Failures and Lessons of 2017

Posted January 19, 2018 / Discussions, Features / 4 Comments

I’m not going to sit here and beat myself up over the reading-related failures of the previous year, so don’t worry about that. I just felt like it would be nice to look back over some of the goals and challenges I tried out that didn’t exactly work for me… as well as some of the lessons learned. I’m also going to talk about my reading, blogging, and personal resolutions for the year — how did I do?

Reading, blogging, and personal resolutions:

PASS: Read less…and give myself time to focus on other hobbies

I definitely FEEL like I spent less time reading. I managed to easily meet my Goodreads goal (and could have gone over thanks to holiday novellas and a quick reading addiction that happened before Christmas). I love reading when I have spare moments, specifically before bed or during football games/WWE matches I can pay half-attention to. I’ve noticed that in general my entire night doesn’t consist of reading anymore. Chris and I are free to watch things together or go out and do something, and I don’t feel guilty about NOT reading. I debated quite a bit about what to set my Goodreads goal for in 2018. I liked the slight pressure of 150, since my reading did decline, but I felt like it was a solid number that I could fairly easily get.

PASS: Reinvigorate The Nostalgia Project and reread more

I’m going to count this one as a pass. Cristina and I managed to binge-reread a 10 book series this year, plus I reread the Gemma Doyle triology. I reread a total of 16 books this year and that’s definitely the most I’ve attempted ever. I didn’t review all of the reread books because some didn’t fit with the Nostalgia Project, but I feel really great about the rereading I did get done. Next up, Gossip Girl!

FAIL: Read. Books. From. My. Shelves

I thought that bringing 10 books to Maine when I moved would enable me to work through them quickly, bring some home each month, and swap them out. This was a pretty large fail. I took major advantage of the library system up here (including ebooks) and barely read any books from my shelves. My number one goal before we move in the summer is to finish ALL of the physical copies I brought with me, and slowly bring them home WITHOUT replenishing the shelf. That way, it’s 10ish less things I have to bring back home.

FAIL-ISH: Expand beyond contemporary romance

My goal was to get my numbers down to 50% contemporary romance and 50% everything else. It’d be a nice big step for me, a girl who pretty much exclusively reads contemporary. I did manage to get the numbers around 60% to 40% but it’s not good enough. I hope to majorly fix this next year and actually monitor those numbers monthly to see what I can do to actively fix it. I give myself a “fail-ish” because I DO feel like I made an effort to expand further into mystery/thriller books and a bit of fantasy from time to time. I was in the mood for mysteries for about a month and read more than I usually would.

FAIL: Crank out shows from my to-watch list

So I’ve barely watched TV in the second half of this year. Once I caught up on Total Divas and Total Bellas, I just… stopped trying to watch things. I made a valiant effort at the beginning of fall to keep up with The Good Place and Will & Grace, but I’ve since slowed down a lot. I haven’t even started season two of This Is Us and I was SO excited for it to come back! I gave up on Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce, even though I liked it, and basically only managed to catch up on The Bold Type recently. Hallmark movies and other Christmas films took over my December too. Oh well.

PASS: Be a bit more spontaneous, but also make more plans

This is probably a solid pass. Chris and I have done a lot of spontaneous things around Portland, like going out to new places, heading downtown for the day/night, riding bikes around, checking out other nearby towns – the list goes on. I have also successfully made more plans with friends when I come home. I was joking the other day that I’ve seen my friends more since moving than I did when I lived in the same state as them. I think it’s because I’m making more of an effort and honestly feel obligated to reach out when I’m back.

FAIL: Figure out my career path and the possibility of going back to school

I don’t know when this will be resolved but I feel like I really need to spend some time looking at all the options. This is on an upcoming goal list I’ll be posting soon, so I’m giving myself a couple of years to make a decision here. I don’t need to START any kind of program right away but I really just want to pin down how I want to move forward.

FAIL: Save up a lot of money and pay down debt

Yeah, I saved a good amount of money before we moved but it wasn’t necessarily for this purpose. My goal for 2018 is to absolutely pay off my credit card and/or get into a really good payment system. I know a lot of people will use their credit card for ALL of their purchases (minus certain bills being paid) so they get a lot of points or cash back. I’d like to do something like this if possible for basic shopping. We’ll see.

