Happy Wednesday folks and thank you for checking out my mid-year review post! Today, I’m checking in on new year resolutions I set at the beginning of 2023, weighing in on progress and seeing what action I have to take to set myself up to complete my goals by the end of the year!
I’ll recap my goals in this post, but if you’re interested in going back to my original 2023 Resolutions post, it’s linked here for you.
Let’s get my mid-year review underway!
Goodreads Challenge – Read 50 Books
As of the 30th June, I had read a total of 28 books and was mid way through a 29th. I’m sure you can do the maths and work out that I am more than on-track to meet my reading goal!
My current reading pace is really working for me. I’m about back to my 2020 levels of reading, and that’s without being stuck at home because of the pandemic. I still have time to enjoy other hobbies, as well as the blogging obviously. I think it also helps that I’ve signed up to fewer blog tours this year. I’ve been able to pick up and read books that I have wanted to read for a long time. It feels less like a chore and more like the hobby it is!
Read >15 non-fiction books
I’m a little behind on my reading goal of picking up more than 15 non-fiction books in the year, but not terribly. As of the midway point of this year, I had read 5 non-fiction books. That’s only a couple behind schedule, so this is easily something I can recover from.
I do have a few non-fiction books on my TBR, but it is something I have to consciously include on my reading lists. I definitely have a bias towards reading more fiction than non-fiction. This is something I am aware of, and so I have been trying to incorporate at least one non-fiction book on most of my monthly reading lists.
To catch up, I’m looking at needing to include at least two non-fiction books on most of my reading lists between August and the end of the year. That’s not the end of the world. If I’m honest, it’s probably won’t be difficult to achieve! The average page count of a non-fiction book could well equal half of the average fantasy novel I read. Swapping out the odd one of these in favour of non-fiction won’t be a problem!
Read 30 Minutes Daily
When I set my goal of trying to read at least 30 minutes every day, it was with the intention to make reading a regular habit as opposed to something I binge. I have to say, I’ve never been too bad on that front. Reading is certainly a habit and it’s something I do most days.
I haven’t read every single day in the first half of the year, and that is perfectly okay. Yes, I read a lot. But, between working full time, drafting content for my blog and the odd social event, there are days where it just isn’t feasible. There are days when I’m not in the mood. That’s fine too. Broadly speaking, I read several days in a week and that’s more than enough to make sure that reading is a habit. It’s a habit I’ll continue to foster as much as possible.
Finish Book Series
I have only finished (or caught up on) a few series so far this year, but that’s not to say I’m not making progress towards completing others.
I’ve read 10 books in the first half of 2023 that involve continuing series I’ve started, or indeed finishing it. If you’ve read my original 2023 Resolutions post, you will know that I have a lot of ongoing series! A lot of them are lengthy as well. We have everything on this ‘ongoing list’ from duologies or trilogies to multipart part series. The longest is 41, but I have several others that sit closer to the 13-16 book range.
This was never going to be a quick goal to achieve. That said, I’m really enjoying making progress with the series I’ve already started and taking the time to prioritise them this year. They are generally very highly-rated books by me. Some of those I’ve been reading towards are series that I haven’t picked up in several years (The Dark Tower by Stephen King, for example). It’s great to have a reason to go back and revisit them!
I feel like overall, I’m making good progress towards my goals for 2023. I’ll be looking to step up with more non-fiction reads, but other than that, I’m pretty on track!
Thanks for checking out my mid-year review post!
Did you set yourself any resolutions or goals for 2023? Are you on track to achieve them?
Hello everybody and welcome to my review of my 2022 resolutions. This week I have shared my monthly wrap for December, my 2023 resolutions, and my January TBR. We are ending the working week with a review of my resolutions set for 2022, whether I succeeded with those goals and if I can do anything better.
At the beginning of last year, I set myself three goals – to take part in the Goodreads Reading Challenge, to take a more flexible approach with the reading lists I was setting myself every month in 2022, and lastly, to work on the admin side of managing my blog, and being more effective at doing so.
Let’s take a look at how I did over the course of 2022!
Goodreads Challenge – Read 40 books
In 2021, I deliberately didn’t set myself a reading goal as I was burned out. I didn’t want to compound that by constraining myself with a target. I had every intention of reading just as much as I would in any other year. Somehow, I was surprised when that didn’t happen. I read approximately 25 books in 2021. Don’t get me wrong, that’s more than a lot of people. But, if I’m completely honest with myself, I knew I could have done more.
With that in mind, I decided to resume taking part in the Goodreads Reading Challenge for 2022. So as not to overwhelm myself, I set myself a modest target of 40 books. I wanted to give myself a number that I could work towards, but not set so lofty a goal that I set myself up to fail. Ultimately, my aim for this year was to read more whilst maintaining a healthy balance of doing other things I love as well.
As of the end of the year, I had read a total of 47 books. Not only did I meet my target, but I did surpass it slightly. For a brief while, I entertained the notion of pushing it to 50 books, but I’m glad I didn’t. In December, I read some very chunky fantasy that meant that I didn’t get around to the volume of books, even if I was reading a significant volume of pages!
