Chitter-Chatter: Reading Challenges and the Art of Failing



Reading Challenge

As some of you know, I’ve created a ‘Chitter-Chatter‘ series where we can talk about book related topics and which I started with a TBR list discussion. If you haven’t read it, you can check it out here.

I’ve decided to talk about Reading Challenges as that’s something that has been on my mind a lot lately as well.

Early in January this year, I set my first reading challenge. I wanted to be pushed and to read a lot. I pledged 100 books in the GoodReads 2018 challenge. The main reason being that I somehow miscalculated the amount of weeks in a year. 😳 Side note: I have a Maths degree…

After I was reminded that 100 books is not 3-4 books a month…. I freaked out a little as reading a new book every three days or so seemed impossible. And I sort of felt I was signing up for a failure. Then I decided to tackle it head on and read and read.

I was on track until early March when my reading pace slowed down. April was even a slower month reading-wise and GoodReads now cheerily reminds me I am quite behind.

I thought for a second of changing those 100 books to something more ‘doable’… like halving them.. I reasoned with ‘nobody knows, nobody notices’. That thought of avoiding a potential reading failure brought me a sense of relief. Interesting, isn’t it?

And then I though: “hang on a second. Someone will know. I will know.” And I may use that in future against myself. I could be very crafty when needed.

So I took a deep breath and accepted that I am quite likely to fail. I may get close, I may not or I may even successfully complete it. What is the worst that will happen? Well, I won’t meet my own expectations, that’s all.

What’s interesting about us not meeting our expectations is usually what we make it mean. It’s the stories we spin, especially if we make them about us, not our efforts.

Have you ever beaten yourself up after a certain “failure“? Have you talked to yourself harshly and has it demotivated you? Have you played it safe for a bit afterwards? Been there, done that.. many times.

I just read an interesting article that we should aspire to fail daily. So we become “good at it” and are willing to grow even more as we are willing to get involved in uncertain, uncontrollable scenarios. I love control. As a “recovering perfectionist” I’m learning how to let go. And it’s sometimes tough as this particular challenge reminded me. I guess I can now appreciate the effort vs the outcome. And that’s progress. Even though it sometimes doesn’t feel like it.

Do you have a reading challenge that is going breezily? How would you feel about doubling it?

You may say: come on, I won’t complete it then.

My answer? That’s exactly the point.

You don’t of course have to, especially if you are already being challenged with your current reading challenge as it is. I’m also not suggesting it so I am feeling better about my own challenge. It’s just a suggestion – what’s more interesting is to perhaps observe what thought popped in your head when I made that suggestion. That’s where the work usually starts..

I want us all to be comfortable with failing. I want to cheer each and every one of us when certain expectations of ours are not met. Let’s dare greatly and pick each other up when we fall.

Whatever you decide to do, I do wish you well in your challenge and sincerely hope you are having a very enjoyable reading year. 📚 💕

Chitter-Chatter Time

What do you think about Reading Challenges?

  • Do you have one?
  • If you do: how is it going?

And how do you feel about failing / not meeting your expectations about reading challenges or any other aspirations of yours?

Let me know in the comments below.

19 thoughts on “Chitter-Chatter: Reading Challenges and the Art of Failing”

    1. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. If the challenge stresses us rather than pushes / inspires us then why not.
      I tend to get mad at myself whenever I perceive myself as failing at something. I love to exceed my expectations… very often an impossible task unfortunately. I’m hoping that this post may help others who feel the same way. But ultimately – there is no right or wrong way here, whatever works for me may not work for someone else. ❤️ Glad you enjoyed the post Kelly and thanks for stopping by. 💕

      Liked by 1 person

  1. It’s difficult, I’m a perfectionist by nature and I actually only start something when I know the chance of succeeding is very probable ;-). I’m not very good with dealing with failure and I know I should train myself in this because it’s inevitable in life but I’m reluctant to start with anyting related to books and reading ;-). I have set my reading challenge to one that I should be able to achieve, when I read one book a week as I normally do and a few extra throughout the year with vacations calculated into it. I can’t help I want to achieve this challenge, even if it’s not a real challenge, because it’ll make me feel good anyway :-).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, I could really relate to that. I know exactly what you mean Inge.