PASS: Stick to a blogging schedule with less posts

Yep. I did a good job of this for sure. I didn’t completely succeed because I really wanted 4 or less posts per week, but sometimes I get overexcited. It’s also hard to cut back at the end of the year when there are so many wrap-up posts AND planning posts. I love it, so whatever.

MOSTLY PASS: Develop long-range blog-related and bookish goals

I guess this is kind of a pass because I did decide to get more personal on here, changed my header to reflect that, and don’t really care about fitting everything into a box. I feel like I don’t remember what I meant about bookish goals on here – maybe I could clean up my Goodreads shelves and stuff. I don’t have a lot of plans for my blog or reading long-term but that’s okay.

FAIL: Link up with challenges each month

I absolutely stopped doing this about halfway through the year and I’m sorry for it. I wanted to show challenge hosts that I was still there and participating but just never got around to it.

Other challenges/experiences:

FAIL: Contemporary Romance TBR

I wanted to ~spice up~ my Contemporary Romance Challenge this year because I have NO problem reaching 20+ contemporary books each year. I decided to make a list of 20 backlist contemporary romance books I wanted to read in order to accomplish a bit more for the challenge. I completely failed at reading those books. Like… I read two of them and DNFed a third. I think this has to do with my mood reading but I also feel like I do a much better job of reading new release contemporary books. Once my excitement for them dies down, I don’t read them 1-3 years later… which really sucks. I need to figure this out going forward.

FAIL: Read from my shelves and more genres

I didn’t do a good job with some of my reading-related goals that I didn’t spell out in a “resolution” way. I wanted to read more books I owned instead of books from the library, etc. I had a nearly 50/50 split between owned and borrowed books, which is kind of crazy to me! And for genres, I definitely read mostly contemporary romance. You can see the huge chunk on the right for contemporary fiction.

FAIL: Mini reading challenges

Going off of the first one there, I didn’t do a great job of completing shorter reading challenges either. I started the Reading Quest challenge with great intentions but I just wasn’t in the mood for the books I selected. The same can be said for Netgalley November, which I invented as a way of clearing some books for 2018. I’m not sure how I can resolve this or if I should even bother, but I have come to realize I love making TBRs but barely care about actually reading them. Challenges are fun to plan out for me but the reality of them is quite different.

Lessons learned:

Lesson: More variety can lead to more reading

As you can see in the format chart below, I had a really nice mix of formats for books I read! I definitely read mostly ebooks, which is interesting/ a new trend, but the other categories are nearly equal. I borrowed hardcovers from the library, read paperbacks from my shelves, caught up equally on publisher copy formats, and mixed in audio/other formats like I enjoy sometimes. It definitely led to a nice reading year and I was always motivated to read. If I’m reading two books at once (or sometimes three), I can mix between different formats.

Lesson: Blogging is more fun without rules

Because I added more personal stuff to my blog to create a more 60/40 mix of books and lifestyle, I’m a lot happier. I don’t feel like blogs always need to have a category… especially if you already have a following that’s gotten to know you. I feel like most of my posts still generally involve books in one way or another, but it’s fun to open up about other things too.

Lesson: Reading is more fun without rules

Even though I still set reading challenges and goals each year, I enjoy reading more of ~whatever I want~ instead. I also do some monthly TBRs but again they’re primarily to focus the millions of books I want to read and remind myself of what’s out there. I don’t get too disappointed if I don’t follow the TBR. I read ARCs super early if I want to, I don’t request any ARCs for multiple months… I just do whatever I want.

4 responses to “Failures and Lessons of 2017

  1. That lesson is completely me 🙂 For the last few years, I’ve been kind of obsessed with trying to stick to a strict reading schedule and reading list but honestly, it’s so much better when you let yourself mood read now and again. I still have a list of ‘hopefuls’ for this year but I think I’m just going to be true to my roots and mood read to my heart’s content. I hope you’re able to do the same, Lauren 🙂

    Laura @BlueEyeBooks

  2. I love the idea of this post! I have been REALLY bad about not reading the books on my shelves (esp. since I bought so. many.books. last year), I really need to get some sort of system in place to guarantee I’m reading the books I buy (both backlist and from the current year). Maybe we could team up and do some sort of feature surrounding reading the books we already own??? LMK if you’re interested! We could have a theme every month too…like a certain genre, a book from a certain year, a series started…

  3. Yes! Blogging AND reading is way more fun and stressless with less rules. I just read what I feel or what Nick tells me I would love and post when I can and its working. I really nees to work on the debt thing too… ughhhh.

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