Tag: Reading Resolutions

My 2024 Reading Resolutions!

Good evening fellow readers! I’m excited to be looking ahead into the year just started and sharing some of my reading goals and resolutions with you.

Are you setting yourself any reading resolutions this year?

Some of my goals will be similar to those I set last year. I’ve set myself a goodreads reading challenge for six out of the last seven years, and 2024 is no exception! I am also setting myself one identical goal to last year, and modifying another. Lastly, I have another resolution that’s not specific to my reading, but to my blog and social media accounts. This is the most different of them all, and the goal that I’m going to have to work on the hardest this year.

Let’s go through the specifics of each goal and why I’m committing to the resolution in 2024:-

 

Reading Goals

 

Goodreads Challenge – 60 books

In last year’s resolution post, I set myself a goal of 50 books. I wanted to up my reading slightly from the previous year (47 books). It wasn’t much of a push as resolutions go, but in reality I managed to exceed this goal by a further 10 books.

If I had to choose a word that sums up what I want to achieve this year, it’s consistency. I’m not looking to push myself hard. The reading pace I’ve maintained in 2023 has allowed me to enjoy a vast array of different books, but not to the detriment of other hobbies. I’ve had time to play games, enjoy my crafts and spend time with the people I love. I want to maintain that.

With this in mind, I am looking to match my 2023 reading pace. That’s why I am setting myself a goal of 60 books. Like I say, I want to be consistent this year. Although I’m not pushing myself with this goal, I would also like to point out that I have only exceeded reading 60 books a year twice. Remember, that’s out of seven years that I have been blogging and reading ‘seriously’. It’s still a pretty high target for me, but definitely achievable!

 

Read >15 non-fiction

Do you remember in the intro to this post that I mentioned one goal coming back again exactly as I had it last year? This is it!

Although I had to make a conscious effort to read all the non-fiction books I did last year, I’m glad I did it. Open until then, I had been a very fiction-heavy reader. There’s nothing wrong with that, but there is also a wealth of knowledge and experience that can be picked up through non-fiction. Up until last year, I wasn’t really benefitting from it. 

Given that I achieved this goal in 2023 with completion of my 16th non-fiction book on the 24th of December, I would say that just over 15 is a sensible number. That’s also 25% of my target reading for the year, after all.

Again, this is definitely an achievable goal as I’ve done it before. Will I get competitive with myself and try to read more than 16 books this year? We’ll just have to see.

 

Finish 10 Series

This last reading goal is a more specifically defined reading goal than I had last year. In my 2023 reading resolutions post, I set myself an overarching goal that I wanted to finish ongoing series rather than start new ones.

This year, I am setting myself a very similar goal, but I am quantifying it a bit better. I also want to give myself some specifics, so I have a definite aim to work towards, and anything else is a bonus.

The advantage of the position I am in this year is that I have a number of ongoing series in which I am very close to the end. I have 18 different series in which I have anywhere between 1-3 books left to the finish line. As of this reading resolution post, six of those series require me to read just one book to complete it. Naturally, I’ll be prioritising these.

To complete this goal by reading the fewest number of books, I’ll still need to pick up 14 over the year. Between this goal, and my non-fiction reading goal, that still leaves me around half of my reading capacity for mood reads, standalones, and anything else that doesn’t fit into either of these goals. There’s no reason why this is unmanageable.

 

Blogging Goals

 

Make Social media a habit

In addition to the reading goals I have set myself above, I am also setting myself a brand-new goal of making social media a priority.

I have a love/hate relationship with it. On the one hand, it is a great tool that allows us to connect. However, I’ve always been conscious of the less pleasant side of social media though. It can be a place of negativity and so, whilst I have grown up with it to an extent, I’ve always tried to keep it at arms length.

I’ve had social media accounts for my blog and reading activities for a few years now, but I haven’t given them (and my lovely readers and followers there) the attention deserved. With my overall goal of consistency in mind, these are the steps I will be taking to step up my social media game in 2024:-

  • Post a variety of content to Instagram 4/5 times a week
  • Login to Threads daily and interact with followers/bookish accounts

I plan to step back from X (formerly Twitter). The truth is, I never really loved the platform when I set up my account back in 2017. However, back then it served a purpose. It drove traffic to my blog. Stats in this regard have been dropping since 2020. Last year, of the record 15,000 views I got on my blog, only 47 were referrals from X. Pants. Instead, I will be focusing my attention on Threads. I have been making an effort with this goal already, and in the last few days alone, I have gained 40 followers.

