Each year I really like to take my time looking back at the previous years goals and challenges before deciding what I am going plan for the year. I have done this for several years in a row now (you can find last years HERE). I have come to prefer setting a bit of looser goals and resolutions over the hard fast number driven challenges I set for myself in years past. But before we get into things too far, why don't we take a look back at how last years resolutions worked out for me in another chaotic year.
1. Read that TBR: I have been using this as a resolution for the past few years because as we all know in the book world, all the pretty covers draw us in and we collect books faster than we can read them. I have been very guilty of this and at one point had nearly 400 books on my TBR. Last year I had set a goal of reading 70 books off my TBR, I ended up focusing mostly on my physical TBR because I no longer had access to reading ebooks at work. While only ended up reading 50 books off my TBR this year, I did also in my end of year/new year shelf freshen end up unhauling many more (I haven't counted yet but it was definitely more than 20). So I did in a way meet my goal, by yet again not quite how I planned on it, by reading all the books.
2. Re-Read More: This was probably the best goal/resolution I ever set for myself. I had originally set a goal of re-reading 15 books with a stretch goal of 25. Well I met that stretch goal and absolutely loved every moment of it. I have absolutely loved re-visiting some of my favorite series, it has been so comforting and also kept me reading in times when I might have fallen into a slump.
3. Purchase Less Books & Read More of Them: I have been using this as a resolution every year with different parameters every time in hopes of cutting back on my insane book buying habit. This year I tried to limit myself to only 4 pre-orders a month and limited myself to only one shelf available to fill with new purchases to encourage reading them as they came in. While I wasn't great about the 4 pre-orders a month, I did manage to become a bit more conscientious about my book buying. There were a lot less bulk orders, less picking up random books just to fill the cart. And while I didn't read all the books as they came in, I think I still ended up with only about 30 new books that I hadn't read yet. I also managed to keep my purchases under 100 books this year. This was a huge win for me!
4. Explore New Genres More: This was quite an adventure for me, while I didn't set any clear guidelines other than exploring new genres I am so glad I had this as a constant reminder to step out of those comfort zones. It has been so fun trying books that I wouldn't normally pick up. While I got pretty lucky most of the time, I did run into a few misses, but with the confidence I built up over previous years of resolutions, I was able to just DNF and set something down that I wasn't enjoying. I have to say that if it hadn't been for this goal, I might not have had some of my most surprising best books of the year this year (more on this to come later).
Well that was rather surprising, while I may not have met all my goals and resolutions exactly as I had planned, I did in the end accomplish all I set out to do this year! I am so happy with how I have grown as a reader, not only this year but over the past several years. Taking a step back and getting back to looking at reading as a pleasurable hobby as opposed to the challenge to tackle each year has been amazing. It is a journey I am still working on but I am so happy with the progress I have made!
So now that I have looked back at the past year and all I have accomplished, I feel so much more confident in setting my goals and resolutions for this year. So how about we get into it.
1. Find a Reading Balance: In years past I have been setting goals to read particular books, read the books I own, read the books I buy, read the books at the library, read the review books, etc. etc. But once things kind of got turned upside down last year when I quit my job and started something totally new, I wasn't able to track it quite as carefully as I used to. You know what I found? I ended up naturally finding a bit of a balance in my reading, I started reaching for roughly the same number of new and old books, review books and re-read books. It really allowed me to enjoy all the aspects of reading and I want to keep that feeling going. So I just want to find a balance that keeps me happy and satisfied, and you know what, it might change month to month and that is going to be okay too.
2. Purchase Less Books: Yes we are still stuck on this goal, and it will probably always be a bit of a challenge for me. But I am hoping that the past few years of learning will really pay off this year. Not to get into things too deep but we are looking at a tough year financially and I don't want the lack of book funds to feel like a failure but to look at it as an accomplishment. That I can be much more selective in the books I want to purchase, that I can wait for one to go on sale to pick it up, that I have books at home to read and I don't need that cover buy right now. I already have 30 books on my anticipated releases for this year, so I am going to have to be extremely picky with the ones I decide to purchase as I am hoping to keep purchases down to just 75 books total, that still averages about 6-7 books a month, more than I should need and I hope I can cut back even more. The one thing that really helped me was having a dedicated shelf to new purchases, it really made me think about what books I want to see there and what books I will want to read sooner rather than later. So I will still be keeping that one shelf rule as well.
3. Less Pressure and More Pleasure: I have pushed myself hard in the last 11 years of blogging to really put out consistent content for my followers. With the change in jobs it really became a challenge, I have only been able to blog late at night, when I would rather be reading. I have struggled a lot lately as to whether to keep blogging, and I will be doing that, but it is going to be on different terms. I am not always going to post a review for every single book I read anymore, I am not going to be keeping a strict posting schedule, I am not going to be keeping constant features on my blog. What I am going to do is share what in the book world is making me happy at the time. If it is a particular book, I will post a review, if it is a beautiful cover, I will feature it, if it is a fun meme, I will participated. I want to share my love of books with you, not because books are what this blog is about but because that is what I enjoy.
So that is it, my reading resolutions and goals for this year. I am hoping to continue my journey back to finding the real love reading and books has brought me and I think these are great goals to keep me on that path. I hope that you will continue to join me, even though things may not be as consistent around here as it used to be but I hope it will be a lot more enjoyable for all of us!