What Are Your Thoughts On Goodreads Reading Challenges?

At the end of each year in this community, we see a large amount of discussion revolving around Goodreads reading challenges. A Goodreads reading challenge is a challenge Goodreads has where you can set a specific number of books to read by the end of the year.  We see people who don’t set one at all, people who set it to one book so they can beat it by a lot, people who set an amount they feel like they can reach…

We see all different numbers, because everyone reads at a different pace and has more or less time to read. And then we see people talking about why they don’t set a number of books to read. As someone who has always set one and enjoyed it, I wanted to write a post talking about both the pros and cons of these goals, and why some people love them and some people hate them.


Holds you accountable to read all year

A set reading goal can push you to read more and not spend your time on other things such as watching TV or browsing social media for hours (which are still great, believe me, I know).

Helps you keep track of the books you read in a year and what you rated them

Do you honestly think that in December, I remember the books I read in January, much less what I thought of them? Nope. A thousand nopes. By the end of the year, I’m lucky to remember what I wore the previous day.

Shows you what (and how many) books friends read in a year and what they thought of them

I love seeing what books my Goodreads friends are reading and the ratings they give, because if it’s a person I trust, it can convince me to pick up a book or to skip it. I add so many books to my tbr because of the books my friends on there read in a year. And before you say, “You can do that on the regular Goodreads without the challenge!” realize that I know that, but it’s even easier for me to scroll through the challenges and see the books and how my friends are doing on their challenges then other ways of navigating Goodreads.

Enables you to share your own goal and books you read with friends

This is so similar to the above one that it doesn’t need an explanation. You get it.

Sense of competition makes you want to read more

When I see so many people at the end of the year about to hit their goals, it motivates me to read more, try harder. This past year, I had 10 days left in 2016 and 10 books to read. I can’t read that fast normally, but I pushed myself and read some great books because of it.


Stresses you out

If you’re getting stressed by the number you chose, it’s either too high or Goodreads goals aren’t right for you. It shouldn’t be there to create stress. They exist for fun. Reading shouldn’t be stressful.

Pressures you to read

You could look at what happened to me last year, that I just talked about above, and yes, I was pressured to read by my Goodreads challenge. For me, that was a good thing, but for a lot of people, I’m sure it’s not.

Makes reading less enjoyable

Like I said before, Goodreads goals can make you stressed, and then make you not even want to pick up a book. That’s obviously not the point of them, but I’ve heard a lot of people say this.

Turns reading into a competition

This one just makes me sad, but I know it’s a legitimate negative of these challenges. I can see why: it’s easy to compare how you do to everyone else.

After making this list of pros and cons of Goodreads challenges, I can see why people don’t do them, but I also see why people do. It’s interesting! I can now see both ‘sides’, if you will, and it intrigues me because I agree with the points made for both. Still, I love setting and (usually) reaching the goal!

This year is different, because instead of setting a goal of 100 for myself like I normally do, I’m setting it for 60. Inside, I know that I’ll be trying for 100. I can’t just turn that part of myself off, the part that wants to read 100+ books every year. But if I set my goal for 60, hopefully I will teach myself that it’s not necessary, and I don’t need to stress to read a certain goal.

Do you set a Goodreads goal? Why or why not? Did you meet yours of last year? If you set one, what did you set yours at for this year? What do you think of Goodreads reading challenges?

Thanks for reading,



32 thoughts on “What Are Your Thoughts On Goodreads Reading Challenges?

  1. I really enjoy doing the reading challenge. For the most part I never really had set how many books I would read in a year, but now it’s so easy to keep track of it all. This year I set myself to read 50 books and so far I’m doing pretty good. I can see how it would make reading competitive, but for the most part I never really get overly conserned about it.


  2. I love doing the reading challenge. Last year I set it to 20 books and read 25. This year I’m going for the whole enchilada at 52 books. I think it’s fun because it motivates me to read more books. By reading more books I also end up reading more diverse books which I like to think expands my mind. I review all the books I read at as well as using Goodreads.


  3. I participate in the Goodreads Challenge, and I exceeded my goal last year (much to my surprise). I’ve had difficulty meeting my goals for a couple of years because I didn’t realize how much college was going to impact my reading. The only reason I got through my goal this year was because I was fortunate enough to have a college professor make us read 100 books in one semester (80 of them were picture books in my case). What bothers me is that this challenge does not keep track of the number of pages. That’s why I am also participating in a Pages Read challenge so that I don’t feel bad about reading graphic novels or picture books to achieve my goal.

    I like your con about the Goodreads challenges making reading competitive. I think that actually puts me off from meeting the challenges. I am a competitive person, but I don’t always take well to making reading for fun a competition. Sometimes I do well with having that amount of competition (if only with myself), and other times I don’t want to feel that amount of pressure to read a ton of books. Great post!


