Hi friends, happy New Year! I hope you had a nice break over the holiday season and are looking forward to a great year ahead. At this time of year it’s customary to make some resolutions for the coming twelve months, but as most resolutions are abandoned by mid-January, I tend not to make any as it’s just setting yourself up for failure (unless you’re super dedicated and determined, which, alas, I am not). I do, however, have a few goals I’m working on and plan to continue for the rest of the year, and onwards.
Rather than the usual weight loss or new job type goals (neither of which are even thinkable right now as I’m currently 6 months pregnant – yay!), I’ve decided to make 2018 the year of self-care and mindfulness.
2017 was a challenging year for many of us, for lots of different reasons. It was definitely one of the most difficult years of my life so far, and part of that was how I dealt with things and the coping mechanisms I had in place, or rather didn’t. I struggled with bouts of depression and anxiety due to various things in my personal life, but in the last few weeks I’ve been really focusing on self-care and trying to find ways and means to improve my own well being and mental health. I want to be as strong and healthy as possible for when this little one decides to make an appearance and turn our world upside down!
For Christmas, my beautiful soul of a sister-in-law bought me a gorgeous leather journal and a Harry Potter quill pen, which I obviously fell instantly in love with. I decided to start journaling as a way to get my thoughts and feelings out, to empty my busy mind after a long day and allow me to wind down.
As well as working through issues and negative thoughts and feelings, journaling allows you to remind yourself about all the wonderful things that have happened to you, your best memories, your favourite things and what you really like about yourself. I try to write at least two positive entries for every negative one. When I read back through my journal at the end of the year, or each month, or whenever I need a boost, I want to have more happy, uplifting entries than negative ones.
One of the key things I’m going to do this year is cut myself some slack when I don’t manage to keep to my goals, so if I don’t get around to journaling one day, or week, I’ll just start from wherever I am without beating myself up about it. I think one of the main reasons most resolutions are abandoned is because we tend to consider a slip-up as a complete failure, and we give up rather than try to persevere imperfectly. With self-care my main goal for 2018, I’m going to try and be kind to myself when I make mistakes or have minor slip-ups, in the grand scheme of things it won’t matter if I miss a day or two of journaling, it will matter if I manage to continue over the course of the year or even longer. It’s a new habit I’m trying to form, not a short-term fad, and I’m already feeling the benefits of getting my thoughts down on paper regularly.
I fell a little behind on my Goodreads reading challenge in 2017, I had set my goal at 36 books and I think I managed 30, which is still several more than I managed the previous year so I’m proud of what I achieved, but I decided to readjust my goal for 2018. What with Baby Hall arriving sometime in early April, I doubt I’ll be able to improve on 30 so I’ve set myself a goal of 24 books. With my Audible membership I’m sure I can manage that, 12 audio books and 12 paperbacks sounds reasonable, right? New mums let me know, does reading a book a month seem doable? I might have to up my membership to two audio books a month….
In the August 2017 Illumicrate subscription box I got a Book Jar, which is a glass jar with a slit in the lid like a money jar, and I’ve filled it with slips of paper with the titles of books on my TBR to help me decide which book to read next. I’ve got at least ten unread books sitting on my shelf, and three audio books waiting in my Audible library, so that’s plenty to go on for now. Some of the books I own and haven’t gotten round to yet are:
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
- Rebel of the Sands by Alywn Hamilton
- Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones
- Red Sister by Mark Lawrence
- Truth or Dare by Non Pratt
- The Waking Land by Callie Bates
- Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare
- Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas
Which should I read first?
I attempted NaNoWriMo in November, but only managed around 10k, so I’ve got another 60k at least before my new WIP (Cockle Shells & Silver Bells) is even a completed first draft. Not only that, but I’ve been besieged by a new plot bunny for a YA historical fantasy inspired by Burke and Hare (tentatively titled The Resurrectionist) and it’s taking everything I’ve got to not abandon my current WIP and just write the new story.
My main writing goal for 2018 is to end up with a finished first draft of CS&SB, and if I manage that I’ll be absolutely chuffed. I don’t expect to get even a first round of edits done, let alone have something ready to send to my beta readers, but if I do that would be amazing. I’m pretty sure I’ll be far too busy and preoccupied to do any more than a few thousand words of writing, but I’m going to give it a try, and not give myself a hard time if I get to the end of 2018 without adding a single word to my WIP.
So those are my goals for 2018: journal every day, read 24 books and finish the first draft of my WIP. What are your goals for the new year ahead? I’d love to hear what you’re working towards and how you’re planning to make 2018 a fantastic year for you, let me know in the comments.