Most year’s I write a piece about my New Year’s Resolutions. Although many people tackle their flab, drown bad habits, or seek to increase productivity, my favorite resolutions have to do with my mind. Namely, reading. Every year I set “Reading Resolutions”. I learned this from a friend who sets challenges for himself every year.
The first year I tried this as an experiment, I set out to read all of Hemingway. The next, I read C.S. Lewis. Then I read Steinbeck. Then it was E.M. Bounds. Every year, I was successful. My mind was enriched. I walked with the wise, and I believe I became wiser.
That’s all well and good, but the last few years, I’ve been struggling. That’s because I switched it up a bit. I set an impossible reading resolution for the last few years running that are self-defeating…but that said, I’m setting the same ones again.
Because I’ve decided that to fail at a worthy goal is better than to be successful at a smaller goal. For one thing, I like challenges. Motivators call the goal I’ve set a “stretch goal”. The definition of a stretch goal is something that pushes you beyond what you thought possible. To be honest, my reading resolutions weren’t pushing me. I could honestly read all of Shakespeare’s works in a year and not break a sweat. Now before you think I’m boasting, let me say that I’m a lightweight. I’ve got some really amazing friends. Brian Sanders read over 300 books last year. I’m not ready for that…
So what was my “impossible” goal?
To read everything in my library that’s been unread to date. The problem is that I keep buying books. How can you not, right? But, although I can’t recount victory in these resolutions, they have kept me from buying books that I normally would have normally bought. It has slowed me down…and that’s a good thing.
I now make wish lists on Amazon.com and come back to them on a rainy day…or a day when I’ve read everything in my library. My dream is to walk into a bookstore, pick up a book, and decide to read it right then and there because I have nothing else to read.
Yes, admittedly, I have problems. It’s probably early onset OCD. I make lists. I have files of reading lists dating back 20 years. I have a digital subject log of every chapter in every book in case I need something for preaching. I have spreadsheets, and even files of quotes, and illustrations all connecting to my library.
I know you’re probably not like me.
That’s probably also a good thing. But I love books. Therefore, my favorite thing to do is to read, think about reading, and because I’m an “Achiever” according to the Gallup StrengthsFinder Test, I like to tick off a list and get ‘er done.
In my current role as a content creator at Through The Word, I’m frequently told that my illustrations are unique. That’s because I mine my own gold, rather than lifting what others have prospected. If you’d like to set a goal this year or be challenged to read more, start by tackling your own library, or maybe expand your reading by following somebody else’s plan.
In the coming months, I’ll be starting a sort of “Inklings” group with those who want to be coached in reading along with a course I’m starting. If you need to up your goals in the intellectual department.