As you may have seen if you’re been around the blog for a while, throughout 2018 I have been doing check-ins for my yearly resolutions as a way of keeping me accountable to more people than just myself. At the end of the first quarter of 2018, I posted my first check-in, at the end of June I posted my second check-in, and my third check-in came at the beginning of October. Today’s post is my fourth and final quarterly check-in and will, ultimately, also deliberate on whether I completed my goals and aims for 2018 or not.
(If you need/want an in-depth reminder of my 2018 Resolutions you can find that post here before diving in to see how I did below.)
1. Complete Goodreads 52 Books goal
At my last check-in I’d read 63 books and I mentioned that I was hoping to get to 75 by the end of 2018. well, I surpassed that. I’m quite proud of myself for that. Presuming I finish off the book I’m currently reading tonight before that arbitrary ticking over of the clock from 11.59pm on 31st December 2018 to 12.00am on 1st January 2019 then I will have read 83 books in 2018 and will be rather pleased with myself for that.
2. Complete Around the Year in 52 Books
Progress on this slowed considerably in the third quarter of 2018, and I had many challenges left. December dawning weirdly motivated me to keep going because I was behind but not insurmountably so, if I just sat down and worked out what I needed to read to complete the challenge. As I sit and type this post up, it’s New Year’s Eve and I have one book left to finish the challenge of “a gothic novel”. About 120 pages stand between me and saying I completed Around the Year in 52 Books so I’m going to optimistically say I’ve completed this resolution and hope that, by doing so, I haven’t damned myself.
3. Finish off the books in a series I have yet to read
As mentioned at my last check-in, I didn’t even think about finishing any series and that tradition carried on into the rest of 2018 too. It just wasn’t a priority for me anymore and, do you know what? I think I’m ok with that.
4. Finish War and Peace and read another Russian classic
It’s becoming a joke right now but, nope, I still haven’t finished War and Peace. It’s getting faintly a little ridiculous now. I just can’t decide if I’m going to need to start afresh or at least read a length summary of the first five volumes before I can finally read the sixth part of the book – not wanting to face up to this possibility is what has definitely put me off picking up Tolstoy’s brick again. I also didn’t read another Russian classic but, hey, I read a huge French classic in the form of The Count of Monte Cristo so does that count?
5. Read at least 5 classics
In the last quarter of the year I read Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell, And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, The Tell-Tale Heart, The Black Cat and The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allen Poe, and re-read A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. This is on top of Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary, The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas, Thérèse Raquin by Émile Zola, and a re-read of Pride and Prejudice which I completed earlier in the year so, yes, I think I’ve managed quite nicely in 2018. I’ll be making a point of doing this in 2019 too and joining the Classics Club has definitely helped me to make this a priority.
1. Concentrate on quality not quantity and work on finding that blogging tone that I’m happy with
As I said at the last check-in, I really feel like I’ve reconciled these two things in my own head. Prior to 2018, I used to force myself to churn out posts if I “needed” one for a specific day, or I used to scout around for an “easy” post to fill up a missing slot in my schedule. I don’t let myself do this now, I only let myself post things if I feel they’re worth writing and reading. I still might be not quite happy with my blogging tone as I still don’t think my voice is particularly unique (but that’s part of a whole bigger personal complex I have that I won’t go into right now) but I’m getting there.
2. Utilise scheduling fully
I really think 2018 was the year that I fully appreciated how much easier it is to blog when you write things in advance and schedule them. This was especially the case when it came to Blogmas in December. I think I did reasonably well at this over the course of the year as a whole and I hope to continue this momentum into 2019 and have some kind of proper blogging schedule.
3. Write more reviews
Verdict: Completed (ish)
I’ve done better in the last quarter at going back and reviewing a few books here and there. I still am nowhere near close enough to having reviewed everything I wanted to in 2018 but I’m hoping to find the motivation early next year to clear off the remaining priority reviews I want to get written and then the rest can be left in the past and I’ll just have to be ok with that. In 2019 I want to use Instagram and Twitter more to quickly review books once I’ve finished them so I’m hoping that this tactic will also help spur me on to write full reviews too if the mood strikes me. Watch this space…
4. Be more active in the online community
Verdict: Completed (ish)
The last quarter of the year saw me take part (to varying levels of success) in Victober, Tome Topple, and Christmas at Hogwarts – and I’m pleased that I still managed to take part in these readathons whilst also reading for my yearly reading challenges. I’d say this goal was only semi-achieved though because I still don’t feel like I’m active enough in the online community to really feel like a proper part of it. I want to make more of my blog and my Instagram in 2019 so I’m hoping that this will help me engage with my fellow book lovers more.
5. Write more travel and more general lifestyle posts when I want to
Verdict: Completed (ish)
I have most blogged just about books, it’s true, but I’ve started to put together my travel posts about Disney and I think I’m getting better at sitting down to write them, with the handy aid of photographs from the trips to help me. I haven’t written my Barcelona post yet, mostly because I didn’t know what form it should take, but I’m hoping to have everything written and published by the end of January so I’d say I am allowing myself to write more varied posts when I want to and so I’ve done ok on this goal.
