For years, my Goodreads reading challenges have been set to goals like 100, 80, 50 books (depending on how much I had going on that year). In 2019, my challenge is set to 25 books. And for the first time in my adult life, I don’t feel bad about it at all.
In the past, when I felt like watching a movie, listening to a podcast, binge-watching a TV show, or reading a bunch of blog posts, I ignored my feelings and picked up the book I was currently reading — even if I wasn’t enjoying it. Mostly because of the gold star I felt like I was receiving when I completed my reading challenge with an impressive number of books read. But I have since realized — and accepted — that it doesn’t matter how many books you read, as long as the books you do read add value to your life.
When I read 100 books in a year and people asked me in December what one of my January reads was like, I could often not remember most of the plot, or whether I even liked the book. When I wasn’t enjoying a book, I skim-read it until the end so there would be another number added to my reading challenge totals.
Now that I don’t have to rush through a book in order to start the next one, I can take more time for my current read. I can put it down for a few minutes to think about what I’ve just read, without feeling like I’m in a hurry. I can take it slow and actually remember the plot of a book I read a year ago, because I read more mindfully. I read better books now that I have to carefully pick out which 25 books I’ll be reading. I no longer feel guilty when I consume a different type of media.
Read fewer books, but read them better. Take your time. Consume the media you want to consume, without guilt. Spend your precious time on things that add value to your life.