How far did you go with your reading goal for the year? How would you describe the experience? For me, I will say awesome. My theme for the year was “Make It Happen” and it did happen. In November 2019, I started searching for book recommendations that I will read from cover to cover come 2020, the singular objective was to read each book completely and to stop midway. This was very important as I needed to rewrite my history of having uncompleted books year in and out. With the theme, I wanted to be accountable for my goals and this led me to post my reading goal on social media. Fortunately, some people wanted to embark on the same journey, and story short here we are today with goals smashed and theme achieved. I read a total of fifty-five (55) books. See a list of books I read with the community here.
Aside from reading books, you should be passionate about getting something meaningful out of them. Now that you have read them, it’s time to end the reading year effectively. How do you do that?
- Rethink Your Goals: The goal you set is about a year old now and a lot of things have changed. Now is the perfect time to reflect on them. Was it easy or difficult to reach them? Did it truly represent your strength (potential) or the goal was just a representation of your fears and perceived insecurity? Just reflect on your reading goal and draw reasonable conclusions. One question to guide you should be: “If I have to do this again, what would I do differently?”
- Assess Your Output: It’s time to place your result against your goal. Your goal was to read X number of books, how many did you read? You said you would read daily; how well did you follow through? Doing this is very important because it clarifies to you what more effort you need. It also creates room for accountability. If you have done well take the praise, if however, you landed below the finish mark, take the blame as well. Never lie to yourself when it comes to doing this. While you need to take responsibility for the result don’t let it becloud your focus. Don’t allow the success overrun you nor do you allow the failure to choke you and dampen your zeal.
- Ask what Changed because You Read: Reading isn’t just flipping pages and counting how many books you can flip from cover to cover. Reading should lead to positive growth. What was it that changed for good because you read? Did you become happier because you read that story, become a better leader, took action on a project, found a better way of doing things all because you read? Take stock of these positives and share with others.
- Outline those Things that still need to be acted on: Deep reading can leave you stuck with just one book the entire year. You have to ponder and act on those things that lead to a better you. Now that you have finished reading your To Be Read List (TBR) for the year, it’s time to review what areas still need attention. There were things you wrote down to further research on or to create action plans for, now is the time to do all that.
- Identify the Challenges: One year of active reading is no joke and there must have been challenges (busy days, how to get the books, etc.) The gain from it all is that it helps you build an experience that becomes an advantage going forward. So, identify the challenges and document them.
- Identify what worked: Just as there were challenges there were also high points and you don’t need to push them aside. Deliberately identify them and note them down. The majority of these positives will be how you overcame the challenges you faced. During the next reading cycle, if you happen to face similar challenges you will now be armed with an approach to deploy.
- Set a new goal: Bravo, you did great reading through the year but that isn’t the end of the reading journey. Now is the time to think about going forward and doing more. Remember in step one (Rethink your goals), you answered a very important question (if am to do this again, what will I do differently?) use that as a basis to craft a new goal for the upcoming year. Don’t be in rush, take time to consider all factors, and put your new experience gained to use. Set a goal that moves you further but not one that breaks you. My advice is to always set a reasonable and realistic goal.
- Set up a system for your new goal: Goals need a support system to turn them into realities. As you conclude your reading year and take stock of things as well as set a new goal, now is the best time to create the right system to power you to victory. Some things to consider include:
- Book selection
- Schedule creation
- Getting a reading and accountability partner
- Deciding your best reading time, etc.
These and many more if properly planned out make the new reading year fulfilling, fun, easy, and productive.
Congratulation again for putting in your all this year, now that you have done the above exercises be proud of what you have achieved but be ready to achieve more. Remember, readers read and we don’t quit.