When I wrote a few weeks ago about the Kindle reader I bought and a little of why I bought it. A few people asked me about my reading goals. I have been hesitate in sharing something like that, because everyone is different in why they read and it is a personal goal.
I need to share on the front end that I read a lot for work. I have friends who only read for work and only one genre. Sometimes they make comments about how you should only read for work, but then they are into sports and other things. For me reading is also how I relax and have fun. I love escaping into the other worlds of books. Reading 100 books a year does not make me superior to someone who does not. This is a goal that is just for me.
This is how and why I set the goal of reading 1,000 books in 10 years. When I started this year off I began like I always do in setting some goals for work, but I also like to set some for myself. The personal goals are things I want to enjoy or make an improvement in. There are people who read over 200 books a year so this is not a world record by any means, but it would be a huge stretch for me. I can honestly say this has been one of my favorite goals this year.
I am four months into it and I am ahead of schedule. I know I need to read about 8 books a month on average. However, some months are more and some are less. There will be short books and long books and so you have to bank on the fact that at the end of the year it will all balance out. The first month I was nervous and read very fast making sure I had met my goal. I eventually developed a rhythm and slowed down. What good was reading that many books if you did not comprehend or retain any of what you read?
For fun I read fiction, classics, poetry, and books about writing. In my work I needed to work on a balance. I tend to find a topic and read only about one thing. So for me I read books related to my specific job, discipleship, prayer, leadership, and devotional books. This gives me the balance I am looking for and if I want to improve in a certain area I try to limit it to 6 books at a time. You could balance the list for most any job.
For me the reasons for this goal is to become a better minister. I am not quite ready to just rollover and relax. Reading is one of the main ways I can keep up and move forward. There are certain areas of my life that I want to improve in and reading gives me a way to do that. Conversations with others is easier and I am able to participate more. One of my goals is to become a better writer and you cannot become a better writer without being a huge reader. The two go hand in hand. I have also found that reading, like most things in life, the more you do it the more proficient you become. I read everywhere. Five minutes waiting for someone to arrive at a lunch meeting, and situations like waiting at the doctor’s office. There are short periods of time that I try to take advantage of.
I realize this goal is not for everyone. I am at a place in my life where I can do this. If I had small children at home and other obligations it would be hard to do. I feel like this level of reading with my years of experience in life will be a great combination.
I had a couple of questions about how do you afford 100 books, and the church must give you a great book allowance. The church allows me $200 a year for books which I appreciate, but that will not cover this level of reading. So here is how I am doing it so far. I review books for different book companies and they give me a free book for the review, I download free ebooks from different websites for my e-reader. I also use the library both in person and online. I buy books at goodwill and other used sites. By the way if I am in your office and you have a book setting on your shelf I will probably ask to borrow it as well.
People ask me “what if you do not meet your goal?” Honestly that is not the point. So what if I only read 900 books in 10 years or it takes me and extra 6 months to read the 1,000. The goal is secondary. It is the process and who you become from reading that is the real goal.