On not reaching goals – and why that’s fine

Some of you may know of the reading challenge I set myself a few years ago to have read at least 100 authors of colour by the time I turned 30. I was always a little nervous that this challenge would come across as some white woman trying to do box-ticking, but the challenge itself came about when I looked through my Goodreads and realised just how many white authors I’ve read throughout my life. I don’t like to say ‘that’s to be expected’ for fear of sounding lazy, but I have to accept the facts: I am a white British person who grew up in the British countryside, in towns that were 99% white. When I went into libraries as a child, there was barely any chance I was going to pick up a book by an author of colour – especially when I was still young enough not to realise just how privileged I was to not have to look very far to find myself in stories.

Well, friends, I am now 30-years-old (and I still feel 15), and according to the list I set up for myself to keep track of my progress, I have read 84 authors of colour.

Considering I’ve been on the earth for three decades, that’s pretty abysmal, but I’m not going to feel bad about it. Why? Well, the challenge wasn’t to read 100 authors of colour by my 30th birthday and then make no further effort. More than anything else, I set myself this challenge to make myself more aware of the authors that I read so that I can make an effort to not only read white authors.

So I didn’t reach my goal, and it’s a bit disappointing, but there are so many authors on that list that I have read since I set myself the challenge and, without it, I’m not sure I would have read them when I did. So even though I didn’t reach my goal, I’m also not going to class this as a failure. Instead it’s a stepping stone towards my ultimate goal of being at a point where I’m reading just as many authors of colour as I am white authors.

How have your reading goals gone this year?

15 thoughts on “On not reaching goals – and why that’s fine

  1. Jennifer says:

    I think you made a really important point here, that the goal was not to complete the thing and then not bother. The true goal was to use the journey to instill a habit, and if 84 books is enough to have instilled that habit and awareness then it sounds like you accomplished what you set out to do! Keep going! 🙂 You’ve inspired me to take a look at my own list and see where I’m at.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. dinipandareads says:

    I think reading 84 out of 100 is pretty amazing and you should definitely be proud of that! Even though you didn’t reach your goal, you did get a lot out of the challenge that you set yourself and I think that’s pretty awesome. And as you said, it’s not about reaching the goal and then never reading diversely again, it’s a lifelong thing and I think this is definitely a good start to that! 😊 Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

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