A Flaw in My Reading Goal

So the other day I came across a problem the other day. A problem with my reading goal. My past approach to books has been to read into them a bit and then decide if I was going to finish them or not. If I wasn’t loving the book, I’d set it aside and move on to the next novel. This is one of the main reasons that my ratings for books were as high as they were. I’d only rate a book I finished, and I’d only finish a book I liked.

But this year my goal is to read more books. One a week, specifically. And I’ve figured I can get that done by reading 14% of a book each day, give or take. It’s been a stretch for me to find the time to do that, and I’ve definitely had to work so far to get it done. (Although I managed to finish 6 books in January, so I have a bit of a cushion now, which makes me feel much better about things.)

The thing is, this goal doesn’t give me the leeway to just give up on a book 14% or 28% in. If I set a book aside, then I’m also setting aside all of the effort I made of reading that book. I’m supposed to be 70% of the way through a book by Thursday night, but if I set one aside on Tuesday, then I have to really read a ton to be able to make up the lost progress.

So the other day I gave my first 2/10 rating to a book in a long time. A very long time. Because I finished a book I had no desire to read. I’d enjoyed it a bit at the beginning. (It was a sequel to a book I really liked.) But by halfway through, I knew where it was going and I had no desire to go there. I knew it was setting up a third book, and that it was going to cliffhanger, and I already knew there was no way I was going to want to read the third book, so why even bother?

But I was 40% of the way through the book, and I didn’t have time to turn to a different book, so I finished it. It wasn’t fun. On the other hand, it only took me a few days to finish it, since I still had the goal.

In the end, I think the goal still works. I’ll still be reading much more than I was without it, and that’s great. And I think I’ll enjoy many more books. Now and then there will be a bad apple, but as long as I’m careful with what I select, I should be okay.

But I’m not telling you what book it was. Sorry.

If it proves too problematic, I’ll have to change the goal. I could give myself partial credit for a book, I suppose, but I’d really rather not. I want to read entire novels, not a patchwork of pieces. Cross your fingers that it all works out.

How do you motivate yourself to keep doing something you love, despite not having time to do it?

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