I’m specifically not using follower numbers as a metric for this goal/resolution. It’s a shallow metric; I want to engage using my accounts, not shout into a void like I am on X. I’ll know if I succeed because I’ll either be doing what I’ve set out above, or not!

 

So, these are my resolutions for 2024!

Are you setting yourself any resolutions this year?

 

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2023 – Reading Goal Review!

In today’s post, I look back at each reading goal I set myself back in January 2023. Did I meet them all? Make yourself comfortable, as well be diving into the details in this post.

Did you set yourself any reading goals in 2023? Did you manage to achieve them?

To quickly recap – what were the goals I set myself in 2023? If you want to check out the full post, it’s here. Otherwise, here is a summary: –

  • Goodreads Challenge – Read 50 books
  • Read >15 non-fiction books
  • Continue ongoing series
  • Read 30 mins daily

So, did I achieve any of these goals? Let’s take a look!

 

Goodreads Challenge – 50 books

For my Goodreads reading challenge, I set myself a goal of reading 50 books before the end of the year. I set myself this goal as I had read 47 books the previous year. Setting a goal of 50 was a small push on what I had already achieved, but equally, it was a manageable target.

In the end, it proved more than manageable! I met my target of 50 books in November 2023, leaving myself plenty of time before the end of the year. Thereafter, I set myself an unofficial goal to push the reading total up to 60 books, which I just managed before the end of the year.

I haven’t read this many books since 2019, so needless to say I’m very happy with what I’ve achieved! More importantly though, I am comfortable that I did it without stretching myself too far. Although I love reading, I obviously do the blogging aspect of the hobby as well, amongst many other things. I don’t ever want this to take over or prevent me from doing the other things I enjoy as well. That’s not been the case this year, so it’s a result all round.

 

Read >15 non-fiction book

When I set myself the reading goal of completing more than 15 non-fiction books, 15 felt like a nice number. It was a little more than one book a month over the course of the year. I didn’t really think about it in the context that it would mean non-fiction would constitute 25% of 2023 reading list. Even so, I’m happy I set myself this challenge.

I’m pleased to say that I completed my 16th non-fiction book on the 24th of December, meaning that I hit my goal with just over a week to spare. Here are the non-fiction books I read in 2023, in case you want to take a look:-

  • The Secret Library
  • Chimp Paradox
  • Becoming
  • Thanks for Sharing
  • Stolen Focus
  • Spike
  • A Brief History of Time
  • Leadership and Culture
  • Twelve Years a Slave
  • Killing for Company
  • Surrounded by Idiots
  • Vikings of the Irish Sea
  • Vikings in the Isle of Man
  • The Boy Who Followed His Father into Auschwitz
  • The Success Code
  • How to Win Friends and Influence People

Setting myself this non-fiction goal has meant that I have picked up more of the genre than I ever have before. Had I not set this goal, I wouldn’t have consciously picked up this many over the course of the year. I think doing so has been a great benefit, and it’s something I definitely want to continue with.

Not only has reading non-fiction benefited me in the short term, but I believe that that setting this goal has started paving the way for my reading more non-fiction in future. Comparing 2023 and the year prior, I added a further 16 non-fiction books to my reading list in 2023, compared to just 4 the previous year. I still have some way to go before reading non-fiction becomes a natural habit, but I’m definitely heading in the right direction.

 

Finish Ongoing Series

This goal was always a lofty one. At the start of 2023 I had a great number of ongoing series that I had started, but I was yet to finish. Without digging through my records, I think we’re talking about 40 ongoing at the start of 2023… yikes! 

With this goal, I ended up doing more in the way of progressing with ongoing series than completing them. I have a number of lengthy series on my reading list, including Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series (41 books), Robin Hobb’s the Realm of the Elderlings series (16 books split across five smaller series) and so on.

