Failure, Inspiration, and My Reading Experience in 2018

My reading resolution taught me a lot, and it came right down to the wire…

Aaron Charles
29 min readJan 1, 2019


I could hear the fireworks relentlessly popping outside the window. The celebration had begun, and the clock in the hallway sealed things as it rang in the new hour and with it a new year. You’d think I’d be joining in the celebration. But no, the fireworks felt like they were mocking me instead.

I was sitting in a chair with a book in hand. Reading is something I enjoy thoroughly, but even it seemed to be mocking me in that moment too. Everything seemed to be mocking me.

You see, I began 2018 with a reading goal of 20 books. Last year when I wrote the previous version of this post, I had the same goal but had fallen short by reading only 14. I decided to keep my reading goal at 20, and I entered the final day of the year having read 19 books. I brought Michelle Obama’s new memoir Becoming with us on our trip out to see Sarah’s brother, sister-in-law, and our new baby niece. It was to be my final read of the year. With the clock winding down on 2018, I still hadn’t finished the book.

Finally, after reading for almost the entire evening, I finished the book. But the fireworks had already died down, and the clock had finished chiming. I looked at the time.


After all that, I had missed my goal by a measly 19 minutes. But, as I went to sleep early in the first morning hours of 2019, I thought about my “failure” a little bit more. Yes, I had once again fallen short of my goal. But I was very proud of myself for not giving up on the goal on that last day of the year. I easily could have looked at the size of the book and the pages left to read and just set it down to go to bed. But I kept reading and gave it my best shot. I just came up a little short.

More than that, though, I don’t think reading is ever a failure. Reading is an activity I hold in the highest regard. I’ve learned so much from reading this year. To me, that is the takeaway.

So, as we move into the new year, let me pause for a second to take a step back and reflect on what my 2018 reading taught me. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the last book I read in 2018…



Aaron Charles

Christ-follower. Husband to @SarahLCharles. Simple moments hold great power. Connect with me at my website: