Yep, as you can see from the title of this, this is one of those posts – an overly optimistic goal-setting for the year ahead in the form of New Year’s Resolutions.
For the first time in years, I had a pretty good year in 2017 in terms of resolution fulfilling. I finally stopped just saying I’d do things and actually did them. This was all in the spirit of putting my money where my mouth was and a just do it attitude. I think this was the secret to this year’s success, along with a healthy realisation that life is too fucking short and you can’t take it with you, this is it, this is life, so if you have the chance to live it and to do something, do it, before you can’t.
It sounds simple, doesn’t it? Realising it and enacting it are two very different things though… and in that spirit, I’m going to continue into 2018 and hope that the upcoming year is as successful. Let’s get to these resolutions and goals which, I warn you, are probably far too numerous… buckle in, guys!
1. Complete Goodreads 52 Books goal
The Goodreads Reading Challenge has become a pretty standard goal of mine in the last few years and I’ve done well at this resolution so I see no reason to break with tradition. I like to keep it at approximately a book a week because that sounds very manageable but allows for reading slumps or focusing on chunkier books, if I so choose.
2. Complete Around the Year in 52 Books
I tried a few reading challenges in 2017 and the one I enjoyed the most is Around the Year in 52 Books – the challenges were super fun and pushed me just enough outside my comfort zone so I’m really looking forward to seeing what 2018’s challenges are.
3. Finish off the books in a series I have yet to read
This resolution haunts me – I’ve been meaning to finish off several series for years and if I don’t make it a proper resolution then I won’t ever prioritise it. Anna from Reader and Proud has created a reading challenge called Series to Finish and I’m sure participating in this will help me to complete this goal nicely. I’m not optimistic or deluded enough to think I’m going to catch up on every single series I’ve started but just making progress would be a start.
4. Finish War and Peace and read another Russian classic
I’m annoyed that I still haven’t finished War and Peace because I really was enjoying it when I was in the swing of reading it. So I need to prioritise finishing it early in 2018. And then because I’m a masochist I’d also like to read another unwieldy Russian classic, either Anna Karenina, Crime and Punishment, or Doctor Zhivago. Anyone crazy enough to want to join in and buddy read it? I’m considering hosting a readalong if anyone is since the War and Peace Newbies Readalong hosted by Laura from Reading in Bed was the only thing that got me this far through War and Peace!
5. Read at least 5 classics
Because I’m not satisfied in just being a masochist about Russian classics, apparently. Setting a numerical goal of classics to read last year really helped me to actually read more classics – crazy, huh? I’m not sure which books I want to read but it’s safe to say I have quite a few waiting in the wings for me to read them.
1. Concentrate on quality not quantity and work on finding that blogging tone that I’m happy with
If Blogmas has taught me one thing it’s that it’s hard to blog regularly and keep up the quality of content I aspire to have. I love weekly memes like Top Ten Tuesday and Top Five Wednesday and I enjoy doing a good tag or two, but I often lean on them waaay too much for content. I got into a blogging rut a while back but Blogmas has made me realise what blog posts I actually enjoy writing and I figure I should definitely prioritise those over relatively “easy posts” like Top 5 Wednesday. I have a couple of projects I want to work on (with accompanying blog posts) and I hope to work on my posts a lot more carefully in the future.
2. Utilise scheduling fully
Coupled with the previous goal, I really need to make sure to write posts in advance (so I don’t rely on quick-to-write posts) and work blog writing sessions into my weekly routine, perhaps I can set aside Saturday or Sunday morning for writing? Scheduling during Blogmas was the only way I made it through the twenty four days, and scheduling definitely took some of the pressure off blogging which really ought to be a low-pressure activity after all!
3. Write more reviews
This resolution has made an appearance for a few years now, to no avail. I would love to say I’ll review every single thing I read but, let’s be real, that’s not gonna happen. However, I really would like to write at least some kind of review for every book I read so I’ve decided to switch to a mini review format (100 words or less) for ALL books and then I can write fuller reviews for ones I want to review further. That sounds much more manageable, right?
4. Be more active in the online community
I do feel much more involved in the book community than I used to but I would still like to be even more active in the book blogging community. Participating in readathons and weekly blogging posts probably helped with that so it’s a good idea to continue it by reading and commenting on other people’s blogs and joining in more fully with readathons, Goodreads groups, Twitter chats etc. If you know of any weekly Twitter chats please do let me know because I’m desperately seeking some!
5. Write more travel and more general lifestyle posts when I want to
I’ve travelled to a couple of places this past year and I’ve had positive feedback on the blog posts I wrote about them so I don’t see any harm in expanding my blog content a little. Obviously this is dependent on me actually going places and doing things other than just reading but, hey, given my other resolutions hopefully this is doable. We’ll see where this goes…
1. Continue to exercise regularly
This time last year I would have laughed in your face if you’d told me I would belong to a gym and go semi-regularly. But I actually don’t hate it. I don’t mind Zumba and I’m curious to try some more gym classes since I think going to a class regularly is the way to go. Let’s hope 2018 sees me getting into a routine where I do a class at least once a week plus another gym session. (Let’s start small, shall we?)
2. Start actively learning things I wish I knew how to do
I spend a lot of time lamenting not being able to do things. If I spent that time learning how to do things rather than focusing on the fact I can’t do things, I’d probably be able to do said things… like braiding and styling hair, curling hair, wearing lipstick/mascara/eyeliner. Yes, I suck at being a girl, but I’d like to be better – years ago I didn’t wear make up because I didn’t know how to apply it and now I wear it for work every (week)day so clearly it’s possible to change and incorporate something into your life.
3. Keep a bullet journal/journal for the whole year
I fell into the proverbial black hole that is bullet journaling and I haven’t managed to crawl out yet. 2017 was great for me figuring out just how best to use a bullet journal in my lifestyle and I’d like to continue it into 2018 because I think I manage my time a lot better when I use it. Given the other resolutions I have, I’m going to need it for that reason!
4. Continue to say “yes” to more events/gigs/shows and going to new places
This year has been (more so than any other year in my life) the year of saying yes to going to shows and gigs and musicals and planning trips. It’s been the year when I realised that you can buy material stuff (like a new laptop or a book even) any time if you have the funds but getting to see one of your favourite bands play live or seeing your favourite musical isn’t something that’s necessarily always going to be there waiting for you. Likewise with holidays- I’m incredibly lucky to be in a financial position where I can plan to go on holiday but I’m also in a place in my life where I have very little commitments or responsibilities that prevent me from travelling so I should capitalise on this freedom whilst I can and say “yes” if an opportunity comes my way.
5. Stop wasting time
This isn’t easily quantified or measured but I think it’s good to have this general attitude in mind in 2018. I need to make like Alexander Hamilton and write “like you’re running out of time”, except less on the writing and more on life in general. Saying this and keeping it in mind constantly are two very different things but on a very practical micro level, I don’t want to completely waste weekend mornings any more or write off doing anything on a weekday because I’ve been at work and it’s easy to use that as an excuse to just go home at 5pm and slob about the house until bedtime. I’d like to get on a more responsible sleep schedule so that I can still have a bit of a lie in on weekends but not totally write off the day by sleeping until midday – I want to stop wasting time.
“ADULT BETTER” GOALS
1. Do the “odd jobs” around the house that I’ve been meaning to do for months and clean house (regularly)
It’s safe to say that both Liz and I still have things we want to do in the house to “finish it”. There’s always another picture or shelf that needs to be hung or a mirror that I need to buy. I want to finally do these things. In a fit of productivity some weeks ago, me and Liz grabbed a set of nails and a hammer and hung two pictures that I’d been meaning to hang ever since I finished painting my room. It took us all of five minutes and it made me feel so much less anxious about things being “unfinished” so I think I should prioritise sorting out the rest of the odd jobs around the house.
Also we don’t keep the house all that clean and it gets me itchy and anxious when we don’t have a clean kitchen. I need to deep clean things properly so then it’s just a case of regularly wiping stuff down.
2. Cook more varied meals (at least 1 new recipe a month)
I should explain something – Liz is a great cook and enjoys it, whereas I don’t find it particularly fun so it’s easy to let Liz make yummy food and not think about cooking anything other than my usual – bolognese, chilli, risotto. However, we have a bunch of cookbooks that I’ve never used so I’d like to at least try one recipe a month, that’s just twelve over the course of a full year – that’s doable, right?
3. Save at least £100 a month (bujo tracker?) and don’t touch it!
In the past year I’ve tried to make sure I save some of my pay check like a responsible little adult, some goes into my pension and some goes into savings. Since I have a clear reason for savings (Disney World at the end of October) I really do need to keep up this saving lark. Perhaps combining this with my desire to fully utilise my bullet journal will see me using a tracker to keep myself accountable to this resolution.
4. Keep in touch with friends/family better
Being back home over Christmas has made me realise how much I miss my friends and family. I live across the country (though admittedly England isn’t a particularly large country) and whilst I FaceTime my mum weekly and Facebook means I see passively what’s going on in my friends lives, I don’t really feel like I really keep up with what’s happening with people. I hate that, I hate that I’ve become so disconnected so I’m going to make more of an effort to keep up with friends that are now spread all across the country, even if that’s just by messaging them every so often.
5. Work harder at work and be proud of work I do/seek opportunities for advancing at work
2018 is sure to bring a lot more responsibility at work, and I’m so ready for that. I’ve been at my job since May and it simultaneously feels like I’ve been working there for barely any time and also like I’ve been there forever – it’s weird but I think that means I’ve found my place in the organisation? We’re a small team which means that even though I’m still a relative newbie there, my bosses are always keen to give me new projects and responsibilities if they think I can handle it… and I guess they think I can??!? So I want to make sure I go into 2018 fully ready and enthused to work as hard as possible at work – start as you mean to go on etc etc!
Phew, well there we have it, there are my 2018 goals/resolutions – will you wish me luck/keep me accountable so that I achieve them? I’m gonna need it!
What are your resolutions for the upcoming year? Do you like making resolutions or do you think they’re a waste of time? Do you think it’s better to have very specific (numerical-based) goals or more general ones? Please do share below, I’d love to chat about your attitude towards resolution-making, ambitions, and planning for the year ahead.