That said, I did manage to complete the following series in 2023:-

  • The Liveship Traders (Robin Hobb series 2/5 in Realm of the Elderlings universe)
  • The Miniaturist duology
  • Eagle of Mercia
  • The Saxon Warrior
  • The Hunger Games
  • Mistborn

Note that I am marking anything complete if the series is either fully finished, or if I am up-to-date with the series as published. In addition to the above full completions, I had one very close completion of the Skyward series. I was up-to-date with this series in July, but the sequel, Defiant, was published in November 2023.

Other series that I read in 2023, but didn’t necessarily complete, include:-

  • Terry Pratchett’s Discworld,
  • Robin Hobb’s the Realm of the Elderlings (as a whole),
  • Stephen King’s The Dark Tower,
  • Jojo Moyes’ Me Before You, and;
  • Bernard Cornwell’s The Last Kingdom.

If you compare this with my list of series I started in 2023, you’ll see the list of significantly shorter!

  • Lost Solace
  • Soul Identity
  • Illuminae

In addition to these, I did read some further ‘first’ books in a series, but they are books I read as standalone. I don’t intend to continue with the series and so I’m not including them in this statistic.

Overall, I made more progress with goal than expected. I had no easy way of tracking this goal throughout year. However, that is changing in 2024. I plan to do a lot more in the way of book stats and monitoring in the next year so I have a better idea of both what, and how much, I’m reading. Watch this space…

 

Read 30mins Daily

I didn’t set out to stick to this in the purest sense. Although I probably did read for 30 minutes a day for the vast majority of the year, it was the point of making reading a regular habit that I was looking to achieve.

I think it’s fair to say I did! I don’t think I could have met or indeed exceeded my reading goals in the way that I have without reading becoming a near daily habit.

In 2023 there were days when I read for several hours, and there were days where I didn’t read at all. Sometimes such as life, but also, sometimes that was down to choice. As I’ve mentioned earlier in the post, I want to be able to enjoy my reading in a sustainable way. I don’t want it to become a detriment to the other things I want to do. If there have been times where I’ve not been in the mood to read, I haven’t forced myself. I’ve done other things and taken a break and come back when I’ve been good and ready.

That’s the way I’ll continue to read into 2024 and beyond!

 

Summary

I think it’s fair to say that I should give myself a pat on the back for achieving my reading goals in 2023! If you are interested in seeing what reading goals, I set myself for 2024, check out my blog on Thursday! 

 

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2023 Mid-Year Review!

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!

 

Summary

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?

 

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Reviewing my 2022 Resolutions!

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!

 

Reading Lists

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?

 

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2023 Reading Resolutions!

With the beginning of a brand-new year, it is prime time to talk about my reading resolutions for 2023!

With the exception of my blog, I’m not one for setting New Year’s resolutions. Frankly, I don’t stick to them. However, since reading is a big part of my life, setting myself targets within this is a lot easier for me to do rather than begin a new habit from scratch.

I’m going to be talking about my reading resolutions from last year in a post later this week – today’s post is all about what I’m looking to do in the next 12 months!

Let’s dive in!

 

Goodreads Challenge – Read 50 Books

Last year I succeeded in reading 47 books over the course of the year. It’s not the most I’ve read in any one year, but it is significantly more than I read in 2021 (approx. 25 books).

In 2021, I suffered from burnout. When I set myself my reading goal of 40 books for 2022, it was to get myself back into the habit of reading, but at a pace I could sustain. My burnout was in part caused by the pandemic, moving house, changes at work and being overzealous with prior reading goals.

Over the course of 2022, I found that I was more than able to reach that goal whilst not compromising on other things I want to do. I’ve had plenty of time to study and extend my qualification for work. I have enjoyed a number of creative projects, such as knitting and cross-stitching. Most importantly though, I’ve spent time with friends and family. Overall, it has been a very good, healthy balance.

Do I think I could have read a little bit more? Well, obviously. I have done in the past without causing harm or burnout. This year, my reading resolution is to stretch myself a little, but maintain the exact same balance that I am enjoying right now. If I can read anywhere near this amount then I’m happy… whether that’s over or under. Obviously, I prefer it to be a little over – I’m trying to stretch myself just that little bit. But, not so much that I burn out again. It’s not worth it.

 

Read >15 non-fiction books

This resolution is probably the greatest stretch of this year. In the second half of 2022, I set out to start reading more non-fiction. I was aiming for one book a month, but I didn’t quite achieve that.

