If you love Goodreads Challenges and you find that they enhance your life, I'm truly happy for you! This is in no way, shape or form casting shade on people who enjoy the Challenge. Please hear that. Enjoy your things. Don't let any negative feelings that others express dampen your love of your favorite things. Also, if you think you're going to feel attacked by reading this post, please don't read this post and don't @ me. This is not for you.
This post is for people who feel fatigued from the Goodreads Challenge. I've been setting and meeting or exceeding my goals since 2016.
Each year I have managed to read more books than I intended and each year I have set the bar higher for myself. In order to beat the Challenge in 2019, I would have to set my goal in 2020 for more than 150 books. Even thinking of that number exhausts me. For my own self-care and mental health, I could just lower my goal, right? But I don't want to stop there--I want to experience total freedom from numbers. I've already purposed in my heart that for 2020, I'm going to take on fewer review books and I'm going to enjoy more mood reading, including books from my shelves that I have been dying to read but the reviews won't really "benefit" anyone. Did I just say that?? And did you hear that?? I have to preach to myself the very obvious fact that my recreational reading habits do NOT have to benefit anyone! I can read whatever books I want and know that at the end of it, I don't have to review it, share it on social media or tag anyone in a fancy photo of the book on Instagram.
A part of who I am is an unnecessary inner-struggle to please people. I enjoy making others happy. I love to help others. I like to give gifts. I get fulfillment and joy when others are pleased with my efforts. I have always been this way. Even as a child, I worked hard to impress my teachers so that they would be proud of me. Sometimes I would finish a paper and see mistakes that I had made so instead of crossing things out, I would just start completely over until the paper was "perfect". All through grade school, I made a strong effort to have high marks on all my papers. High school was a little different and I allowed myself to slack off in favor of just having fun and hanging out with my friends or putting more energy into my passions like reading or performing in my drama class.
But I do think my people-pleasing tendencies have carried over into my adult life in a variety of ways. My work ethic and performance in various jobs have always been a big priority for me. Much to the detriment of my own self, I can borderline perform at a perfectionist level--which sounds like an attribute but it's really a flaw/disservice. Perfectionism does produce excellence but it more often results in an inability to finish tasks in a timely manner. If I don't think I can do my very best at a task, I will procrastinate or ignore the task until to the point of suffering consequences either from not meeting deadlines or a manifestation of stress/anxiety because the task looms large over my head.
Performance anxiety is real. It's beneficial for someone like me to eliminate any unnecessary demands on my life. It has taken me a long time to reach this conclusion. I credit participating in NaNoWriMo as the catalyst for this revelation. NaNoWriMo is an organized event in November that employs deadlines and word goals to help writers achieve goals.
It does NOT work for me. It is not a healthy way to get me to finish anything. It manufactured too much self-loathing, anxiety and stress.
This is why I'm doing a Goodreads Rest in 2020 and YOU can join me if anything in this post sparked a truth for you.
I will be talking about it on social media with the hashtag #GoodreadsRest if you want to follow along or use it yourself to promote allowing rest for your busy soul.
We have so many demands on our lives that we cannot control, I strongly believe that we should exercise more control over the things where we do have choices.
So in 2020, I'm choosing rest in all areas that I can.