Last year, for the first time ever, I dove into a reading challenge. I got the idea after listening to Jon Acuff on a podcast. He talked about his goal to read 100 books in 2017, and how it impacted his life.
I have always been a big reader, but in recent years – especially since finishing my Master’s Degree – I’d been reading way less. When I read, it was for research or for ministry preparation, but rarely for other reasons. I had so many books on my shelf that I hadn’t even cracked open.
Jon Acuff inspired me to set a big goal for 2018 – to read 100 books in the year. Honestly, at times, I didn’t think I’d reach the goal. While it started out exciting, there were a lot of days when I didn’t feel like picking up a book. I felt like mindlessly scrolling through Instagram or watching one more episode on Netflix. And there were a lot of times that I did that.
But there were also a lot of times I put away my phone or turned off the TV, picked up my Kindle (or a paper book), and read. I read some incredible books in
Come the New Year, I’m starting the reading challenge all over again. Here’s why:
Reading keeps me disciplined.
Challenging myself to read 100 books in a year kept me disciplined. I easily quit on new endeavours and habits, but having a Reading Challenge kept me on track. I used GoodReads to track my progress, and they would remind me how many books I needed to read a week or month to reach my goal! Seeing the tracker and looking back over the books I read was motivating.
It also forced me to have a bit of a routine. In one book I read this year, Sustainable Children’s Ministry, the author discussed having “balcony time” each morning where you look at your day ahead and spend time preparing and reflecting. I incorporated reading for 10-15 minutes into this time. It started my day off slow and on track.
Reading keeps me aware and rooted.
In today’s world, there are so many things that are constantly changing and so many opinions. Everyone is an expert on the Internet and you can find sources to support anything and everything you’d like. Reading good old fashioned books kept me aware of various perspectives on issues I was interested in – in parenting, politiics and theology. Sometimes, picking up a book required more discipline than a quick Google search (usually I did, and do, both) but it also helped me to know what I was reading was valuable and reliable.
So, I’m starting out my challenge again in 2019! Why not join me? I’d love to be your friend on GoodReads, and hear about what you’re reading. I’m also planning to highlight all the books I read this year over on my Instagram in the stories, so be sure to follow and check that out.
I’ve also set a few personal goals for reading in 2019. Here they are:
- Read more fiction. I’ve always loved fiction books, and in 2018, I revisited that love through reading a handful of novels (the Harry Potter series – for the first time!). This year, I’m committed to
readmore fiction. It’s enjoyable, it’s relaxing, and I actually think it’s important. According to Ralph Waldo Emerson, “fiction reveals truththat reality obscures.” I think we can learn a lot from fiction books – and I’m challenging myself to read more of them this year!
- Read a variety of perspectives. Our world seems so chaotic and volatile in so many ways. Everyone has an opinion! I tend to read books and articles by people who think like me, so this year I am committed to reading books from different perspectives. I’ve already placed some books on my Kindle shelf about racism, #metoo and various political issues from broad perspectives.
- Read the old and new. I have a tendency to read mostly what is new and recent, but I want to balance it this year with reading classics. This is in every genre – but especially fiction and theology!
- Read books I can recommend to families. Since having Levi, I am overwhelmed with how many book options there are for kids, about parenting, and for families in general. This year, I want to read more books specifically for kids and families, and about kids and families. I want to be able to read books that I can embrace in my own life, read with Levi and recommend to families that follow this blog, and that are a part of my local church ministry.
What reading goals do you have for 2019?
What books have you read so far?
You can check out my 2019 Reading Challenge page here!
Leave a comment to let me know what you’re reading.
PS. If you have a book you think I’d be interested in reviewing, feel free to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!