This year, rather than committing myself to one a month, I am being a little bit more flexible in when I can read the books. But, I still want to make a commitment to read them. So, I’ve set myself a challenge of reading a minimum of 15 non-fiction throughout the year. I have a number on my TBR that I really need to get around to and read. It is the genre (that I consider myself to read) that gets the least attention from me. I want to change that.

The non-fiction books I have read so far are useful and insightful. In 2022 I enjoyed the change from reading the same or similar genres all the time. I’m hoping by committing myself to read non-fiction more that I can learn a lot of new things that I don’t know already. You never know, these facts might come in handy for future pub quizzes I end up in. Probably not knowing my luck…

 

Read 30 Minutes Daily

This is a goal I am setting, but I’m not going to beat myself up if I don’t do it every single day. The purpose of setting this goal is to help build up and maintain a regular reading habit once again.

I used to read pretty much every day without fail. More recently, I am more likely to read for slightly longer sittings, but only 3/4 days a week. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure that’s a lot more than most people do. However, I want to try and get myself back in the habit of reading on a daily basis – even if I can only commit to 30 minutes. This is what I used to do back in the days when I was just getting back into reading. I was taking a book with me before bed.

It all adds up!

 

Finish Book Series

Another of the larger commitments I am making to myself about my reading is that this year, when I’m not reading non-fiction, I’m going to chip away at book series I have already started but I’m yet to finish.

Previously, I have read what I liked, when I liked. This has meant that to date, I have approximately 30 book series which I’ve started but not finished. For a handful of these 30, I am up-to-date. However, I know there is going to be a future book or books and so the series is staying on the list, even though I can’t make progress right now. That’s more because I don’t want them to get forgotten about. And if I’m painfully honest, it’s not that many (4?).

So, you will find that this year, I am going to be spending more time reading sequels than I am ‘new’ books. That’s not to say I’m not going to let myself start anything new at all this year. However, before I allow myself to start a new series, I have to take at least one series off the list (be that by completing a series in full, or by reading all the books published to date). Maybe even at this starting point, I’m going to say that I have to take two off for every new one I start to make sure it starts going down!

I can work out the logistics of how I manage this as I go. However, for the purposes of this reading resolution post, my resolution for the end of this year is to have fewer than 30 ongoing series as I have right now. No pressure Rebecca!

 

So, as of the 3rd of January 2023, those are my reading resolutions for the upcoming year. As in previous years, I will review these goals on a regular basis to measure my progress against them, and also decide if any of them are no longer relevant, or if I want to add anything!

No matter how big or small, setting yourself a goal can be all the motivation you need to try something different.

Have you set yourself any reading resolutions or goals for 2023?

 

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Setting A Reading Goal Can Boost Your Reading!

As we are coming to the end of 2022, it is only natural that you may be thinking about the year ahead and about setting a reading goal. Are you the kind of person to set yourself a challenge? Do you prefer to go with the flow? These are important things to know about yourself in order to manage your motivation.

With this discussion post, there is no right or wrong answer. On the contrary, it is all about understanding what is best for you! I hope this post helps you to consider what works best for you.

 

Like having a goal to aim for? Set yourself a reading challenge!

At the beginning of the year, I usually set myself a reading challenge. In the history of my blog, there is one exception to that rule, and that was an exceptional time. Even then, I don’t think my choice of not setting a goal helped me in the long run. It felt good at the time because I felt liberated. Unfettered. Free of expectation. However, as the year went on, I effectively allowed the status quo to continue, even when I had the capacity to get back into reading more. I had lost the habit of picking up a book. 

I like having a goal to work towards. It is funny – my blog and my reading are the only facets in my life in which I really set myself goals (outside of work anyway). Otherwise, I am very laissez-faire. However, as proven to myself during the year in which I didn’t set myself a reading goal, I need one. It doesn’t necessarily have to be an ambitious goal to motivate me. But, having a number to work towards effectively helps me schedule my time and manage expectations. The year I didn’t set a number was my ‘worst’ by far. Compare my 2020 wrap-up with my 2021 wrap-up post and you will see what I mean. 