1. Continue to exercise regularly
It’s safe to say that the last quarter of 2018 saw this resolution just completely fall to pieces. Disney was weirdly incredible for this resolution in many ways because you walk miles every single day without even realising. However, once I returned to England (and reality) and nights got darker and the weather got colder, I found myself slacking with exercise. I can’t say that I completed this goal for the year because I just abandoned it mostly in the last few months of the year and it’s one of the things that I’m most disappointed in myself for. This will be making an appearance in my 2019 goals for sure because I need to prioritise looking after myself and my body more than I currently do.
2. Start actively learning things I wish I knew how to do
At the last check-in, I decided to abandon this, and since then I haven’t looked back in
anger disappointment at seeing the back of this resolution. Trying to quantify this is difficult, I think, so I doubt this kind of thing will make an appearance in 2019’s resolutions.
3. Keep a bullet journal/journal for the whole year
I really feel in love with the bullet journal method. I may not do my weekly spreads like seemingly everyone else does, but it has helped to keep me accountable and make me do more with my reading and blogging. I’ll be continuing to use one in 2019 and will try some more creative or innovative spreads too.
4. Continue to say “yes” to more events/gigs/shows and going to new places
The last quarter of the year saw the much anticipated trip to Florida to visit Universal and Disney World, as well as seeing Hamilton and Measure for Measure in London after we flew back into Gatwick. The first week of December was also our rearranged Harry Potter Studio Tour at Watford and I very much enjoyed that. The first quarter of 2019 alone will bring a Kaiser Chiefs gig and a Rhod Gilbert gig and me and Liz have also booked tickets to see a play in London in May (Betrayal because my love for Tom Hiddleston knows no bounds and apparently I’ll watch Pinter for that man) and to catch Les Misérables when it tours through Liverpool for my birthday. I also got tickets to see Ian McKellen’s tour… thing… when he comes to Liverpool so, all in all, I think I’ve said “yes” to many opportunities, and it’s clearly something I still prioritise.
5. Stop wasting time
Do you know what? At initial reaction, I was going to say I’d failed this… but I don’t think I have. I’m now a lot more aware of my own rhythms and moods. 2018 also helped me to realise how I spiral into a mentality where I feel terrible about myself if I slump around all weekend, unless I’ve sectioned off a day in which to specifically do this. I’ll be very mindful of this moving into 2019 and we’ve already got some fun outings and tickets for stuff planned, so I’m all ready to make the most of my 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)
Verdict: Completed (ish)
The house is definitely better overall than it was at the start of 2018. However, at this present moment, it’s likely untidy, due to the fallout of Christmas and we still haven’t found space for all of the knick knacks we bought at Disney back in October/November. One of the first things I’m writing in my 2019 bullet journal is a to-do list for tidying the house the first weekend of the year, so I’m hoping to keep working on improving the space in the house so we can keep on top of the tidying better in 2019.
2. Cook more varied meals (at least 1 new recipe a month)
Back at the last check-in, I abandoned this goal. It was never at any point in the year a priority for me, and I think that was half of the problem. I don’t enjoy cooking, it’s not something I’ve ever really enjoyed (though I do like food), and I can’t see that changing. I’m sure that in 2019 I’ll try to eat healthier and cook a couple of new things here and there but I think putting a quantifiable resolution to it isn’t the way forward for me.
3. Save at least £100 a month and don’t touch it!
This is still something that happens, like clockwork, every month. As it got to the end of the year, I did have to dip into the savings to pay off things like the Disney holiday but I don’t see that as a failure since I’d earmarked that money for it already. This is definitely something I will continue to do in 2019.
4. Keep in touch with friends/family better
Yeah, overall, this hasn’t been great this year. I’ve seen my friends only a handful of times, but that’s the peril of people having their own lives outside of school now! We have a WhatsApp group and I think sometimes that creates the illusion that we keep in touch, but I could do much better.
5. Work harder at work and be proud of work I do/seek opportunities for advancing at work
Since the last check-in, I’ve had my yearly performance review and my line manager has said he’s really happy with how I’ve been settling into the new role. The role is something that has been invented due to needs of some of the companies we partner with, and my job is basically to act as a point of contact both ways and co-ordinate between the company I work for and our two partners. I think it’s a role I’m suited to and people who work for the partner organisations seem to vaguely likely me… so I’d call that a success? I’m hoping to gain more confidence in the role next year, now that we’ve had almost a year of transition, and to really work on finding my feet (and my voice) in my role.
All in all, I think I did reasonably well with my 2018 Resolutions. I can’t deny that it’s been an up and down year but, on the whole, my 2018 was pretty good, even if (personally speaking) I haven’t felt good about myself at key moments of the year. But that isn’t something that can be easily quantified or judged (and sometimes a little bit of retrospection is needed first) so I can’t rightfully say I “failed” 2018 by any stretch of the imagination, even if I can say that I need to work on my personal and “adult better” goals more. I’m going into 2019 relatively optimistic about the year ahead because I’ve now gained an appreciation and awareness that goal setting is something that is useful but isn’t the be-all-and-end-all of my life and nor should it be the be-all-and-end-all of anyone’s. (That’s much too much pressure!) Even so, it’s nice to have a bit of structure and something to aim for so, if for no other reason but that, I’d say my 2018 Resolutions were very handy indeed.
Did you make New Years’ Resolutions or goals for this year?
How did you do? Will you be making resolutions for 2019?