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When I woke up on January 1st, the first thing I did was set my 2015 Goodreads Reading Challenge goal (okay, so I really had to pee, but after that, I swear, this is what I did). After topping my original 52 book goal by a whopping 33 extra books, I wasn’t sure what to aim for in 2015.

Should I make it 86 so I could say I read more books than I did last year? Or aim again for 52, so that anything more would make me feel extra accomplished?

It would be easy to set the bar low; “Yes, of course I reached my goal of reading one book this year!”. There’d be no way to fail. But since when did reading become about failing or “winning” a challenge? I read because I enjoy reading. Who cares what number of books I read?

You might be surprised to hear that I did end up setting a number for the Goodreads Challenge, however; I stuck with 52. Ilike challenging myself, and honestly, I need something to motivate me, to hold me accountable or else I will let excuses catch up with me as I claim I’m “too busy” to read one chapter before bed. But reading shouldn’t be a grueling, bitter race. It should be fun, it should be relaxing, it should be thoughtful, it should be — above all else — magical.

Numbers aren’t the only way to organize your reading goals, however. This year, why don’t you try reading:

1. All of the unread books on your shelf: I’ve got a stack of books that I’ve been “meaning to read” for ages. It’s time to crack one open.

2. A new genre: Break out of your comfort zone and try something new. If you’re usually a reader of fiction, make it a goal to read one non-fiction book this year.

3. An old favorite: Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in all of the new releases, but this year try making time to curl up with a book you’ve been meaning to re-read.

4. Books as a part of a challenge: Pop Sugar and Bringing Up Burns — in addition to other blogs and websites, I’m sure — have handy little checklists to serve as your guide as you go on a sort of reading ‘scavenger hunt’. Like reading a new genre, this is a great way to branch out from your normal book tendencies and try something new.

Don’t limit yourself with a number; make 2015 about reading what you love and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. A number isn’t worth losing your sanity (and zeal for reading) over.

This post first appeared in the January 2015 email newsletter.
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What are your 2015 reading goals?