I recently watched a short motivational video about writing a book, but the underlying principle is the same. The lesson stuck with me. The speaker was talking about how people will take as long as they allow themselves to complete a job. For example, if you give yourself three months to complete a task, you will use the whole three months to do it. If you give yourself a week, you’ll do the exact same task in a week. It’s a psychological mindset thing.

For some people, not setting yourself a goal and effectively having a timeless task can be detrimental. In 2021, I didn’t set myself a reading goal, but I fully envisaged that I would still read the same amount. It probably won’t shock you that I didn’t. As soon as I started setting goals again, I got back on track. 

 

Want to maintain a habit?

Setting a goal doesn’t have to be setting yourself a challenge. If you comfortably read 20 books a year, you could set yourself a goal to effectively maintain that standard. 

For example, one of the goals I am considering setting myself next year relates to maintaining the habit of reading every day. It doesn’t have to be for very long, and this is not a difficult goal to achieve. It’s not meant to be.

Even if you set out to read a chapter every day, or for just 10 minutes… it all adds up. My reading habit and my blog wouldn’t be here today if not for a change in my lifestyle in 2017. That change resulted in my picking up a book before bed every night. Initially, it was only a temporary arrangement as a result of circumstance. I started taking a book to bed to read for half an hour. Even after my circumstances returned to normal, I continued to read before bed. By the end of April, I’d read 20 books – more than I had read in the last several years combined. That is how reading became a habit for me. 

Setting yourself a goal if this type means that whatever it is you are trying to do is important to you. However, it can also help promote a healthy balance. I have found in my experience that after reading too much, my other hobbies suffer. In the end, my reading suffers because I over-compensate for not doing other things by doing just the other things.

 

Maybe goals just aren’t for you

I’m not going to say that setting a reading goal suits everybody. I’m sure it doesn’t! Just because I don’t categorise myself as one of these people, it doesn’t mean that you don’t exist. If you don’t like having a reading goal, that is entirely up to you. It is perfectly okay to enjoy a hobby with no strings or obligations attached.

If you are the kind of person who doesn’t set reading goals, I’d love to hear from you. I’m not going to profess that this works for me and that I understand this approach. I proved that the year I didn’t set any reading goals for myself.

If you don’t set yourself reading goals, is there anything else you do instead? I’d love to hear from you to add to the conversation! 

Have you set yourself a reading goal? Do you have a reading goal for 2023?

 

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Mid-Year Review of 2022 Goals/Resolutions

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!

 

Existing Challenges

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!

 

Reading Lists

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 me motivation. 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.

 

New Challenge

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?

 

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2022 – New Year Goals/Resolutions

2021 was a strange blogging year for me. I tipped everything on its head and tried a completely different approach. Part of this was because I burnt myself out in 2020 and I wanted a break. However, I also wanted to see how taking a less structured approach changed my reading habits. 

I read fewer books last year than ever before, but I knew that was going to happen. Ultimately, I got to read at a pace that suited me and also allowed me time to enjoy and take up new activities. If you follow me you’ll know that I’ve become a bit of a knitter and I’ve had the time to enjoy making so many projects. More recently I have also taken up doing Pilates as a way of getting fitter and a little bit stronger within myself.

Both of these hobbies are going to be carried forward into 2022, so I’ve been thinking about how I can maintain my efforts with all three and what changes I want to make to my reading/blogging in order to make that happen in a consistent way. I cannot tell you how much I’ve enjoyed taking a step back this year, but I am going to be reverting back to some of the methods I used to keep myself on track… But with some modifications for balance!

If you want to find out how I did in 2021 before jumping into my goals for 2022, you can find a link to my year in review post here.

 

Goodreads Reading Challenge

Last year I didn’t take part in a Goodreads Reading Challenge because I didn’t want to put any pressure on myself as to how much I was going to read. It was strange because I’ve set one for several years now, and I’ve decided to bring this back. I’m doing so without setting myself a huge target though, because ultimately I want everything to be kept at a sustainable pace. So, I’m setting myself challenge to read 40 books in 2022! That works out at a few books a month so it’s perfectly achievable whilst still allowing myself time to do all the other fun things I enjoy!

