeping. I do have a page in my journal on which I’ve listed a bunch of suggested titles that go along with several of my Master Plan categories and the idea of trying to do a one-author A to Z challenge (but that’s not a goal, just something I might do):

And just about the only thing I’m going to make myself stick to on this page is to re-read my own published and unpublished writing as a way of recapturing my storytelling joy. But that’s part of another goal that I’ll write about in another post!

What’s your reading goal(s)/challenge(s) for 2019?
If you’ve set a goal on GoodReads, please share the link to your challenge in the comments!

  1. Saturday, January 19, 2019 7:57 am

    I like your plan. I just listened to a short podcast yesterday on time blocking (as opposed to multi-tasking). One of my two major to-dos for this weekend is to read a little more on the time blocking concept and incorporate it into my planner for a few weeks to see how it works for me. My two biggest variables in time blocking are traffic-very unpredictable, and my fatigue level-related to chronic poor sleeping (that’s thankfully improving as I improve my nutrition). I will likely read more books than my goal this year because I’m reading a lot of picture books and early readers as part of my plan for my writing this year.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Saturday, January 19, 2019 2:34 pm

      I’m toying with reading the book about the actual bullet journal method (by Ryder Carroll) that started the whole craze, even though what I’m doing is “plannering” not “journaling.” (In fact, since the Clarksville library didn’t have the ebook, I went ahead and recommended it—which means that I’ll automatically receive it as a loan if they decide to purchase it.)

      And I get ya on the poor sleeping habits. I’m sure mine also has a lot to do with nutrition and physical activity as well. Plus, the fact that I get severe sinus migraines every time the weather changes doesn’t help (have one coming on today, since we’re in the process of changing from upper-50s and rainy to mid-20s and snowing just any minute now).

      What I’m trying this week is time-blocking my work-day hours: Tai Chi (video) when I get up, breakfast and first block of work, break for a 15-minute declutter, second work block, break for another 15-minute declutter and to fix lunch, third work block, 15-minute declutter or other task, and final work block. But then I’m not actually scheduling my evenings, except for when I have events/appointments elsewhere. What I am focusing on is my personal to-do list, built from my master plan—picking a few MP categories each week to focus on and to do/complete tasks in.

      (I may blog about this next week, too, with images once I see how it’s going.)


  2. Dora Wagner permalink
    Saturday, January 19, 2019 10:18 am

    I have a Goodreads challenge of 100 books this year. Most of my reading is done through audio books. However, I would like to set aside some actual reading for pleasure time. I have gone back to school to get my teaching license and so there is some actual reading time for class, but I want to read about 1.5 hours per week for pleasure of the written word.

    One of my Goodreads challenges is also to read the monthly Christian Fiction Monthly read. Hopefully, I will already own these titles in audio or can find them through my library.

    Once, my work schedule is completely fixed, I will be able to formulate a plan for bedtime and awakening that can aid me in creating a concrete daily schedule.

    More updates, as the time progresses.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Saturday, January 19, 2019 2:38 pm

      Hi, Dora! Happy New Year and happy back-to-school! Good for you, and you can definitely count on me as a cheerleader or a shoulder to cry on when things get tough. I know what it’s like going back to school as an adult learner, so I’m here for you!

      I’m impressed by your decision to continue to make reading for pleasure (and relaxation) a priority. Even though I didn’t set out purposely to do it, I ended up reading and writing for pleasure more when I was going to school and working full time than I’d been doing before (or since). It’s definitely a good escape and mental reset!


  3. Sherrinda permalink
    Saturday, January 19, 2019 10:35 am

    I like your plan and how you organized your books. I didn’t meet my goodreads challenge last year, so I lowered my book goal to 24. Two a month. I’m going to beat that goal, as I have decided to schedule reading time into every day, but I would rather beat the challenge than not meet it. I’ve read three books this month so far. Two fiction and one non-fiction.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Saturday, January 19, 2019 2:43 pm

      Isn’t it sad that, as kids, we read every spare minute of every day . . . and now as adults, we’re having to schedule time to read? I know, responsibilities and all that. But still…sigh.

      I read a lot more nonfiction last year than I thought I had, once I looked at my numbers—mostly history stuff. This year, I’d like to try to branch out in both fiction and nonfiction. But I’m not going to force myself into committing to anything other than the overall number and the daily reading time. Right now, I have two fiction books (historical romance and SF/future-dystopia romance) and one nonfiction (Terry Pratchet’s collected articles/essays on writing) going. I’m at a great point right now at which I’m not sure what book I want to read when I get in the bed—not because of disinterest, but because I’m really invested in all three of them. Which is fabulous, considering the reading funk I was in the last half of last year!


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