I just finished reading my 86th book of the year. Trust me: it even sounds crazy when I say it, and I’m the one who did it! This is a new record for me, and it’s only October 23rd today, leaving me with another couple months to finish up my goal of 100 for the year.
I’ve been reflecting on this goal a lot lately. It’s the kind of thing that sounds really impressive to others, but doesn’t really feel like much when I’m doing it. Reading is my favourite thing to do, so I’d be doing it voraciously whether I’d set a goal to or not. I enjoy reading. It’s super fun to me. It feels like a treat to settle in with a good book and get lost in a story. It’s not like I’m force-feeding myself books! So why set a goal?
Well, it’s very telling that the year I set the highest reading goal for myself is the year I’ve read the most books. This sounds very obvious, but it’s an important reminder for me that it’s all relative. If I set my sights higher, my results will naturally be higher. When my benchmark for success changes, I subconsciously recalibrate my behaviour and beliefs to match.
We’ve all heard that quote: “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” A little cheesy maybe, but I think it’s telling us something important on a practical level. It’s useful to set your sights as high as possible. Even if you come woefully short, you’ll still probably have made more progress than you would have if your goals had been smaller.
In general I’m a fan of the baby steps approach, but I’ve also experienced how setting gigantic goals shifts your internal compass. It catapults you through a bunch of the limiting beliefs & resistance because you don’t have as much time to get stuck in it. It’s like doing a work sprint: when you raise the stakes and compress the time, suddenly you’re more decisive and efficient.
We’re still several weeks away from New Year’s Resolutions time, but I’ll be keeping this in mind when I plan out 2020. As of now, the idea of reading more than 100 books seems out of reach, but maybe that’s the point.