DISCUSSION: Challenge Fatigue – Can One Have Too Many Reading Challenges?

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, mainly because I’ve signed up for more reading and blogging challenges this year than I ever have before, and although I only chose challenges that I felt aligned with goals I already hoped to achieve on my blog this year, I now find myself struggling to keep up with a few of them.  In my mind, I’ve labeled this Challenge Fatigue.

What’s funny though (or at least it’s funny to me anyway) is that it’s not the actual reading part of the challenges that has me feeling a little burnt out.  No, instead it’s the “housekeeping” aspect of the challenges that are bogging me down.   You know, the part where you have to remember to go and do the linkups to show that you’re actually keeping up with the challenges, etc.  Yeah, I totally suck at that.  I try to be organized about it and have a tabbed spreadsheet to keep track of my challenges and make sure I remember to submit everything, but sometimes I just forget and then I have to backtrack and see what I’ve submitted and what I haven’t.  It gets a little tedious at times.  (Did I also mention that becoming more organized was also a goal of mine for 2018? Ha!)



So anyway, all of my struggles have me wondering at least for myself, how many challenges is too many?  Right now I’m doing these five.

  • Goodreads Challenge (Goal – 90 books, I’ve read 58 books so far)
  • Debut Authors Challenge (Goal – 12 authors, I’ve read and reviewed 8 debuts so far)
  • New Release Challenge (Goal – 30 books, Read and Reviewed 31 books)
  • Beat the Backlist Challenge (Goal – 30 books, Read and Reviewed 16 books so far)
  • Discussion Challenge (Goal – 12 posts, As of this post, I’ve done 5 discussions)

When I chose to do this many challenges, my first thought was to set the goals low so that they wouldn’t stress me out.  I was torn though because there’s the other part of me that asks “Then what’s the point of even doing it if you’ve set the goal so low that you’ll easily achieve it?  What’s challenging about that?  It’s called a challenge for a reason!”  Yeah, I hate that part of me too.

Out of the five challenges, I’ve already achieved my goal of 30 new releases and am over the halfway point on all of the other challenges, except the Discussion Challenge, where I’m only at 5 including the post that you’re currently reading.  Discussion posts are not easy for me so this challenge has been the toughest, but in many ways, also the most valuable for me because it does truly challenge me to step out of my comfort zone.  The others, rather than truly challenge me, have really just functioned more as just reminders of the goals I hoped to achieve on the blog:  read and promote more debut authors, read more new releases but also keep moving through my endless backlist of books, etc.  Did I really need challenges for those?  Looking back, I honestly think I probably would have read the same numbers of books in each of those areas whether I had the challenge or not.



And now comes the quandary of what to do now that I am starting to meet my goals on them.  Do I bump up the goals and continue or do I stop and call the challenge completed?  I’m leaning toward just marking them complete and moving on to something else, but I guess we’ll see how I feel as I get closer to the finish line on each one.  I have to admit I did feel a bit of relief when the host of the Beat the Backlist Challenge announced some changes to that challenge which translated to less “housekeeping” on my end.

Even though I’m okay overall with the 5 challenges, moving forward, I think I’ll probably do less of them, especially the ones that are meant to run all year round.  I’ll probably stick to one or two of those, especially since I’m actually finding that I prefer the challenges that only last a month or two and also the shorter readathons.  They feel like more a challenge because the timeframe is shorter, which also means less of the “housekeeping,” but the goals are usually still flexible so I can make them as challenging as I want to.  Some favorites from the past two years for me are the Summer TBR Wipeout Challenge, the March Take Control of Your TBR Challenge, and the HoHoHo Readathon.


How about you?  Have you ever found yourself suffering from Challenge Fatigue?  How many challenges is too many for you?

40 replies
  1. Sam@WLABB
    Sam@WLABB says:

    I love reading challenges, and if you checked my challenges webpage, it looks like I am not doing them. But I am. I keep track on my spreadsheet and select books to fit goals, but I just don’t have time to keep up with housekeeping, as you said. 4th of July is coming, maybe I will get to it then.

  2. Verushka
    Verushka says:

    I admire anyone who does a reading challenge — or 5 — because I it takes discipline I know I don’t have 🙂

  3. Grace @ Rebel Mommy Book Blog
    Grace @ Rebel Mommy Book Blog says:

    I am horrible at the housekeeping of challenges. I don’t think I check in at all but I do keep track on my Good reads shelves. I should probably do less! I like the idea of more short-term challenges like you said at the end.

    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      Yeah, I’m definitely becoming a fan of those short ones. They’re fun and not so long that I get bogged down in all of the extra stuff.

