2018 has been a year of reckoning for me — in every aspect of my life. I've been more introspective than ever, figuring out what I want to accomplish in the new year, and what I most want to spend my limited time and energy on. Even though I'm still in the early stages of this process, one thing has become abundantly clear: I won't be making any specific reading goals for 2019.
My fellow readers, I know this may come as something of a shock. I have long been a fan of lit-based goals, rallying behind the benefits of a Yearly Reading Challenge and starting every year off with a long list of reading goals and TBR lists. But as early as 2017 I began to realize that goals and challenges had become so ingrained in my literary life that it was negatively impacting my joy in reading. And even though I started 2018 knowing this, I still made the goal of having a "good" reading year — one in which I envisioned myself reading a ton, loving everything I read, and keeping up with the literary Joneses to boot. Spoiler alert: it didn't work out that way at all.
2018 might have been my year of reckoning, but it was also the year of my first ever reading identity crisis. Halfway through the year I found that I had been reading fewer books than ever, I was enjoying the books I was reading far less, and I was generally feeling as if I wasn't reading the "right" way or reading the "right" kind of books. So all of those goals I'd made at the beginning of the year — read 52 books, read mostly new releases, read different genres — became a chain around my neck, rather than a source of motivation. I started to wonder whether I even liked reading anymore.
I acknowledge that some people find that goals and challenges make reading more fun. But for me, goals simply haven't worked. And if you have felt anything like me at any point this year, it might be time to disregard yearly reading goals altogether in 2019.
Of course, I still intend to make reading a priority in my life next year, but instead of giving myself any goals to reach I'm just... going to read. I'm going to read books that interest me, regardless of genre, age-group, or the year it was published. I'm going to set aside intentional time to read and be more mindful about my reading life in general. And I'm definitely going to stop feeling guilty about the number of books I read, so that I can choose to put down a book I'm not enjoying rather than force myself to finish it to reach an arbitrary numbered goal. I think that making no goals at all will truly be the key to having that elusive "good" reading year I've been envisioning — and it might just be the same for you, too.