My 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.
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.
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.
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.