The good news first: I did complete the first challenge of the year successfully! 🏆
The not so great news: it wasn’t exactly one book per week. And in the last week of the month, I barely read one entire chapter. 😳
Let me explain
During the first two weeks of the month — and the year, woohoo! — I was more or less free. No classes, just a few assignments to finish. I had a lot of freedom to just stay in bed for half an hour after waking up and just read. I could also pick up a book whenever I was bored or needed a break from the computer screen. Unsurprisingly, these factors made it incredibly easy to read many chapters per day.
I also changed a bit my plans on what books to read. A wave of nostalgia hit me a bit before New Year’s Eve, and I decided to pick up The Hunger Games trilogy in the local library. Oh, that reminds me: a shout out to the local Almeida Garret Library in Porto, that not only had the books in English but also have an amazing, helpful staff!
The Hunger Games is super easy to read, and absolutely addicting. As a result, I devoured the books! I stayed up late reading them, spent almost an hour in bed upon waking up, picked it up at meal times… So within the first 10 days, I had read 3 out of the 4 books of the challenge.
At this point, I was sure I could reach 5, perhaps 6 books by the end of January! Spoiler alert, that is not what happened.
The next book I tackled was Sapiens. I had started it twice before, but never finished it. I started rereading it at the fourth chapter. Once again, the book is easy to read, and I found myself thinking about it when I got distracted. Everything was going smoothly, albeit at a slower pace.
By the time I finished Sapiens, I had only a few days left before moving to Barcelona and beginning my full-time internship. Since the 4 books mark had already been reached, that made me relax a bit. A lot, in fact. I started reading Great Expectations very slowly. But it was ok, I thought. As long as I read at least a couple of pages each day, I can keep the momentum going, and continue building a reading habit.
Well, that’s when I completely broke the chain
I arrived in Barcelona on the 25th of January. From the next day onwards, I didn’t even open the poor book. It was always on my backpack, left alone and untouched. Every night I would truly want to read it… and then collapse in my hostel bed, holding my phone for 5 minutes before drifting away.
Not all is lost though. I am kicking off February with a revived desire to continue reading every day, even if just one paragraph (atomic habits FTW!). And I feel good about it.
Ok, mostly I feel good that I didn’t completely fail in the first challenge of the year. Who cares that it was a close call?
Here is what I had in mind when planning this challenge:
Why: To get back into the habit of reading paperback books and take a break from screens.
How: I will have roughly 8 days to read each book. I’ll start with The Name of the Wind, then Great Expectations, some other book I still have to get at my university’s library and, lastly Sapiens (one of those I never finished, but which I’ll read from the beginning).
Expectations: Less time staring at screens, improved creativity and desire to continue reading more than I did in the previous years.
Did I achieve it?
Why: I think I am a bit closer to creating a reading habit, yes. Even though I didn’t read my books for the last week, the thought was still there. But I wasn’t as successful in eliminating the barriers to actually get to it.
How: I made a lot of changes, from the books I read to the timeframe of it all. Name of the Wind is still on the plans, as soon as I’m done with Great Expectations. And I didn’t start Sapiens from the beginning per se, but close enough?
Expectations: Definitely less time staring at screens, at first. The desire to continue reading is also palpable, so I’d say it was a win!
Now, time for another challenge! Quitting added sugar until the end of the month.
Uh oh. Just realized my first meal of the day included almonds… caramelized almonds. 🤦
It’s ok, not all is lost. Right? Right.
Care to join me in the next 29 days? Hope so 😊
Let me know if you completed a challenge in January! Let’s celebrate our wins and plan the next ones together.