It’s Not About The Goal, It’s About The Experience

Courtesy of iStock/Matt_Gibson

In 2018, I challenged myself with a goal to read 30 books. I fell short at 28½ books, but surprisingly, my competitive spirit is not bothered by my book-and-a-half defeat. I mean, I technically could have made my goal. I could have picked up two easy reads and charged through, claiming my victory. But I didn’t, because the number of books wasn’t really my goal.


I read books for multiple reasons: to escape (typically fiction), to learn (some fiction, but mostly self-help and spiritual), and to feel and fall in love again and again (definitely fiction). Last year, I spent most of my time on “learning” books; 16 of the 28½ books were self-help or spiritual books. Books in this category tend to take longer for me to digest because I try to absorb the details and apply the information to my life. Sometimes the absorbing and applying can be a hard task. So it’s not worrisome to me that I came up short on my numerical goal.


The numerical goal was just an outward goalpost for an inward experience.


The experience waiting for me inside a book’s pages is my real goal. I open novels hoping to get lost in a fictional world and its characters’ problems. I want to ride the tide of emotions as I lose myself inside a book’s pages. I want to fall in love with a character, feel upset with that character, and overcome some obstacle with that character. The lure of self-help and spiritual books is very similar, but the character experiencing the emotions and overcoming some obstacle is myself.


My 30-book goal is a worthy goal and one I am aiming for again in 2019, but not because I want to show you my tally marks and tout how many books I read as my success. No, my true success is when I can share a book with you that captivated me and held me hostage for days. My true success is when some character or author’s experience makes me look deeper into my own. And my true success is when I read something that passionately impacts this journey I’m on.


I didn’t miss my goal last year. I crushed it—numerous times. And I’m hoping to do it again this year. You can join me on my reading journey as I continue to share books with you that steal my attention and keep me captivated for days (and sometimes even in the months after I finished them) on my What I’m Reading Page.