discussion, readingchallenge, Uncategorized

Does the Goodreads Challenge Stress Us Out?

Goodreads Challenge Banner 2019

It’s that time of year again: resolutions, new goals and reading challenges.

Personally, I love reading challenges, readalongs and readathons of all types. They motivate me to read more, meet new fellow readers, dig the depths of my TBR, and try books I otherwise wouldn’t.

Last year I took part in (at least) a readathon of some sort almost every month. This year I’ve already signed up for several year-long challenges (Beat the Backlist, Retelling Bingo, A Daye A Month and PopSugar) along with setting some solo targets of my own (check them all out here). I’ve also got my eye on plenty of week/month long events such as the Magical Readathon and the two I’ll be hosting: Hamilthon (March) and Mythothon #2 (September).

But seeing so many “2019 Goals” posts go up this month has got me thinking: are we putting too much pressure on ourselves?


I think the Goodreads Challenge is the most obvious offender for this. I saw loads of tweets in December looking for short reads, or fanatically trying to cram in a few more books. I hit my Goodreads goal comfortably last year, and I’ve lowered it even further for 2019 to an even 100 books. But to be honest, it’s not Goodreads which gets to me. With all my readathons etc. I clocked up enough books this year that I didn’t even really pay attention to it.

It’s the shorter challenges where my personal problems lie. I love them, but I also really like ticking things off and marking them as done. It’s why I love bullet journaling so much! And, instead of being selective and setting reasonable goals within a challenge I just want to read all the things! To be honest, there were a few times last year when I was so keen to squeeze more books in, I don’t think I really appreciated what I was reading. And, while I hit my yearly numerical target, I think I played things too safe on a monthly basis: avoiding longer, or more challenging books — even those I’m desperate to read — because I knew they’d slow me down.

So, this year I’ve lowered my Goodreads goal. I’ve also decided to be a lot more selective about the challenges I take part in, and to use them to guide my TBRs instead of controlling them. I’m focusing on the longer challenges and some ‘one a month’ groups to space things out more.

Hopefully this way I’ll be able to pick up what I’m in the mood for a bit more often, remove some completely unnecessary stress and have a really enjoyable reading year.


What do you think about setting yourself reading goals?

Do you do it, and if so what are they?

Do you ever feel pressure to meet your targets?

Let me know.

21 thoughts on “Does the Goodreads Challenge Stress Us Out?”

  1. I like setting reading goals to help me make sure I read all the books I wanted to, but I don’t like reading challenges which are too long! Also, sometimes challenges might ask us to read books from genres I don’t usually read from, and then I don’t feel like completing the challenge because of that. I like the Goodreads challenge because I can read whatever I want!

    Great discussion 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks!
      I tend to avoid challenges that force us to go way too far out of my comfort zone. Either that or I try to get a little creative with how I interpret them 😉
      But you’re absolutely right, the flexibility of GR is probably it’s biggest appeal.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love setting reading goals for myself. It helps to motivate me. This year I signed up for a lot of challenges by accident but I am still excited to try my best with them even though I know I’m most likely not going to be able to complete all of them. It never stresses me out it just gives me that extra bit of motivation.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That sounds like your exactly where I want to be! 😊 That’s the balance I need to find, keeping myself motivated without getting stressed out.
      Good luck with your reading this year!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Mythoton 2!! I’m already excited. And Hamilthon also sounds interesting, I’m curious about the prompts.

    I completely agree with you on wanting to tick things off. My problem is actually with the yearly challenges because my brain doesn’t comprehend I have 12 months to do these and I just want to do them all right now immediately. I also have trouble with the longer reads. 😦 It’s just too much commitment.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I like setting reading goals for myself. My biggest problem is when I set goals that are too structured and I change my mind half-way through the year about what I’m interested in reading. For example, a few years back I participated in the Cat Mystery Reading Challenge, where you read a set number (that you pick) of cozy mysteries featuring cats. I thought I’d be fine, and for a while I was. But then I’d find a cozy I wanted to read, but there was no cat. And by the end of the year I was shredded out about finding a book that would fit the prompt.

    Goodreads, though, is easy for me. Read 75 books of any kind in the year? Easy. Poetry counts. Graphic novels count. Novels, non-fiction, short story compilations all count. It’s so open that I can work on this goal without stressing myself out. Some of the other prompt-based challenges work for me for this reason, too. The PopSugar challenge is one example: I can pick whatever book I want that fits the prompt (however loosely) instead of being stuck in a specific genre.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is my first year doing PopSugar and I’m really liking it so far! All my books this month have fitted into a prompt without really trying so it feels pretty effortless. The challenge will come towards the end of the year no doubt, when the prompts I have left are the ones outside of my comfort zone.
      The overly specific challenge struggle is why I avoided a few year-longs which sounded pretty fun. I like the idea now, but will I still be interested come September? The only quite specific one I went for was Retellings, but I know I read a load of those and there’s plenty of variety of genres etc I can play around with. Cat mysteries sound really cute though. Did you find any really good ones?


      1. I accidentally did PopSugar a couple years ago — in 2016 I found their 2015 list without any indications of whose list it was, so I changed the dates to apply to the then-current year, and played along. It wasn’t until I signed up for the 2019 PopSugar that I realized I’d done their list in the past. 🙂

        I’ve been tempted by some of the specific ones too, but then I looked at my Top TBR list and realized that I wouldn’t be getting to most of those books again this year if I tried too many reading challenges. Since I already did that last year, I decided to give myself a year off.

        The Cat Mysteries was a lot of fun, and I’ll probably consider doing it again next year if they’re still running. I did find some fun ones, like the Mrs. Murphy series (by Rita Mae Brown) and the Magical Bookshop series (Amanda Flower). I also got to read a lot of the Cat Who (Lilian Jackson Braun) books, but those got on my nerves after a while.


  5. I decided on a low goal of 30 last year and i smashed it v early on and had a nice stress free reading year and ended up reading 100. Ill do the same this year and im already a third of the way through, feels good to see goodreads tell me im ahead

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve kind of stopped doing challenges or bingos. I haven’t done the Goodreads challenge ever, because it’s just too confusing to think about how much time I will have. I want to enjoy reading as a hobby, and not feel like it is a chore. I’ve become such a mood reader as well, so bingos just don’t work that well.

    Liked by 1 person

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