All in all, I got my reading motivation back in 2022, which is what I wanted. However, I didn’t do it at the expense of anything else. I’ve given myself the time and flexibility for other hobbies and activities. This is exactly what I wanted from this resolution. So, in my opinion, it was a resounding success!
In my 2022 resolutions post, I set myself a goal of being more flexible with my reading list. Historically, I set myself an entirely fixed list for the whole month. At the beginning of 2022, I changed this stance slightly. Instead, I set a mostly fixed reading list, with the option of one or two mood reads at the end of the month. This was a good idea in theory, but more often than not, I was only just getting to the end of the fixed list by the end of the month, if at all, so I never actually got the benefit of allowing myself mood reads. I decided to stick with this approach though to give it a fair chance.
It wasn’t until June that I changed my stance again. When setting my June reading list, I couldn’t decide what to read. I kept changing my mind. In the end, I decided to accept the mood I was in and set just one fixed read on my TBR, keeping the rest as mood reads. Finally, I got to see the benefit of the flexibility I was trying to allow myself.June, in theory, should have been one of my worst reading months, as I sat an exam at the end of that month. However, it was one of my best reading months of the year. Naturally, it was at this point of the year that I took the decision to allow myself more flexibility again, changing my reading lists to just a handful of fixed reads, and the majority being mood reads.
Having looked back at my reading progress throughout the year, I read 23 books prior to the end of June, and 24 more by the end of December. In terms of book count, that’s a fairly even split. However, I read slightly chunkier books in the second half of the year. Whilst the end result may be very similar, I was definitely happier with my reading in the second half of the year. There is no tangible evidence that reading was better in the second half of the year other than my subjective opinion that I enjoyed it more. That’s enough for me!
I’m really happy with the approach I’ve taken throughout the year and the changes I’ve made. What I have learned since starting my blog is that I work differently at different times. In the past, having a totally fixed list has worked for me. There are times when it hasn’t. There are times when I’ve allowed myself complete flexibility, and that has worked. Again, there are times when it hasn’t. More recently, I’ve taken this hybrid approach and that is currently working for me. I need to be flexible with myself and understand what mindset I’m in as to which approach is best at any given time. None of them are wrong. If I need to change the way I’m doing things in the moment, I need to just do it.
Blog Post Writing
In my 2022 resolutions post, I set myself a goal to be more organised with writing my blog posts. The aim was to draft blog posts approximately one week ahead of schedule. This would give me leeway to get post out to you on time. In my midyear review, this was the goal I hadn’t made much progress towards, but I was determined to turn this around.
I did get myself to a point where I was drafting blog posts ahead of schedule. It was really handy if something came up, or I just wasn’t in the mood to blog on a particular evening. My blogging schedule wasn’t compromised by this. What I didn’t foresee, however, is that logistically, some posts can’t be drafted ahead of time. For example, my month-end wrapups have some degree of last-minuteness to them. Even if I was drafting the majority of these posts ahead of time, I was having to finish them off last minute anyway.
Another thing I didn’t consider was that drafting things ahead of time was going to be confusing. Particularly when I was drafting my Sunday Summary posts, I would get confused with what was coming up in the following week compared to what I’d just drafted, as that was for the week ahead of that.
Ultimately, it has its benefits and its drawbacks. I have now reverted back to drafting blog posts in the week they are due to go live. Personally, I find this easier to manage. However, I have started being more forward-thinking to make sure my posts go out with fewer unforeseen changes to the schedule. Rather than drafting blog posts on the night they’re going live, I’m more likely to draft them a day or two ahead of time. It is a compromise, but equally not a perfect approach either. I have had a blog post delayed slightly since going back this way. But, for the most part, things go out as expected.
Overall, I would say that I have made progress towards this goal somewhat, even if it is not in the way I envisioned at the beginning of the year. And, it’s one of those things that will be constantly evolving. Sometimes, it will be a benefit to draft the week ahead of time, and I will do so. Likewise, sometimes it’s not possible and I will just have to manage my time and roll with it.
Read more Non-fiction
An additional goal I added to my resolutions in July 2022 was to read more non-fiction. You know me, I am very heavy in the fantasy and science-fiction genres. I really enjoy reading these, as well as other fiction novels. However, I like to learn new things. I’m always looking for ways to improve myself. Naturally, these are the kind of itches I can scratch with a non-fiction novel. When I drafted my midyear review in July, I set up my intention to add at least one non-fiction novel to each month for TBR, which I did.
However, I didn’t always read a non-fiction book in each month up until the end of the year. In a lot of cases, my chosen non-fiction read was downloaded in audiobook format, which is my slowest way of reading. As a result, it often took me longer to finish my non-fiction reads than I anticipated. At the end of the year, I succeeded in reading three non-fiction novels. An additional novel I had started by the end of the year, but not finished, was Queen of Our Times by Robert Jordan.
Admittedly, in the second half of the year, I read as many non-fiction books after setting the goal as I did before I set it. However, I did have more non-fiction books on my TBR; picking them up was a more conscious decision. It was something I was deliberately making time for rather than just allowing to happen naturally.
