Take My 2011 Reading Challenge

We’re at that time of year when New Year resolution fever starts to fade. The hype and bravado of new year changes that we should make or will make have gone. Quickly vanishing too are the perennial weight-loss wanna-bes that rush the fitness clubs in January, proving once again that it’s not the start that matters, but the progress we make along the way. And so, it’s a perfect time to invite you to join me on a challenge.

Near the end of last year I took some time away for a few days to recuperate, reflect on 2010, and plan for 2011. As I evaluated several areas that were important to me, I was disturbed by one discovery in particular. I hadn’t read as many books last year as I thought I had. At one point in my life, I was reading a book a week. I was far, far from that pace now and the erosion of that discipline disturbed me. Regular reading serves as an important levee against other less productive uses of my time, particularly watching television.

Recently, over lunch with a friend, I mentioned my disappointment in this area. He suggested a very simple idea: clear a bookshelf and put the completed books on it. At first it struck me as a little inane, then I realized the powerful concept behind this simple suggestion. It’s an in-your-face progress meter and it was precisely what I needed. I tend to put completed books back on my already over jammed shelves, making them indistinguishable from those yet untouched. No wonder I had lost momentum. A cleared shelf begs to be filled and I had nothing begging for my attention. Keeping a list of completed books in my journal was just not visible enough for me.

So, I’m taking him up on his idea and I invite you to join me. By this time next year, I’ll post a picture of my hopefully brimming shelf of books I’ve read this year. If you’re not reading as much as you’d like either, clear a shelf with me. And, if you want to join me on this journey I’ll add a picture of your shelf as collage along with others I receive. Just let me know by commenting below and I’ll send you an email at the end of the year requesting a picture. Until then, happy reading!

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