Goodreads is a great web site for me to select good books to read and to track my reading. Each year they have a reading challenge. Members of the site are encouraged to set a reading goal for the year and post that goal on the site. I participated in 2016. At the end of the year I noticed that the percentage of those who finish their goal is very small. Here is the site and the statistics.
You will notice that only about 1% of the people completed the challenge that they set for themselves. So, do we say that 99% of the people failed? I don’t think so. If you look, there were nearly 40 million books read. 3 million people read 40 million books last year. This is fantastic! I wouldn’t call anyone a failure that set a goal, read some books, and came up short of their goal. The real failure would have been not starting at all. Perhaps the average goal of reading 46 books in a year is much too high. Many people can read a book a week, but for some of us, we can’t get through that many. If each person sets a realistic goal based on their circumstances then, as they work toward that goal, they are winning.
This reminds me of the scripture in Luke 14:28 which says:
28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?
For many of us, we don’t sit down and out the cost before we set our goals. Can we realistically expect to read for an hour a day? Some can, but many can’t. What is the solution? Perhaps it would help to set shorter term goals. Is it better to set goals quarterly? monthly? or daily? We could avoid some of the personal guilt or frustration that comes when we fall short of our goals if we will simply “count the cost” before we begin. Many of us think we can accomplish more on a day to day basis than we really can, but we underestimate what we can accomplish in a year if we have daily habits that contribute to our goals.
Some people use the acronym SMART when they set goals. The “R” in SMART reminds us to set reasonable/realistic/rational goals. Part of what makes a goal reasonable is for us to look carefully at what it will take to meet that goal and evaluate if we really have time each day to do those things which will develop into habits that will lead to success.
It all comes down to this simple phrase: Win the Day!