I wasn’t so successful in completing this goal. If you have read my 2023 resolutions post, you will know I have set myself a similar, but slightly different goal towards this end. This is something I can definitely work on more, and that is my intention in 2023.
So, those are my thoughts on how well I did (or didn’t) do in completing my 2022 resolutions! Did you set yourself any resolutions last year? How did you do? Have you set any goals for this year?
Hello everyone and welcome to my mid-year review post for 2022. In this post I’m going to take a look at the goals I set myself at the start of this year in my 2022 New Year Goals/Resolutions post. I’m going to evaluate where I’m up to so far, amend if necessary, and maybe even add another…
At the beginning of the year, I set myself three primary goals. After a year off, I wanted to take part in the Goodreads Reading Challenge once again. I enjoyed my break, however, I felt that taking part in the challenge provides me with some much-needed motivation. I also set myself a challenge regarding how I structure my reading. In previous years I have gone from one extreme of setting a static list for the month, to setting no list at all. I found that neither approach works perfectly for me, and so I challenged myself to take a more hybrid approach. Lastly, I set myself a challenge to get more organised with my blog post writing.
Of all the challenges set so far, I feel like the last of those is the only one where there is a lot to be desired. But, more on that below!
Goodreads Challenge – 40 books
40 books isn’t an overly ambitious target (for me), but it’s one that I felt I could reasonably achieve. When you consider that last year I only read about 25 books, it’s a step up. Equally, my record has been reading 72 books in one year.
That is a lot, and I don’t think it’s an amount I will ever achieve again. It’s partly because I went so hard at this that I ended up slumping last year. I’d rather take a slower and steady approach, and this is how I got to my target of 40.
At the end of June, I had completed 23 books and only DNF’d one! I’m pleased with this progress, as not only am I on track, but I’m also not so far ahead that I’ve made the challenge too easy. In previous years I have upped my goal because I had underestimated myself.
Here are the details of the books I’ve read in the last six months:
Obviously, things can change in the next six months. I will be doing another review at the end of August with regards to my Goodreads challenge, but for now, it’s staying where it is!
I have definitely been taking a more flexible approach to my reading list, although I don’t think I found the balance just yet. It may be that this is a constantly moving target and I just need to be a little bit adaptable with myself.
At the beginning of the year, I was setting myself a monthly TBR that was approximately 2/3 fixed and 1/3 flexible. I thought I would benefit from having more in the way of structure, with the opportunity to pick up anything I like at the end of the month if I get through those books. There are months where this worked, and there are months where this didn’t work quite so much.
It is only more recently that I have allowed myself a little more freedom. I was finding that a lot of the time, I wasn’t really getting to my mood reads, or I was only just getting to them towards the end of the month. That doesn’t really give me what I was setting out to achieve.
Quite by chance, I tried a different approach in June. When trying to set myself a TBR, I kept changing my mind as to what I wanted to read. I only had one real reading commitment, and so in the end I decided to set this as my only fixed read and to allow myself the flexibility with everything else during the month. As it happens, I did end up sticking with the books I’d penciled in, but I think the mentality that allowing myself the flexibility gave memotivation. This was also during a time when I had an exam to prepare for, and in theory, it should have been one of my worst months. But in reality, I think it was my best!
I want to continue with this more flexible approach in future.
So, in the meantime, I’m going to set myself a limit of only setting half of a monthly TBR as ‘fixed books’, although if I can be more flexible with myself then that is what I will try to do. This is dependent on reading commitments, so I’m not going to sign myself up for too much so that I can’t fulfill this goal.
Blog Post Writing
At the beginning of this year, I set myself the challenge to be more organised with writing my blog posts. Primarily, I wanted to pull my finger out and get my posts scheduled at least a week in advance. That way, if there are any unpleasant surprises, or I’m not in the mood, I had some leeway to get post out to you on time.
This is the only goal that I haven’t done so well with. I am still writing posts pretty much as and when they are scheduled to go up. This very post itself is already delayed from my original intended posting date, so that illustrates how I’m still struggling with this!
I’m going to make a concerted effort to start preparing my posts in a more timely fashion. It won’t take that much effort, but I just need to be a little bit more disciplined with myself in order to make this change a habit. Once it’s a habit, it’ll be golden.
Read more Non-fiction
I am well on the way with two out of three of my existing challenges. I have been considering adding an additional challenge for myself this year, and I have plenty of books that will allow me to do this.
As an avid learner, I would like to pick up more non-fiction books. Be it memoirs/biographies, histories or books aimed at personal development, I would like to explore the genre in more detail. It is one of the least read on my blog overall, and I would like to change that.
With this in mind, I am setting myself the challenge of reading/listening to at least one non-fiction book a month. I can either include this as part of my fixed TBR, or I can pick it up on a whim. Tying in with my existing challenge regarding reading lists, I’m going to make this fit within that. In June I listened to Hell by Jeffrey Archer, one of his prison diaries published in 2003. I have another non-fiction book ready for my July TBR, so this is a good start to this brand-new challenge!
So, that is where I am up to with my 2022 goals, and what I would like to make progress with in the next six months.
Have you set yourself any goals for 2022, and are you on track?