2023 goals check in 2024 goals making

We're in the final few days of 2023, so that means it's prime time for goals – both reflecting on the ones we set this time last year and setting new ones for 2024. Usually, I include goals with my stats, but I think this year, I want to separate the posts so that they're both a little shorter. Stay tuned for the full stats breakdown in the style of last year's post on New Year's Day, and if you want to see where I was this time last year, you can check out this post. 

Usually, these goal posts have a somewhat sad tone as I generally fail to meet most of my goals, particularly the one everyone looks to each year – books read. College has not been the greatest thing that ever happened to my personal reading life. However, this year looks a little different for the better. I'm thrilled to announce that I far exceeded my wildest dreams on number of books read, and I hope to keep that up into the new year. I also kept these goals in mind as I selected books out of my comfort zone and way longer than I tend to read, so that also feels like a win. I want to carry the love, passion, and excitement I've cultivated for reading into next year with my new set of goals. I'm going to follow last year's formula of trying to aim high but also keeping them realistically attainable. I can always up my books read goal like I did this year! 

So here's a look back at my 5 goals and 1 blogging goal from 2023 and my 5 goals and 2 blogging goals for 2024. 

2023 Goals Check-In

Goal 1: Read 50 books. I'm not backing down from that one. I will get back to reading at least 50 books, and if I can get there, I'll bump my goal up to 52 books, a book a week. I'm so much happier when I'm reading, and I do better in every aspect of my life, so it should be a priority.

Wow, I'm pleased to report that I definitely met this goal, which I absolutely did not expect to do. I've averaged between 35-40 books since I've started college, so this felt like a majorly optimistic choice to keep going for 50. It's so funny now to see that my stretch goal was only 2 extra books. I'm pleased to report that I've over doubled my total books read goal and am even close to tripling it. There's still a few days left, so stay tuned for the stats post for the official number, but I'm reading my 125th book at the moment. What I said at the end of this goal rings true still, I am happier when I'm reading, and I learned to embrace that this year.

Goal 2: Read some genres I haven't read in a while. I haven't read fantasy or mythology inspired books since I devoured them as I read middle grade. I think it's been long enough to integrate a few more into my life again. 

I made a strong effort with this one that quickly fell off. My first book of 2023 was a mythological retelling. I did read my first horror novel this year (Bunny), a mystery (The Villa), and a thriller (The Last Thing He Told Me) along with a few books that fit somewhere between these categories. I also read a few romances, though a lot fewer than I've read in the past few years. I didn't end up reading any fantasy. I picked up one that I DNF'd and the same thing happened with a historical fiction novel. I'm going to say that I achieved this goal because I didn't put a number on it, and I did succeed in keeping a more open mind this year in dabbling outside my lane. I have strong preferences in my reading genre-wise, and that's worth honoring, but I agree with the sentiment of staying open to new things. 
Also, I did read a few short story collections. I'd never really read any single author collections, and while it's not a different genre, I feel like it fits the sentiment of this goal.

Goal 3: Don't be afraid of longer books. They intimidate me, but I know I'm missing out on some great reads!

Shockingly, I managed to do this! When I well exceeded my books read goal, it got easier to calm my efficiency based mind and just read a book no matter how long it takes. This mostly comes into play with my December reading as I've read Wellness (624 pages) and The Bee Sting (645 pages). I'm glad I read both books, and I'm already planning on reading The Nix, which is similarly long, in the new year. I've learned that if I have a decent amount of free time, I can finish a book this long in about a week, which doesn't seem too bad. And, in reality, it shouldn't matter how long it takes me.

Goal 4: Only buy books if I 1) can't get them from any library or 2) have already read and love the book. I don't need to fill my apartment up with books that don't spark joy, but I also do want to be open to growing my library.

I held fairly firm with this one, though it did fall apart at the end of the year. Most of my purchases were grounded in the spirit of this goal. I bought a couple books that I had already read because I wanted to add them to my collection (Death Valley, The Rachel Incident). Another batch I bought at an event for the chance to have them signed, and I already knew I enjoyed at least one of the author's books. I bought a few because the library hold time was months away and I was impatient (Under the Influence, The Happy Couple). I purchased The Bee Sting and Wellness as a way to help me conquer goal 3 because I felt anxious jumping into such long books with the pressure of a library loan over my head. Now I know I can finish them within the allotted time, but it was helpful to just purchase them and have no pressure to do that. All my other book purchases came from needing to use up a gift card at a bookstore that had none of the books on my purchase list but nearly every book on sale for $5, so I couldn't resist grabbing up whatever seemed interesting. 
I fully stand by the point of this goal, and I didn't buy books at all until September this year. I will continue trying to not really purchase books because space is a big issue as my life is so mobile, but, at the same time, I love books, and it's fun to own them sometimes. I've given myself a bit of grace to purchase books to start replacing some of the YA that I know I won't reread on my shelves at home with books that I do love and find inspiring in this new realm of literature I'm entering. So I sorta got this one? 

Goal 5: Re-read more. It's really cool to see how I evolve over time in the context of how I feel about certain books. Also, MARK UP THE PAGES! It's totally okay and actually so much fun.

I got in a few rereads this year, but honestly, as I fully immersed myself in all the amazing new books coming out and also having such a massive back catalogue of books available to dive into again, I felt less drawn to rereading. I want to do more of this in the future, but this goal largely fell by the wayside. I did annotate a few books, mostly the ones I read for school, but I'm definitely not afraid to mark in my books anymore.  