 

Monthly Reading Lists

I took a break from setting a monthly reading list at the beginning of every month so I had to complete freedom in my choice of reading material. It was fun and I enjoyed it, however I also benefitted previously from the structure of setting myself a list and the expectation of what I was going to read in any given month.

Going forward, I’m going to be taking a hybrid approach in order to give myself the best of both worlds. I am going to be setting myself a reading list, but I’m only going to be fixing a couple of books on the list every month. That means I have at least some set reading material, but I also have the time and opportunity to pick up any other books I fancy on a whim. That way I have a degree of choice of what I’m reading or listening to over the course of the month and by reading the fixed books first, I have an incentive to get them read to see what mood reads I can fit in at the end of the month! I think that’s a win-win situation!

 

Blog Post Writing

One of the goals I’m setting myself this year is to get a little bit more organised in terms of creating my blog posts. This is mostly a behind-the-scenes change.

Throughout 2021 I’ve taken a very relaxed approach to blogging and there were numerous occasions when I didn’t get a blog post ready for the expected publication date I set myself. I didn’t beat myself up about it; life happens and the most important thing to remember is that I blog for a hobby. I don’t make any money out of it and I do it purely for fun and the love of sharing all the bookish content; and, hopefully, encouraging for the people to read books I really enjoy!

That said, I do want to try and get myself a little bit more organised. Some blog posts, like my Sunday Summary weekly updates, can’t be written ahead of time. I will however be making an effort to write most of my blog posts at least one week in advance. That way you guys are less likely to be subject to disruption and my posting schedule is more consistent.

 

Are you taking part in the good read reading challenge this year? Have you set yourself any other reading or blogging goals for 2022? I’d love to hear in the comments if you are!

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Reviewing My 2021 Resolutions/Goals

Compared to previous years, my reading and blogging journey has been completely different. In my 2021 Reading Resolutions/Goals post I outlined my intentions to take a very relaxed approach. And that I did. I’ve enjoyed taking the time to enjoy reading and get back into it as a hobby rather than a habit. I’ve also been taking the time to expand my skills in other hobbies, and even take up new ones. It has been time well spent, and upon reflection I’m happy that I made that choice. I needed the break.

If I’m entirely honest I burned myself out in 2019. I’m proud that I managed to read as many books as I did (72), but the timing of it wasn’t ideal. That same year I started studying for a professional qualification, and I was also dealing with some neighbour issues at home that ultimately resulted in me moving in 2020 in the middle of a pandemic. That’s was a whole new kettle of fish of stress, but again, it has been worth it in the long run.

Now you have the context you can probably understand why I needed to take a step back. But equally, I’m ready to start challenging myself again and get back into a routine of reading more regularly. If this year has proven anything to me is that I need a little bit of structure. I still did reasonably well and have probably read more than the vast majority of people despite this, but I’m ready to read more again. If you want to find out what my plans are in order to make this happen then you will find this outlined in my 2022 resolutions and goals post being published tomorrow.

But now, it’s time to recap the goals I set myself in 2021 and share with you how I got on!

 

Goodreads Challenge

In my 2021 reading resolutions/goals post I didn’t set myself a Goodreads Challenge for the first time in six years. It was strange and yet liberating at the same time. The point of this was to not feel like I was forced to read and it certainly worked! If anything I’d say it worked a little bit too well because my motivation to read did drop quite a lot. Whether that was because of the circumstances or because I didn’t have a regular reminder that I was on track or not, I couldn’t say.

That’s not to say I’ve done badly however. Having removed all the structure and pressures to read I have still managed to read 22 books this year. That’s still a decent number and that’s not even counting the 4 books that I started and decided to not finish as well. It’s reasonable and given that the point was to step back and take a break I think it’s fair to say I still managed that whilst still enjoying reading as a hobby.

Here is a list of the books I managed to read in 2021: –

  • A Remedy in Time
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
  • The Toll
  • The Book Thief
  • Fire and Blood
  • You Are Not So Smart
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  • Shadow and Bone
  • Clarissa
  • Ruabon
  • The Cockroach
  • A Clash of Kings
  • The Taking of Annie Thorne
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  • Consistent Creative Content
  • The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
  • The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
  • Red Rising
  • Million Eyes II: The Unraveller
  • The Warden
  • Traitor’s Blade

As well as the above I’m ending the year with partial progress on The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. This was loaned to me by my sister’s boyfriend Chris, and I was hoping to have this read by Christmas. However, this hasn’t happened. Sorry Chris, I’ll have to get this back to you next time you visit!

