Tag Archives: new year’s resolutions

New Year’s Resolutions Book Tag – 2019

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It wouldn’t be the New Year if I didn’t do the New Year’s Resolutions Book Tag. I adore preparing this tag, and reflecting on what I have read and what I want to read. It has however been a bittersweet year for reading, and I’m not going to lie, preparing it this year has been harder than before.

However, here’s what I loved in 2018

Get in shape – name a book that doesn’t quite fit on your shelf correctly

I bought a book of Anglo Saxon Verse a couple of months ago and I’m not sure whether to file it under history or poetry.

Eat healthy – name a book you feel was good for you to read

Easiest category to fill in this year. Note on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig.

Read more – name a book you keep telling yourself to read but haven’t yet

So in 2016 and 2017, and at the beginning of 2018 I have said 1984 by George Orwell. I still haven’t read it.

So instead this year I’m instead going to aim to read books I already own and try not to buy too many new ones.

Quit smoking – name a book you kept going back to even though you had finished it

Most unfortunately this year I haven’t had a book that has gripped me in this way. Normally it is a book of poetry like Rupi Kaur, but not this year. Which I think does say a hell of a lot about my reading this year, which has been sporadic at best.

Save more money – name a book you got for a really good price

I haven’t really been bargain hunting this year. In truth I have been spending far too much on books this year, because I find book shopping very soothing.

I think the best deal I got was being able to buy Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig a week before the release date because…well still not sure why it was being sold early but it was an amazing moment because I had been looking forward to it so much.

Be more organized – how do you organize your bookshelf?

Not very well; it’s something I need to work on. Still. Certainly tidier than last year.

Be punctual – shortest time and longest time it took you to read a book

As excited as I was about Matt Haig’s new book it did take me about six months of dipping in and out of it to finish it. However, every time I did pick it up to read the next bit, I ended up reading exactly what I needed to read next to help me with whatever problem was affecting my mental health at the time.

The book I read the quickest was Everless by Sara Holland. I bought it to read on the train when I was going on a day trip. I pretty much only put the book away in order to sprint across a train station to make a connection after suffering some delays. Finished it when I was halfway home.

Go out more – what book isolated you from reality?

Another one I picked up at the train station. Disobedience by Naomi Alderman. I just got completely lost in Hendon, North London, and the Orthodox Jewish community that serves as the book’s setting. Loved it.

Be unique – what was your favourite book of 2018?

Fried Green Tomatoes at The Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg. I have loved the film for about twenty years now, so I finally got around to reading the e-book I picked up a couple of years ago when it was in a kindle sale.

Normally if I’ve loved one version of a story for so long, like a film based on a book I’ve never read, I’m normally disappointed when I try the book. Not this time; it is very different to the film, but it is just as enchanting.

Be more personal – what book are you most looking forward to this year?

I’m really looking forward to reading through all the books I already own, and I’m really looking forward to going back to a few I’ve only read the once but haven’t read in a very long time. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline and The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, are two I am particularly looking forward to reading both again.

In terms of new books to read, I can’t wait to read The Power by Naomi Alderman, which is calling to me after I finished her first novel Disobedience the other week.

Really, resolutions – which book do you promise to read during the year?

I really need to try the All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness again. I read a Discovery of Witches back in 2011 when it first came out but while I bought the other two in the trilogy I have never read them, and I think it is time I should really.

I also need to read more Kazuo Ishiguro. I read The Remains of the Day over Christmas and loved it, so I certainly need to read more by him this year.

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New Year’s Resolutions – Book Tag 2018

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It wouldn’t be the New Year if I didn’t do the New Year’s Resolutions Book Tag. I adore preparing this tag, and reflecting on what I have read and what I want to read. Here’s what I loved in 2018

Get in shape – name a book that doesn’t quite fit on your shelf correctly

The White Book by Han Kang – I just don’t know where to put it. It isn’t that the shape is awkward, I just don’t know how to categorize it.

Eat healthy – name a book you feel was good for you to read

Cheer-Up Love by Susan Calman, because it reminded me that I am not alone in having depression and somehow she made talking about the topic funny.

Forces of Nature by Prof Brian Cox and Andrew Cohen as it reminded me that despite the impression I was left with at school, I can and do understand science.

Read more – name a book you keep telling yourself to read but haven’t yet

So in 2016 and 2017 I have said 1984 by George Orwell. I still haven’t read it; however I have bought a new copy as my husband’s copy is delicate and wouldn’t survive my handbag, so this year might be the year. Maybe.