  4. Angela
    Angela says:

    I’m like you, I try to do challenges that go along with my goals for the year or my existing TBR. I don’t really want to have to go look for even more new books to read when I already have a ton waiting. I’m amazed by bloggers who participate in multiple challenges during the year. It takes a lot of planning and organization to keep up with all of them. And as much as I love a good checklist and completing goals, it gets overwhelming. I actually prefer the year-long challenges because I can spread things out. Challenges that are only a week or two – I feel like I can’t commit to that because I would have to be reading non-stop. I would say, once you’ve completed a challenge, no matter how early in the year it is, consider it done. You can always re-evaluate for next year!

    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      Yeah, I’m not sure I’d be successful at one that was only a week or so. I need at least a month in case life gets in the way.

  5. Tammy @ Books, Bones & Buffy
    Tammy @ Books, Bones & Buffy says:

    I only signed up for one challenge this year (other than Goodreads) and I had forgotten about it until I read this post! Ha ha I guess I’m not doing too well. You’re right, the reading part is fun but the housekeeping isn’t (true in all aspects of housekeeping!)

  6. ShootingStarsMag
    ShootingStarsMag says:

    I do like the shorter challenges because they really DO feel more like a challenge and they tend to be fun. I’m not in a lot of challenges this year, but yeah, the housekeeping part is definitely the hardest for me and besides keeping track of what I read on Goodreads, I keep forgetting to track the rest. LOL I want to do better with some of them, but we’ll see. I do find some of them motivating though like the Backlist Challenge because it keeps reminding me to actually read the older books I’ve been meaning to read. 🙂


    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      Right? I’m pretty much on track to meet my Backlist Challenge goal as long as I don’t slack off and I do like that it reminds me to look at my bookshelf and pick out some books that I already own.

  7. Tanya @ Girl Plus Books
    Tanya @ Girl Plus Books says:

    I actually did the exact opposite of you this year, Suzanne. I signed up for ZERO challenges. It’s not even that I necessarily over-extended myself the previous couple of years but more that I found myself gearing my reading to the challenges instead of reading what I really wanted to read and I had an epiphany. Something along the lines of, “Why exactly am I doing this?” LOL It was actually a combination of things and while they can be fun, I decided that overall challenges just aren’t my thing. I want to read whatever I want to read at any given moment and I don’t want to have to review it, report it, keep track of it, blog about it, etc. if I don’t want to. You mentioned the housekeeping aspect and that was another big one. Posts to announce I was participating, posts for monthly check-ins… I just didn’t want to keep up with it. Sounds like your plan to stick with the shorter-term challenges is the way to go for you.

  8. Aj @ Read All The Things!
    Aj @ Read All The Things! says:

    YES! I do think you can have too many challenges. I’m doing 4 this year, but they’re mostly low-maintenance challenges. Other than updating Goodreads and the challenge page on my blog, I don’t have to do much. I avoid challenges that involve a lot of “housekeeping.” I’d rather put that time into reading or blogging.

    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      Same here. I feel like the housekeeping bits just eat up too much of my time, no matter how organized and systematic I try to be about it.

  9. Kristin (Book Sniffers Anonymous)
    Kristin (Book Sniffers Anonymous) says:

    I am horrible at reading challenges for that same reason. I am so bad at updating them with either doing multiple posts on my blog, editing posts to reflect my reading, or linking up to all my books. Goodreads is probably the only one I do, and I don’t really pay it any mind. I just plug in a number and then read away throughout the year. As for the specific reading challenges, I would say once you hit them, move on to personal reading. Then, if you decide to do the same challenge again, know that you can go a little higher and aim to read more the next time. 🙂

  10. Jenea’s Book Obsession
    Jenea’s Book Obsession says:

    I have kinda a zoo at my house, 4 dogs and two teenagers who like to bicker. So, reading challenges are sometimes a hit or miss with me. Now I do the HOHOHORAT, but that’s about it. 🙂

  11. Angel's Guilty Pleasures
    Angel's Guilty Pleasures says:

    I do enjoy challenges, but I do agree the housekeeping is a struggle. I kept it to 6 Challenges this year, but one I haven’t even touched =/. What I do to help myself keep track is use Goodreads Shelves. For example: 2018-library-love-challenge then when I read or listen to a book from the library I stick it in that shelf. I have several shelves like this. Then after I’m done with the shelf I can delete it. I do this each year! I also have a page dedicated on my blog to each challenge and at the end of the month I will go through my Goodreads list and just add those books read for the challenge onto the page for the challenge. As for linking up to the host challenge. I don’t do that unless they have a giveaway. I will like up my dedicated page when I sign up to the challenge, but that’s it. I try to keep it simple on the housekeeping end. I want to spend my time reading. As for completing the challenges. I’ll not bump up my number, but I will keep adding to it to see what I’ve done for the year.
    Good luck with your challenges and very nice discussion post! ^_^

  12. Greg
    Greg says:

    I’ve never done a TON of challenges but last year I think I did three and that was even too much lol, so this year I did none. I just don’t like having to keep up with the link-ups and all that, and compile numbers etc. For me reading and getting a review out is enough ha ha.

