Tis’ the season for looking back.
As we make our way through the last week of 2020, many of us are making New Years resolutions, reviewing the year gone by, and charting course for where to go from this point forward.
With that said, I’d like to look back too, at one thing in particular: my 2020 reading goals.
So, how’d I do?
Not great guys, not great.
My goal was to read 50 books this year, and I didn’t reach it.
I didn’t even come close.
I chose to go for 50 books because I wanted to stretch myself. But alas, I am not Stretch Armstrong…more like Stiff Armstrong.
In a surprising turn of events, I finished even less books than I had for each of the previous two years.
My plan was to read 4 books each month, but by the end of February, I’d only finished 3. As I headed into March, I was already off course by 5 books.
Once I fell behind, I would have needed to read 4.7 books per month to reach the goal. Since I read like a tortoise, that wasn’t quite so easy to imagine.
How I Got Off To Such a Bad Start
(*cough, cough* excuses ahead)
My first read of the year A Brightness Long Ago caused a significant delay. I thought I’d finish it in two weeks. It took six. If I had a crystal ball (or a DeLorean), I would have started with something more accessible.
I followed that up with Hidden, which I wasn’t into but decided to finish anyway. This caused further delays.
After that, I encountered a few more school-zones in my reading. But, I finally started to find my groove around April, when I read my first gem of the year: Well-Read Black Girl: Finding Our Stories, Discovering Ourselves.
My reading rate seemed to improve from there, but not nearly enough for me to catch up.
Meanwhile, COVID-19 Struts In
In March, after the world went haywire, I lost my reading mojo for a bit. I didn’t even want to look at a book.
During that time, I kept to my regular routine, and worked my regular schedule for all but 10 days of the year.
Okay, 20, if you factor in vacation time.
The point is that I did not experience down-time caused by shut-downs, so I wasn’t able to bolster my reading that way.
I didn’t account for that time when I made my goals, so it probably shouldn’t factor in. But, I think it’s relevant because others we able to use their shut-down down-time to read loads this year.
Even without COVID-19, I can’t say with any certainty that I would have reached my goal. But I believe I would have gotten a helluva lot closer.
A Few Small Successes
It wasn’t all bad though.
In my original post, I talked about finding more time to read by better utilizing my weekend free-time.
I actually did this for a small chunk of the year: 2 hours on Saturdays and 2 hours on Sundays (in addition to whatever I read during weekdays). It helped a lot.
I also kept a Reading Log for a while. In it, I set goals, kept track of reading dates, and charted the amount of pages I read. This was beneficial but eventually fell by the wayside.
So, How Many Books Did I Read This Year?
I made it through 20 books.
Considering everything that’s happened in 2020, 20 books is fine by me.
I Learned Something Though
I learned: do not set numeric reading goals.
Personally speaking, focusing on numbers puts emphasis on the wrong metric and makes me anxious. It hones in on the number itself, which makes me feel pressured. That pressure, in turn, blunts my enjoyment, which makes reading a chore, thus killing my desire to read.
Take THAT Bembridge Scholars!
I’d rather have the enjoyment or the experience as the primary focus, not the numbers.
Though I’ll concede that it’s possible to have both. In which case, I haven’t figured out how to accomplish that, yet.
So, What Does 2021 Hold?
I’m figuring that out as we speak.
But I do know one thing for sure: I’ll keep you in the loop.
All the Best,
P.S. Tell me about your 2020 reading goals. How’d they go? Did you accomplish what you set out to do? Fill me in.