  4. Last year’s goal was highly realistic – 25. I reached it by about September and ended up reading 40 altogether in 2016. Because of that, I set this year’s goal at 45. I don’t think I’ll ever be one of those people who set their goal at 80+ because I know that I have too many other things that take priority over reading, but I still enjoy setting the low goals and reaching them! I just keeps me motivated to keep reading. And if I have a bad month and only read one, I just try to have an amazing following month by reading 5 or 6. It wasn’t until the end of 2015 that I really got back into reading, so 2016 was my first time setting a goal on goodreads.


  5. I read pretty fast and read every time I can, so I know I can read A LOT if I want to. The goodreads challenge is mostly a goal, or even like you said, a way to remember what I read during the year! Like, if someone asks me which books I love so far during the year, I’ll go and take a look at my challenge on goodreads! Mostly it’s useful to keep track of what I read. Reading is the thing I love most and I don’t want this to become something stressful so I don’t put my goal to too much, like I put it to 125 on 2016 and read 153 books. This year I put it to 130!


  6. I always set a goodreads goal, but it always makes me feel bad at the end of the year. I set a rather small goal for myself compared to other book bloggers (only 50 books!), and I always fail to meet that goal (can I even call myself a book blogger? sheesh!) Ah well. I get over it when I go to set myself a new goal in the new year 🙂


  7. I wouldn’t say that setting a goal is inherently bad in any way or form. It is, however, an entirely subjective thing how people react to that goal, which is (in my opinion) more on them knowing what works for them than anything else. If this goal stresses you out, makes reading unpleasant, or makes you anxious because of the competition that you derive from it, then stop doing it for your mental health. I like setting the goal because I like challenging myself–last year, I didn’t make my goal. I failed miserably, and I learned from it. I overworked myself last year to the point that I didn’t have time to do what I love. This year, I set my goal significantly lower, and I hope I can build my goal back up 🙂


  8. I don’t really take my goal seriously. It’s set to 52, because I think I can average a book a week whatever happens. If I get past it it’s nice to see how far I can get by the end of the year, if not then that’s fine, too. Plus it’s a lot easier to keep track of what I read when.


  9. This post actually reminded me to set my goal for this year. I always do set a goal on goodreads. I am definitely in competition….with myself! I hardly compare myself to others when it comes to number of books. I have a lot going on and I think I get plenty of reading done. When I see people that get even less books read, I imagine they read slower, which might not be a bad thing. Going through 3 or 4 books a week used to baffle me. It isn’t for everyone. Great discussion post!


  10. I had never really taken my goal seriously until last year when I started to read more frequently. I didn’t meet my goal last year, but I’ve set it for something that I think I can manage and I know it will really encourage me to keep reading if I have something I can use as encouragement to push myself. Especially when there’s no real pressure involved!


  11. I like setting a reading goal for myself but I don’t really stress over it. 😝 If I reach it that’s great, if not then that’s great too!


  12. I LOVE the Goodreads reading challenge. Not so much for the challenge – I set mine at 50 books because I know I can at least read one book per week & it gives me a bit of leeway – but I just love clicking on my challenge and seeing an overview of the books I read. I love keeping track of them, and when I come to complete my challenge, that sense of accomplishment is there, for simply reading! I know I’d hate it if I set my goal any higher and put pressure on, which is why I set it easily within reach 🙂


  13. I agree with so many of these points. In 2015, I had a goal of 100 but I got stressed out and I think I only ended up reading about 50 and I didn’t enjoy the experience. So in 2016 I didn’t do one to avoid stress but I’ve set one this year at 100 because I genuinely think I can do it but I’m hoping it doesn’t make me feel too suffocated otherwise I’ll probably let it go. I’ve seen a whole range of different goals and I think it’s nice to see people pushing their limits and seeing what they can do. I think it’s a very personal thing and I think it’s a shame that ot becomes a competition of who can read the most.


  14. I totally agree with this!! I personally love setting a goodreads goal (and I always under-aim, so I can get a bit higher and feel good haha. Overachiever problems😉) but it makes me sad how quickly it can turn into a contest! When I set my goal a lot of people started commenting and saying they were “slow and dumb” readers for having small goals. And like, no???? Everyone is different! Everyone’s lives are different! Some years aren’t good reading years and some people can’t (or don’t want to!) read as much as others. It’s not good to make reading a pressurised competition. That’s just a good way to kill the fun. So I think reading challenges can be EXCELLENT but we have to remember it’s just good to be a bookworm, no matter how much you do or do not read. :’)

    I loved all your pros and cons!