Blogger Goal: Keep joy in blogging while also maintaining consistency. I love this platform, and I want to see it thrive. I want to get back to reviewing all the books I read in whatever format feels right for how I want to discuss the story, and I want to spend more time writing posts that interest me that aren't reviews. Also, don't let numbers get in the way of making what makes me happy. 

I feel like having a real joy in my reading practice has spilled into blogging. I'm still struggling with the blogging aspect a bit, though. Oddly, I read the books and automatically write the review (I've gotten that habit back), but then I just forget to post it. I have a loose schedule in my head and then I get tired and it slips my mind. I've been trying to make a real effort to be more consistent with blogging and to actually upload from the massive backlog of reviews I've built up. At least I'm finally writing all the reviews again. I did write a couple non-review blog posts, but not as many as I'd like. 
As for numbers, it comes and goes. It's hard not to care about the stats when you're pouring yourself into creating things, but I have a generally healthy detachment. It's really cool when there are big spikes, but largely, it takes time for people to find my reviews as they rise up the google ranks. Since Twitter and Instagram hate link promotion and the built in email feature quit working on Blogger, it's harder for people to find what I write, and I've had to learn to accept that's just how it works. Surprisingly, though, the blog has still grown despite this. It's interesting to see which posts are super popular (they're usually years old) and which new reviews rise fast, but I know I can't really control any of the stats and that it takes time for these reviews to start garnering hundreds of views. I've recently been trying to put a lot more into my Bookstagram because I think Instagram shadow-banned my account for primarily just using the app to plug blog links in my stories, and it's been frustrating to try to work my way out of that. It is slowly starting to work, though! All I can say is that I'm working on not letting algorithmic results get discouraging. 

2024 Goals

Goal 1: Read 75 books. 
This year I read over 120 books, which was a far cry from the 37 last year and the 39 the year before that. I changed a lot of habits and my mindset this year in order to get there. I fell in love with literary fiction. I used a lot of my at-home listening time for consuming audiobooks, which meant I was reading a lot more. And I made a major personal goal around reducing my screen time and getting off social media as much as possible. Naturally, that created a lot more room for reading whether that was on my commute, before class, or in the evening before bed. I don't see that changing any time soon, so I'm hoping next year can be another record breaking year. I didn't quite set my sights on 100 books or 150 books, the stretch goal I've been after my whole blogging career. While I want to hit these marks in my head, I do better with more attainable goals that I'm confident I can reach. Just like this year, I can keep extending the goal after I pass the first metric. Also, I'm graduating college in May, so my life is about to get a major shake-up, and I don't want to put reading pressure on myself if it takes me a while to find my footing. 

Goal 2: Reading should be fun!
I want to just have fun with what I'm reading. Pick up books if they look interesting for any reason. Experiment with different genres and twists. It doesn't have to be so serious. Even if I'm not sure I'll like a book, I'll try. I can always DNF it. I've had a lot of fun reading books adjacent to contemporary fiction with a twist, and I want to continue trying new things when it comes to the books I read. Similarly, I don't want to be scared off reading a book I'm interested in because it's really long. That's a fear I've finally conquered in 2023. I want to get out of my head when it comes to reading and purely focus on enjoying what I'm reading.

Goal 3: Re-read and read as a writer.
I'm hoping 2024 will be a big year of writing growth for me, and one of the keys to writing is reading. While I make a habit of analyzing the books I read after the fact, I want to re-read some of my favorite books with a writer's eye figuring out what makes them so effective both overall and on a sentence level. Though reading for fun and enjoyment is really important, I do want to make the time for reading a certain amount of books from a craft perspective. 

Goal 4: Save book purchases only for using gift cards and purchasing used books or as major treats. Use the library for physical books too!
I usually give myself a complete book buying ban, but I've realized that's not practical. I got a bookstore gift card for Christmas, and I enjoy stopping into an indie from time to time. If I want to get a book for writing work purposes, using a gift card, or shopping my hometown library's excellent $2 used book section, that's okay (as long as it stays within limits). Once I get back home in May, though, I want to indulge my itch for physical books or avoiding long Libby lines by going to my local library and checking out a giant stack of books. They have an excellent selection, easy parking, and I love going there, so hopefully I will divert most of my book buying back to library using once I get back home. I do give myself credit for having my e-book library game down.

Goal 5: Read 5 books from various literary prize shortlists/winners.
This year I started gaining more awareness of literary prizes, so I want to get more into it next year and read a couple different shortlist books to get a feel for all the different prizes (Women's Prize, Booker Prize, Pulitzer Prize, National Book Award...). I don't want to lock myself into an entire shortlist for one or a certain number, but it might be fun to pay more attention to this in 2024. 

Blogger Goal 1: Get better at consistent posting!
I've gotten in a great habit of writing book reviews for what I read, but then I fall behind on posting! I need to make a solid ritual and schedule around actually posting on the blog and then writing the Instagram post along with it in a timely manner. Having a backlog is great, but now that I've proven to myself that I'm a consistent reader again, I don't need to make sure I have a huge number of posts saved up.

Blogger Girl 2: Talk to more authors on the blog.
I love interviewing and talking with creatives so much, and since I've moved away from the YA world, I've lost the ease I'd developed in booking interviews. Being a teen approaching YA authors felt like a much easier avenue, but I've been building up the blog again, and I think I have a lot to offer authors. I want to figure out how to get back into talking to writers about their work and sharing it with all of you. If you have any leads or suggestions, please let me know! I did one interview in 2023, and it was great. I want to expand that further in 2024. 
Last Year's Goals and Stats Post:

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