Quit smoking – name a book you kept going back to even though you had finished it

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur. I finally found poetry that makes me cry and I adore it. The Sun and her Flowers, her second collection, is also amazing.

Save more money – name a book you got for a really good price

Tom Hank’s Uncommon Type – I was going to wait for it to come out in paperback, but I managed to get the hardback at a reasonable price from a supermarket.

Be more organized – how do you organize your bookshelf?

Not very well; it’s something I need to work on.

Be punctual – shortest time and longest time it took you to read a book

Call me by your name by Andre Aciman lasted about four hours. They were exquisite hours.

I’ve been dipping in and out of  The Book of Human Emotions by Tiffany-Watt Smith for a few months now, and I’m only half-way through the alphabet.

Also I’m still reading Vermeer’s Hat in sporadic intervals. That’s a one that has been on the go for over a year now.

Go out more – what book isolated you from reality?

I have a couple of contenders for this one. Call me by your name, in conjunction with the film and soundtrack has devoured me.

However, I think the winner might be Love from Boy – I remember reading this outside in the hot spring sun, and it was as if I was in Dar es Salaam.

Be unique – what was your favourite book of 2017?

I’m not going to lie, I’ve had a rough year, and one of many low points for me was the backlash fans had against the new series of Sherlock. I wrote about this in ‘My Many Selves as a Geeky Fan.’

Therefore I think that discovering Mark Gatiss as a novelist has been a highlight and something positive for me to reflect upon in relation to one of my favourite writers and actors. I adored Lucifer Box; so this year it isn’t a single book, but three: The Vesuvius Club, The Devil in Amber and Black Butterfly.

Be more personal – what book are you most looking forward to this year?

The novelisation of the new Star Wars film, and once it gets released in paperback, Men Without Women by Haruki Murakami. I have Norwegian Wood waiting in the wings to keep me going in the meanwhile.

Really, resolutions – which book do you promise to read during the year?

Less a specific book, and more I have a lot of non-fiction books that I’ve acquired over the year and need to read.

I also really need to read some more Kazuo Ishiguro, and I have to go back to Benedict Jacka at some point.

Update: Resolutions and Momentum

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Last time I wrote about my resolutions, it was because I had discovered a way to maintain my momentum by breaking the activity’s down into smaller and manageable chunks.

I equally don’t beat myself up about having a setback. I just start again the next day.

I’m re-visiting my post today on Maintaining Resolution Momentum because I woke up this morning disappointed with myself because in my dreams I’d eaten some chocolate and broke my current streak of not having any sugar. Needless to say it took me a few moments to realise it wasn’t real and that my streak (admittedly of only a few days) was still intact. That’s helped to motivate me for today

It forced me to have a good think about how well I’m doing and its been quite a boost for me that since the last time I wrote about this topic, I’ve actually been doing better. The exercise that I’d written about last time is still going, and I even have a swimming buddy who pushes me to train harder.

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I’ve also only been drinking water for the last month, which means I haven’t had tea or coffee. I honestly never thought I could give up caffeine but I feel so much better for it, mainly because my sleeping pattern is now regular. I find it easier to fall asleep and equally to wake up as well. While I’m beginning to desire drinking other things again, I’m not tempted yet to have a cup of tea.

I’ve not eaten crisps (chips to my American readers) for just as long, and I’ve mostly been eating healthy as well. I still slip up with sugar and croissants (which are a major and easily accessible weakness of mine) but I’m getting there with those. I haven’t been beating myself up because I haven’t been able to make it stick. I’m trying and eventually it will work, as long as the sugar withdrawal headache doesn’t nearly knock me out again like it did the last time I cracked.

One of the reasons I’ve been keeping track is because I’ve found a more advanced version of a to-do list that I was writing about the last time. Yes, people, I have found myself an app to help me keep on track.

Habit List has very quickly become the app I use the most on my phone, bar only my Kindle app. I can set daily or frequent habits, like going swimming, drinking only water, and even practising Chinese on a daily basis. It’s even got me writing on a daily basis. I’ve been having a break from the blog for a week or so, but I’ll get a couple of habits set to get me writing for my blog and my stories separately in the next week or so.

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Seriously it is a god-send to me. If you have resolutions that you can break down into smaller manageable tasks, then I highly recommend it.

You never know, the next time I check in with everyone about how my resolutions are going I might have kicked the sugar habit. The croissants I’m not holding out too much hope on if I’m honest.

