Taking the 50 book pledge…yay or nay?

50My last blog post was on setting reading goals. It got me thinking about the whole 50 book pledge thing and whether it is a good idea or not.

For those who aren’t familiar with this: there is a thing (I don’t know whether to call it a movement or what) where you commit to reading 50 books in a year. It is recognized, at least by me, as an accomplishment. Let’s break that down for a second, it’s basically reading one book per week. That is a commitment.

A few years ago, I thought I would take this on. First, I did think it would add to my book nerd street cred. Second, at the time I had some free time on my hands and thought it would be the perfect time to do it.

I’m not going to lie to you: it was hard work.  Not like working in a mine or doing brain surgery or fighting fires hard work. But it was something I definitely had to work at. And there were times where I didn’t think I was going to make it. Not to keep you in suspense, but I did make it and even got past 50 books to a total of 54 books read. Whew.

The good

Priority on reading: it definitely made me choose reading over doing other things. Not like I chose reading over like going to work, or spending time with friends, but I did choose reading over watching the same episode of Big Bang Theory or playing endless games of Candy Crush.

Bragging rights: when I told people that I was planning to read 50 books in a year, they were shocked and impressed. Not gonna lie, that was kind of cool. Some people run marathons, I read 50 books.

Sense of accomplishment: I am actually really proud of doing that. It was a commitment and I got it done. And as silly as it might sound, when I take on trying to do other things I do think back to that and remind myself when I put my mind to something I can get it done.

The bad

Picking books: If you have to get through one book a week, you need to pick books that you can get through quickly. This was not the time to tackle Infinite Jest or a meaty non-fiction biography. Is that gaming the system? I did feel a bit bad about it, but then realized it was my goal and I got to make up the rules.

Pressure: It was a bit silly, but I did feel pressure. Let’s be clear, lives would not have been lost if I didn’t make it. But I really wanted to make it happen, and the pressure built the closer I got to 50. You don’t want to get to 48 books on December 31.

The verdict

If you are a reader and want a stretch goal, I highly recommend this. I think it’a pretty cool accomplishment. It does help you to focus your time and choose reading over ‘mindless’ activities.

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