    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      Lol, yeah, that’s what I’m leaning towards as well for next sure. Maybe just a few of the shorter ones that I enjoy.

  13. Sara @ Forever 17 Books
    Sara @ Forever 17 Books says:

    I haven’t done any reading challenges, besides Goodreads, since my 2nd year of blogging. I keep telling myself I should but then never get around to it. But I am like you, I prefer to actually challenge myself and not put a low number to reduce stress (though maybe I should). I know people have said they go way low with Goodreads so no pressure but I really do like the challenge of it.

    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      Yeah, for some reason, I do like to make the GR one somewhat challenging. I don’t know why that one’s different for me, lol.

  14. Kristen @ Metaphors and Moonlight
    Kristen @ Metaphors and Moonlight says:

    I’m literally only doing the discussion challenge, so I have no advice to give lol. The past few years I did the GR challenge, but this year I’m not even doing that one—I just set my goal to 1 book so it would keep track of things for me. I find challenges too stressful. Like you said, it’s not even just the reading, it’s having to keep track of everything and make posts and do link-ups. Nah, it’s not for me!

    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      I do the GR one every year but that’s mainly because I’m actually pretty good about updating the status of my books there for whatever reason. I’m rubbish at keeping track of any of the other ones I do, lol.

  15. bookworm
    bookworm says:

    I can relate to challenge fatigue as well, it is hard to keep up with them but it is definitely fun joining them and making lists.
    I enjoy participating sometimes and the HoHoHo Readathon and the 24 hour readathons are fun. Enjoy your reading challenges!

    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      I’ve actually never tried a 24 hour readathon. I think all of the ones I’ve tried have been a week. Maybe I’ll have to give the 24 hour ones a try sometime 🙂

  16. Amber Elise @ Du Livre
    Amber Elise @ Du Livre says:

    I love the idea of challenges, but I haven’t stuck to a challenge since 2014. Haha. I’ve been doing casual monthly challenges in my bujo like “read a romance by a POC” and “read a 2015 backlist title”. Nothing impressive but it works for me.

  17. Genni @ Ready, Set, Read!
    Genni @ Ready, Set, Read! says:

    I think I’m doing around 4 yearlong challenges, but honestly, I’m not keeping track of them. I also decided to put the numbers around what I already thought I would complete. The housekeeping is my least favorite part. I like having the information, but taking the time to look back through what I’ve read, what corresponds to what challenge, etc. can be a bit tedious. Like you, I plan to do more seasonal and shorter challenges next year. They’re more fun for me, and I tend to be more on top of the housekeeping and keeping the challenge in mind when there is a shorter time frame! As for the discussion posts, I think you are doing great. 🙂 I don’t write discussion posts too often, but they’re always my favorite to read!

  18. Carrie @ Cat on the Bookshelf
    Carrie @ Cat on the Bookshelf says:

    I’m a reading challenge addict, but I try to sign up for challenges that could overlap. For example, the Library Love Challenge overlaps with most others because the only requirement (except for a review) is that it be a library book, and that works with challenges like the Graphic Novel Reading Challenge. I think I’m doing better so far at completing these challenges this year. I felt fatigued a few days ago, but then I realized I wasn’t doing too badly. It’s just daunting.

  19. imyril
    imyril says:

    Ugh, I’m with you – it’s the admin that kills me. It’s enough doing my end of month wrap post; I’ve failed miserably at keeping my Beat the Backlist admin going (oops) and I quit the 365 comments challenge because the admin was more work than the challenge!

    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      Right? I love challenges but really need to find myself some low maintenance ones that are easy to keep up with. I want to read, not do administrative stuff, lol.

  20. Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction
    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction says:

    Honestly, I gave up on all my challenges except the Discussion Challenge this year (since I host that one—it would be more than a little weird if I quit). Like you said, it’s not that keeping up with the challenges was hard, but keeping track, entering the info, etc. was turning into a frustration rather than a help. I LOVE the idea of challenges, and I enjoyed them when I had more time, but lately it’s been a lot more difficult. The only challenge I still really enjoy is the discussion challenge because I like reading everyone’s posts (even if I am running a little behind, as I obviously am this month). But that’s just me.

    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      I love the idea of challenges and wish I had more time to devote to them. I’ll definitely be doing less of them in the future unless I suddenly have a lot more unexpected free time.

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