 

TBR

One of the goals I set myself at the beginning of last year was to try and chip away at the old books on my TBR and to try and clear some of the backlog. Given that I haven’t read anywhere near as much as I usually do it’s obvious to say that I haven’t made as much of a dent in the list as in previous years. I did however make an effort and I did read some of the older items on my list. I’ve also been doing the shelf control series and whittling down that list in that way; as and when I have a come across a book that I no longer wish to read I have take it off the list.

Combining both of these efforts I’m happy that I made some progress towards this goal. Needless to say I still have a long way to go and the list is always growing (although this year I have managed to maintain it at around the same level).

 

Review Requests

At the beginning of the year I decided that I wasn’t really going to take on review requests in 2021. I knew that I was going to be reading a lot less than usual and along the lines of not signing up for the good rates challenge, I didn’t want to commit myself particularly. I have however read some amazing books as a result of requests and so I set myself the rule that I was only going to take them on if I really wanted to read them… say, if I had already worked with an author and started a series.

I ended up reading five books as part of blog tours over the course of the year. The first of those was A Remedy in Time and I had already committed to it prior to setting my goals for the year. I then took part in a couple of blog tours in July and another two in November. All the books were written by authors I had read previously; only one of the five didn’t follow on a series I had already started. I enjoyed taking part in the block doors however some of the timing wasn’t great as they were very close together. If I take anything forward into 2022 it’s to try and space out any commitments if I take them on.

 

Re-read Harry Potter

Whilst I didn’t manage to re-read the entire Harry Potter series this year, I have managed to read five out of the seven books. To my mind there has been a nice mix of picking these up but also reading others so that I benefitted from variety. The last two books are fairly substantial in size but as I found with reading the series to date, they are really easy to pick up. I may not have finished this in 2021 but I will be carrying these last two books forward and reading them in 2022. I’ve gotten this far, so I’m not giving up the re-read now!

 

All in all I’m happy with the progress I made this year. I’ve given myself the break I needed whilst taking part and reading things that I loved. My real emphasis for 2021 was to get back to the love of reading and back to my grassroots which I’m satisfied I’ve done. I’ve also given myself the energy to get back into reading and blogging more. The batteries have been recharged so to speak, and I’m ready for taking on a bit more in 2022. If you want to find out what my plans are then check out my blog tomorrow as I will be sharing my new year resolutions and goals for the year ahead.

How many books did you read in 2021? Have you read any of the books I picked up? Let me know in the comments! 

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2021 Reading Resolutions / Goals

Hi guys! Happy New Year! I can’t believe I’m writing my first post of 2021 already. Last year seems like a bit of a blur. I’ve enjoyed a lovely break over Christmas and I’ve had plenty of time to think about my goals for 2021 and today’s post. 

Before I get into this year’s goals, I’d like to take a quick recap over 2020. I’ll probably be writing a more detailed post on this in the next few days, but I think it’s only appropriate that I briefly talk about last years goals. This is the first year that I’ve not met my reading goal, but to be perfectly honest, I’m still proud of the number of books I managed to read in the circumstances. I ended up taking on far more than I ever imagined when I set my goal in January. Yet despite this, I still managed to complete 55 books last year, as well as ending the year reading Midnight in Chernobyl by Adam Higginbotham. I also DNF’d a surprising number of books this year. It’s rare that I give up on a book, but this year I’ve DNF’d a total of 5 books.

Inevitably, I have been thinking about my goals for this year. It’s funny because as a person I’m not a huge celebrant of New Year. Call me miserable if you wish, but I’m just the kind of person who is all too aware that the 1st of January is just another day. And most likely, it’s just like the last. Obviously, things are a little bit different with my blog, as setting new goals is kind of ‘the done thing’. If I’m honest, I started thinking about the goals I’m setting back in November and over the last couple of months I’ve convinced myself that this is the right thing to do. So, here are the ‘reading goals’ I’m setting myself for 2021: –

 

Goodreads Challenge

I have taken part in the Goodreads Reading Challenge for the last six years. Granted, 2014 and 2015 were distinct flops. This was before I started blogging and getting into reading full time, and so I only read 10 books out of the target 55 I set myself over the course of the two years.