      In coaching, it’s sometimes tough to explain the difference between goal making and detachment.

      I guess a good example is my climbing. I’m totally detached from the outcome of my climbing attempts, I fail most of the time but that doesn’t mean I don’t care and don’t try hard again next time. It means that I can, in that instance, differentiate my effort (i.e. do the next move) vs. the outcome (i.e. sticking that move). As long as I feel I am giving it my all, I can let go and still have a great day despite me actually not climbing to the top of anything…

      But with reading… ha ha, it’s another story. Somehow, I am making it personal. It’s about me. And that’s why I wrote this post. I think it’s great to have a challenge. And to do our best, to pour our hearts into it and really go for it… but when it doesn’t turn out the way we wanted… it’s OK. We are still the hard working, passionate, kind, book loving people. Nothing less. At least that’s what I’m trying to believe!! I totally get where you are coming from! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I am also doing my Goodreads challenge which I have nearly completed. Rather than extend it I will set myself a different challenge once that one is completed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Congratulations and well done!

      And you are right: setting a different challenge is actually a great idea. I can see having another reading goal can be another challenge and a lot of fun as well.

      All the best in your new challenge and thanks for stopping by. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Fun discussion. 🙂 I didn’t set a Goodreads goal for a couple of years because it would absolutely drive me nuts. This year I decided to set it low (54 originally). It was a bit of a mental mind boost when I passed it. I enjoy the idea of reading challenges but have to remind myself that it doesn’t really matter as long as I’m enjoying the books!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s such a great attitude to have. As long as it’s a tool and you are enjoying the books, then it indeed doesn’t matter what the final number ends up being.
      I sometimes really want to step back more often as my dear friend Anxiety can drive my nuts. I’m learning though and hearing others sometimes going through similar things and / or offering their advice has been very helpful. 😊
      Thanks for joining the discussion! 😊


  4. I think this is such a healthy mindset to have, to let our failures become a daily routine till we’re comfortable and open about it, because it’s the only way we can then put all our energy into doing better and being happy about our little victories. I’m also a “recovering perfectionist” by the way, and I’ve gotten very good at laughing off my absurdly small TBR list as a result; it’s just about being happy with what you accomplish I think. 🙂 Lovely post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. High five to a fellow recovering perfectionist! 👋
      Being happy with our accomplishment is important, you nailed it there. It can be hard sometimes, especially if we have big aspirations and want to do many things. In my case, yoga, journaling, gratitude practice and openly talking about it with my loved ones really helped. Brene Brown talks about perfectionism in Daring Greatly. After I read that book I decided to start my route to recovery. 😊
      Have a great Bank holiday weekend and happy reading. 📚 💕

      Liked by 1 person

      1. All hail Brene Brown! I really should be getting to this book soon, but I’m waiting for the right mood strike. And haha yesss, high five right back at you! ❤ I hope you have a terrific weekend as well!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Ah yes I very much relate to having goals and failing to meet them. I think I definitely have a tough time with it (love the term “recovering perfectionist” and definitely think it applies to me too 😉 ) I think one of the ways that I get round it sometimes is to not set goals that I know will stress me out- so I haven’t actually set myself a target for this year- and I’m finding it a bit more relaxing than last year (where I kept setting myself tougher and tougher goals) So yes, I can relate to that question of how I would feel with tougher goals- and the answer is not good and I’d probably overwork myself to get it done! So I think the message of this post, to get comfortable with failing, is absolutely brilliant!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s such a tough decision isn’t it? I could relate to not setting goals either.
      I’m learning how to set big goals, some of them being near impossible, to go big, give it my all, and be totally ok if I don’t meet them. I still don’t like not meeting them sometimes as this challenge has shown me. But I am getting better at it. So there’s hope. And if someone like me can do this, anyone can as well. There’s hope for all of us! ❤️😊
      Thanks for stopping by, I really appreciate your comment. 💕 And thank you, glad you found it interesting.

      Liked by 1 person

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