  15. I set up a goal but I don’t always put up the books I’ve read. Like last year my goal was 100 but there were more than 20 books I read in kindle that I didn’t add in my goodread goal. This year I set it up to 1 book, I decided I would read whatever book I wanted without the ‘pressure’ of putting it in the challenge 🙂


  16. I usually set me GR challenge goal to 52 books (one book for each week of the year). It’s significantly less than what I normally read in a year, but it gives me “insurance” in case life gets in the way of reading. Consequently, it never really stresses me out, because it’s decently achievable for me. I also mostly just use the challenge as a way to track what I read in a given year, like you mentioned. I definitely do feel pressure when I see other bloggers’ goals, but I try to ignore those feelings as best I can and recognize that, like me, everyone else is setting their own goal for their own reasons. Great post, Ava!


  17. I like having the Goodreads goal because it does help me prioritise reading more. It’s something I love to do, and before last year I just wasn’t creating as much time for it as I wanted. With the GR goal now though, it keeps me on track and is also a good way of me recognising that I’m probably overworking myself or using my time less efficiently if I’m behind.


  18. When I set my Goodreads goal, or really any goal, it does stress me out, but when i reach the goal it’s definitely rewarding! Setting a goal does also help me when I notice I’m a few books behind, then i can recognize that i need to cut back on watching TV or social media!


  19. I only joined the 2016 and now the 2017 goodreads reading challenge!! I never noticed the competition, actually. I understand some people choose to aim for one book, others for 100. Both are completely okay, as long as the reader is comfortable with the number. We all have things to do out of the social media, and we never know why does x person have more or less time to read than us. The challenge should make me want to compete with myself, not others – at least, that’s how I see it. Great post 🙂


  20. My goodreads reading challenge went beyond I expected. I set my goals to 50 and changed it to 150. I was able to read 185 books last year. As the year goes on, my reading speed increases despite of being busy. I ended up reading more ebooks than physical books though. I always start on a low number and just increase it if I think I can reach it so it won’t be too much pressure. Wonderful post, Ava! I agree with the points you’ve mentioned. 😊


  21. This is my first year joining the Goodreads challenge. I aimed low (20 for the year), so if I do more than this, I’ll be happy. But if I don’t, I’ll also be happy.

    You’re right, we shouldn’t put pressure on ourselves to do something we’re supposed to enjoy!


  22. When I first started using Goodreads years ago I used the reading challenge as a competitive tool to reach a certain number of books, but now I use it simply to keep track of the books that I read each year. I’ve also lowered my goal significantly in recent years from 100 down to 24, mostly because I don’t want the added pressure of having to read a very high number.


  23. last year, i set a goal to read 50 books, but had to narrow it down to 45 because well…life. this year i set my goal to 70 books, but i noticed that it had seriously stressed me out in 2016 and i always ended up actually NOT reading (+ i also read some wattpad novels and they’re usually not on goodreads, so it always looks to me like i’m behind on challenges, but i’m ahead). so i quitted the goodreads challenge. then came back and set it on one book, just to keep track of what i read you know? i’m 60% sure i CAN read 70 books a year with my current pacing, but i just don’t want to feel pressured to do it (+ next fall it’ll be a kind of…hard year at school so i’ll have SO MUCH work to do and i don’t think i’ll be reading/blogging/writing as much as i am now).
    anyway, amazing post, as usual! 💕


  24. Hmm… I like the idea of Goodreads challenges but I personally don’t do them, because I think that if I’m too focused on achieving having read a certain number of books, I think it would affect the books I choose to read. For example, I might stop reading longer books in favour of reading a few short ones that would add to my final number. That’s just me though! 😊


  25. I do set a goal, but always at a level I know I’ll reach. For example, I’ve read around 130 books for the past 4 years but I always put my goal at 90 -and this year at 70. I like seeing the challenge and how much I’ve been reading, but then it never stresses me out either.


  26. Last year, I totally destroyed my Goodreads goal, BUT I deleted my account, so I haven’t been using it this year. I think I pressure myself enough to finish a book in a certain time window. 😂 I just use this app called Book Buddy to keep track of ratings and things!


  27. Great discussion post! I love setting a Goodreads reading challenge, and I kind of ignore the negative stuff as much as I can because I think setting one is a very personal thing and therefore you shouldn’t be influenced by other people’s goals. It’s hard though! Some people read very quickly, and others take more time – it’s just one of the things that make us all diverse and wonderful. I always try and keep that in mind when I’m setting mine! Really I think it’s just a fun thing to do and it’s really awesome to look back at the end of the year and see what you’ve read and what you enjoyed. I love the breakdown GR gives you afterwards!


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