January 18, 2022

Silly challenges and a resolution

 Sometimes you just have to trick yourself into things.

When I was stuck at home during hibernation week, I went for a lot of walks. Of course it was great to get out of the house, and the pup really loved the snow, but I wouldn't have walked quite so much if I hadn't signed up for a silly challenge on Strava. The challenge was to walk 50k for the month. I had largely forgotten about the challenge/goal until I was bored at home. I certainly would have gone on several walks anyway, but wouldn't have been motivated to go as often or as far. I ended up walking about 34 miles in December, more than half of it in the snow between Christmas and New Year's Eve with traction devices on my hiking boots.

Another challenge I engage in is to try and read a certain number of books each year. I have been using the Goodreads website to track my reading since 2008. I started using it mostly to keep track of books I had read. More than once I would return to a book series that I had stepped away from, picking up where I thought I had left off, only realizing three chapters in that I had already read this book. Now an even greater value of the website is adding to the "To be Read" list whenever I hear about an interesting read.

However the To be Read pile is growing faster than the Read list. I already have piles of physical books stacked around the house, and a massive virtual pile online, but there are so many books that catch my eye I can't resist adding another to the list. When I am looking for my next read, and none of the books in the house are hitting the spot, I pull up the online list. However, many of the books have been on there so long I have no idea where I heard about them, or what grabbed my attention in the first place. I end up reading synopsis after synopsis to jog my memory.

The last few years I have tried to read 30 books a year. I came close in 2018, but haven't ever been quite able to reach the magic (arbitrary) number. 

(Click to embiggen)

In 2021 I read 21 books. Nice numeric repetition there, but in a year when I had so much time on my hands, and so much desire to get out of my own head, I wish I had read more. 

So much of it is habit. I won't deny it is harder to read these days. I am, like so many others, easily distracted by my phone, the TV, and other shiny things to scroll through. I used to be able to fall into a book so much more easily. Didn't matter if I was in a crowded coffee shop filed with people and chatter - I could shut it all out. Not so much these days. There is this constant background hum tapping on my attention's shoulder. 

Along with the urge to get the miles in during the last week of December, I was also trying to read a bunch. I wanted to try and re-forge the habit before work would once again get crazy in January, and hibernation week did make it a bit easier. I have been reading books on my Kindle lately and I saw this thing pop up on my phone.

Without intending to, I had a month-long streak of reading every day. May as well keep the streak going. I am going to try and read every day in 2022. It may not be many pages on some days (hello tax season) but I want to commit to reading this year. I know it will be good for me, moments of quiet in a noisy world. 

I have some other pseudo resolutions in mind for the year, one of which is to keep writing here and hopefully elsewhere, but we'll start with reading. If you have any recommendations for books that you loved, let me know and I will add them to the digital pile. I will try and get a few off the To be Read list to make room. 

No comments: