This article was originally published in the Wed. January 4, 2017 issue of the Casper Journal.
Countless people start the year making resolutions for self-improvement in some aspect of their lives. I’ve heard it takes 21 days to make a habit, which could be why so many give up on their resolutions before January is even complete. Not only do folks assume they can make huge changes overnight, but they guilt themselves into feeling like a failure when it doesn’t magically happen.
For the past several years now, rather than load myself down with one more unattainable chore I don’t have time for, I have pushed off the trend of making resolutions to change something and instead have chosen challenges to expand upon something I already enjoy doing and desire to make more time for.
For example, I participate in the Goodreads Reading Challenge and have for many years. It is quite simple. I set my own goal for the number of books I strive to read during the calendar year. I already use Goodreads to keep track of the multitude of books I am currently reading, have previously read, or want to pick up in the future, so the challenge helps me see at a glance where I am at any given moment in time.
In addition, 2017 marks the second year Library staff are participating in a reading challenge devised not only to fulfill our own bookworm desires but to encourage sharing our personal reading tastes with each other and hopefully with our patrons.
So are you ready to take the reading challenge a step further? A quick online search reveals a plethora of reading challenge lists, created by bloggers, libraries, media publications and others who strive to encourage readers and self-proclaimed bookaholics to read more widely or with a bigger purpose. Do you only read a specific genre? Are you looking to expand your literary horizons? Searching for an extreme challenge or simply a little fun? You’re sure to find a challenge to fit your needs. Better yet, create your own!
Try challenging yourself to read, for example, the work of a new author; a favorite author’s debut novel or their entire backlist (if you are feeling ambitious); something published in 2017; an award winner (Newbery, Printz, Pulitzer, National Book Award, etc.); a childhood favorite; a book published the year or decade you were born; a collection of poetry or short stories; something published under a pseudonym; the work of a local author; or listen to an audiobook.
Try to make 2017 a year for expanding challenges instead of making new ones. And if reading happens to be a passion of yours, then ask a staff member what they are reading the next time you stop in the Library. Better yet, let us help you find the next book on your personal reading quest. Remember, whatever you’re into, we’re into it too.