Since getting back into reading and then beginning my blogging adventure, I’ve had a lot more success. I have met my reading goal every year until 2020. Admittedly, that goal of 80 books was very ambitious when I set it. I did that deliberately because I’ve always underestimated myself in the previous years. If I hadn’t taken on things that I ended up doing in 2020, I might just have reached it. I don’t beat myself up for not reaching it though. Towards the end of the year, I burned out. I am fully prepared to admit that to myself now. Between all the different things I ended up juggling, it all became a bit too much for me. Something had to give, and ultimately it was the reading aspect of my blog that ‘suffered’.

I worry that if I were to carry on in this manner, I’d end up not reading at all. Of course, I don’t want that to happen, so I’m doing something I never expected I’d do as a book blogger. I’m going against the grain and not setting myself a reading goal in 2021. That may sound a bit odd to you, but it’s the right thing for me. I’ve decided that I need to get back to my grassroots, and that’s reading what I want, at my own pace, and doing it for the enjoyment of it. It’s easy to forget that it’s supposed to be a hobby, as blogging ends up becoming like a job. It’s a full-time commitment, and when you’re trying to do other things like hold down actual paid employment, study and complete renovations on your home (to name just a few examples), it’s a lot of work. There are so only so many hours in a day.

The point of setting a Goodreads challenge is that it is supposed to be that – a challenge. This year, I don’t want to put that pressure on myself and risk a prolonged burnout. It’s as simple as that. I don’t see any point in setting myself a ‘challenge’ that isn’t going to be a challenge… hence why I’m not setting myself a goal at all.

 

TBR

Last year‘s goal of trying to chip away at the TBR ended up being a bit of a flop. I started off well, reading a couple of books a month. However, my problem is that I keep adding new ones as quickly as I read others. I was also taking on blog tours last year, which meant that I wasn’t reading enough of the TBR to counteract the books I was adding.

So, this year’s goal is to only read books on my TBR. I already know I’m not going to religiously stick to this one. I’m sure there will be new shiny books and catch my eye and I want to fast track them and read them there and then. The sentiment behind this goal is that I want to read exclusively off my TBR as much as possible and bring the number of books on that list down – significantly more than in previous years!

With this in mind, I’ll also be taking part in fewer blog tours – at least the number I provide reviews for. I will probably still take part, but I’ll be providing promotional posts or extracts as opposed to reviews. This means I can spend my time actually reading the books on my TBR without distraction or deadline. For the most part, I have deliberately not been signing up to them this year. There is one exception, and that is for a book by an author I have read a lot of historically. I have really loved her books to date and I didn’t want to miss out on providing a review for the second book of a series I’ve already started. I’ll be taking part in that tour this month, but aside from that, I have no obligations to review for a blog tour.

 

Review Requests

Technically, I haven’t really been taking many review requests over the last few months. Although, being the person I am, if someone approaches me with a really good book and say there is no time deadline, I can’t help myself to say yes. I love a good book – what can I say!

Well, now I’m saying this. I’m not taking any review requests in 2021, no matter how good the book sounds or whether there is a time deadline or not. I ended up taking on a couple of books towards the end of last year that were ‘non-time-sensitive’, and yet I still ended up getting chased on them. This is exactly what I was looking to avoid when I initially closed myself off to new review requests. My lesson has been learnt, so for this year, I won’t be taking any at all. I’ll honour the ones I have, and that is all l. At least, until next year.

 

Re-read: Harry Potter

My last goal of the year is to re-read the Harry Potter series. 

I had said to myself that I was going to do this sometime after I finished my re-read of A Game of Thrones. Now feels like the perfect time to do so. Harry Potter was one of my favourite book series’ growing up. I read Harry Potter throughout my teenage years, and they have a huge part to play in my developing a love of reading. As I am taking the opportunity to re-capture that essence and love of reading without the demands of competing against myself, or trying to reach that next target, it feels like the right time to re-visit one of the very series’ that kindled my love for reading in the first place. 

 

Have you set yourself any reading goals this year? What are your ambitions for 2021? Please let me know in the comments!

 

 

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