Any goal with a set threshold is good for those that need the motivation, but after you've developed a habit you should think about getting rid of it. Reaching a certain count is too strict of a framework to use, it narrows your focus and you loose sight of the big picture which becomes limiting. In this case we have quite a few causualities.

  • Lack of white space around your reading time. If you read 20 heavy non-fiction books in a year, how much information will you retain for each, versus reading only 2 ? Your subconscious needs time to digest what it eats and you need time to mull it over. Jumping directly to another book kills this process. The Tao Te Ching is roughly 100 pages but each page is just a simple verse. It’s not something you should plow through, it’s something you have to ponder through the days and weeks and maybe even reread...
  • Rereading. People avoid retreading because they feel like it is a waste of time and, or perhaps because, it only counts as 1. This isn’t necessarily true. Especially when a few years are in between readings, you change as a person so the context (the “you” reading the book) has changed. And sometime you need to reread a book right after you finish to really get it.
  • Magazines and periodicals. Does a New Yorker issue count as 1 book ? What about Barron’s, or half of a Harvard Business Review. There is still content in periodicals that is just as valuable as books, don’t ignore it.
  • Blog posts. In the same vain as magazines, some of the best writing I’ve come across are on blogs or random articles I stumble on and throw into my pocket account. For a time I ignored them to focus on finishing books like a Wall Street thriller from Michael Lewis, but they would have made a bigger impact on my life at the time.
  • Long books. Last year I read Infinite Jest which rang in around a thousand pages. If I was only 50% done with my goal in October I might have not picked it up because taking on such a big book that only counts as 1 would have killed my goal. Your narrow goal makes it preferable to read a 50 page ebook rather than Don Quixote.

You have to ask yourself: what is the point of reading, or performing any habit ? Is it for entertainment, or knowledge, or to find conversation topics ? Thinking about why you do it and what you want to get out of it has to be step one.

For me, learning is far better than achieving a silly goal. Perhaps there are other solutions like a “page count goal” but that would get too tedious. I ended up deleting all my goals and now read for my own purposes. What value do you want to pull out of it ?