Maintaining Resolution Momentum

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If you’re like me and you like making New Year’s Resolutions, then probably like me you’ve started to lose a little bit of momentum by the end of January in maintaining what you want to achieve. You make have even given up already, and first thing’s first, do not blame yourself or call yourself a failure because if you were a perfect human being you wouldn’t of had to make resolutions in the first.

Also just because you had given up doesn’t mean you can’t start again today. I know they are called New Year’s Resolutions, but take away the adjective phrase ‘New Year’s’, and your resolutions can be started at any time of the year not just at the beginning of January.

I realised last week that I was losing traction on some of my goals but not on my others. I have in the past been able to complete New Year’s Resolutions. One of mine for last year was to complete my blog series ‘The Key to a Great Story‘ and I did. I mean it was in December when the last post went out but I did it.

I know that the reason I did was because writing and writing about writing is something that I really love doing. I had set myself an attainable goal to achieve in something that I love. I had set it simply to focus myself, not because I wanted to be strict with myself and punish myself for not being good enough, but because I had an aim that I wanted to achieve and I set a time period/deadline to propel myself forward.

And here in lies why I think I’ve been failing at the resolution I had been making for the last few years now and is a common one; I would like to lose a little bit of weight. I was punishing myself for having gained weight in the first place and I was punishing myself even harder for failing to be able to do anything about it.

Until last week when I had a bit of a revelation about myself; I really like lists, in particular to-do lists. I started to keep a week by week diary this year where I was writing everything that I needed to do for my blog and by various online learning courses, and for some reason I added a couple of personal ones like go to the gym and record what you eat. And then I ticked them off.

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Honestly, I find it really satisfying ticking something off a list. I do it at work all the time, and in fact I’m quite obsessive about it. Every project I approach I divide into small achievable chunks of activity which I when I’ve completed I tick off. It stops me from forgetting to do things and I have a record of what I’ve done.

I don’t know why I had never thought about doing this for achieving my personal goals as well. So I’m going to use one of my resolutions as an example of how I plan on keeping up my momentum, and it is a common one;

Get physically fitter for an upcoming holiday

I have a time frame and I have an objective. Great, this is the overall objective and quite frankly it means very little. I could start full steam ahead and go to the swimming pool five times a week, and in two weeks time I will have given up.

So I have to break this down into daily and weekly tasks, small achievable chunks that I can call daily and weekly resolutions.

Daily

  • So each day I want to record what I eat, not necessary to make sure I cut down calories but to actually look at what I eat and where I can improve.

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  • I also want to improve my muscle tone, as this will help build muscle and burn fat, so I’ve identified some kettlebell exercises I like doing and I’ll do 5 reps a day. It will take less than 10 minutes in total. For future days I will increase this.

Weekly

swimming

  • To go to the gym and/swimming pool. At the minute just going at all is going to improve my fitness. In future weeks I might set the number of times I go, or determine the length of times I go, but I want to develop this as a habit. If I’m strict with myself at first my brain is going to be stubborn and whine ‘I don’t want to’, and I’l listen to it and never get around to it.

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  • Measure myself. I’ve tried weight-loss in the past where the only thing I’ve looked at is how much I weight. That really doesn’t work for me at all; I’m very heavy for my physical size because while I do have excess fat I do also have quite a lot of muscle as well. I’m a bit like a rugby player when it comes to BMI; I’m small and while I certainly have fat weight, it doesn’t take into account I have denser muscle weight as well. Measuring myself shows the improvements in muscle definition and loss of fat. Weighting myself might show me getting heavier as I develop muscle before I start to burn off the fat. I have a vague idea of how much I weight but I’m not tracking it obsessively, because I will only get disheartened. I also only measure myself once a week at the same time every week (Saturday morning) because otherwise I won’t see improvement.

Overall 

Overall having broken it down into smaller chunks I will achieve my objective. Maybe not as much as I would like but with only the objective I know I won’t achieve anything.

This approach can be applied to any goal; I have one objective where I want to improve my skin regime, so routines of cleansing and scrubbing have been added to my daily and weekly list. I have writing aims so I’m adding that to my weekly lists, but very small chunks of it only so as to not trigger the stubborn side of my brain; I’m doing a lot of personal development learning as well, small chunks weekly tasks.

I also have one objective, become a better morning person which I have as a monthly task. This month I have a new alarm clock and a strict rule of reduced snoozing. Next month I’ll be setting it earlier with no snoozing allowed.

Also if I fail to do anything one day or one week, I don’t beat myself up about it. I just make sure I do it for certain the next day or make it a priority for the next week. That way I keep the momentum going but don’t just give up when I slip up. To err is to be human.