Things I want to change in 2016

I have spent quite a lot of time reflecting on 2015 from a personal and professional viewpoint and although I’m not inclined to discuss the latter on the blog, I will do so for the former. One of the things that I’ve definitely been aware of for a long time is that I’ve neglected my reading and my blog terribly in 2015.

Many has posted new year’s resolutions for 2016 and although I’m usually oppose to having resolutions, because I never stick to them, I am most confident in my intentions in sticking to the ones I’ve made for this year. This goes without saying that reading is one. I miss the enthusiasm I’ve had for reading and blogging in 2013 and 2014.

I have anxiety and reading has long been my method of relaxing and escaping from stress. In neglecting this hobby of mine, I’ve realized that maybe I’ve had a difficult year in 2015 for precisely this reason, as I allowed myself to stress more and relax less. There are a few things I want to do, not only to blog more, but in general just to make more time for reading and finding alternative ways to handle stress.

Breaking bad habits

Part of having anxiety, is the fact that I ruminate. A lot. About things I can never change and most likely will never happen. This affects my ability to switch off and this has got to change. I’m focusing on the wrong things at the expense of things that used to make me happy. I have to find a way to not spend hours ruminating about nonsense where I could use my time more constructively. I’m yet unsure on how to do this, but I’m willing to look into relaxing activities like meditating, walking, etc.

Learn to read faster

I want to learn to read faster. No, I don’t want to learn speed reading, I just want to read faster and still retain comprehension. I’m a bit of a pedantic reader, reading passages over and over again for various reasons: I either didn’t concentrate the first time I’ve read it,  or it’s so beautiful I want to read it again.  I also subvocalize.

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Do re-reads

One thing I definitely want to do this year is re-read some of my favourites. I’m convinced that re-reading favourites are almost always the number one cure for any reading slump. I have a shelf on Goodreads for re-reads. Which one should I read first?

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Find new locations to read

A week ago I went to sit by the ocean after work to read.  Listening to the waves crashing against the rocks were soothing and relaxing and although I didn’t read much (as I had company) I have managed to read a chapter quicker than what I normally would. Sometimes a change in location where I normally would read is a good change. This year I plan on seeking out alternative reading spots: libraries, the sea, old bookstores and cafes, etc.

101-dalmations-anita reading

Challenges

Although I failed miserably in my 2015 reading challenge on goodreads and have made almost no progress on my classics club challenge, I plan on changing that. Simply, I want to meet the 2016 reading challenge this year and read at least 3 classics towards completing the classic club challenge. For the latter, I might participate in more of the classic club spins.

I have signed up for the #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks challenge (more information on Andi’s blog, Estella’s Revenge). It’s quite explanatory – just reading more of your own books this year. Which I have a lot of.

I am also considering doing Katie from Doing Dewey’s Reluctant Romantic Challenge where you can read a genre you don’t like for  the month of February.

Quit twitter

Not quite! 🙂

For those who have a more personal relationship with me, know that I have two twitter accounts. One for personal use and one for my blog. Unfortunately, I can only really concentrate on ONE at a time and the other always suffers.

Let’s face it; Twitter is FUN. I check it several times a day. It’s a great source for not only news, but also jokes and let’s be honest, most times I was there for the jokes. But it’s time consuming, which impacts my reading time. I spent more time reading Twitter (and conversing with others on there) than reading books.  So as I’ve said previously, along with not reading and blogging much, I also haven’t been very active on the twitter account that you’re all following me on. That isn’t so much a concern for me, what was concerning was that when I eventually paid more attention, I realized how much I’ve fallen out of the loop in terms of the book world. I had no idea that one of my favourite authors was releasing a new book years after her last.

So I’ve decided to not only clean up my twitter account, but I unfollowed over 400 people. Less I have to read, the less I’ll come back to it.  Not the greatest method, but It’s working for me. I filled my timeline with so much crap, that it had to happen sooner or later. I did this, because I don’t intend on deactivating my account, but I will not be using it as often, or not at all.  To those who I have unfollowed, it wasn’t because you did something wrong – I’ll catch you on my blog account: thebookmusings.

Dabble in poetry and keeping a journal

Secret: I love poetry. I always have, but I haven’t read any in many years. In high school, one of my coping mechanisms was to write. Not poetry, but essays and keeping a journal. I want to write more, whether it’s something I will post on a social platform, I still don’t know.  And I’ve bought a few journals, so I’m definitely doing that!

So what are some things you plan on changing this year? Any new year’s resolutions you have, other than book related?

  • The first two, I’m totally like you. I try to tell myself not to worry about things I can’t do anything about, and that’s helped a bit. And the things I can do something about, I’m getting better at dealing with them head-on, with less procrastination.

    Also, I’m a slow reader. These people who read 300 books a year amaze me! I put in a lot of hours reading but am easily distracted. Also, if a character reappears who I’m clearly expected to know, I have to go back until I find out who they are (thank God for Kindle search! It saves me hours!) I’ve recently learned that, if it’s a real book, read on – it’ll probably fall into place. I’ve been like this since I was a child. If only I was so obsessive with my housework (it’s these books, calling to me…)

    Good luck with your Things You Want To Change! Now you’ve got me thinking of other things I should change too!

    • Those people also amazes me! I do exactly the same as you do. The other day I was reading a 700 page book and it took me longer than it should, because I kept paging back to find out things I forgot. I’m way too OCD to tell myself it will fall into place 🙂

      Is there anything you are doing differently this year?

  • Jennine G.

    Wow – what a post. Good for you. I was just talking to someone the other day about how I have to read to keep relaxed and when I feel over the edge, I’ll notice I haven’t been reading. 2015 was a horrible reading year for me as well and whatever it was about, I hope it’s gone!

  • I hope 2016 is great for you. Good luck with your goals.

  • Good luck with your 2016 resolutions. I’m not a big Twitter user, but even I have noticed how much time it can take up. I also unsubscribed from a lot of e-mail services that advertise cheap ebooks, as I want to read my own books as well this year. Not having to delete all those unread e-mails is saving me a little time. I hope you’ll participate in the Classics Club spins. Those are always fun!

    • Luckily I am not subscribed to any of those email services! Although I also have a lot of emails I need to delete at times. I’m glad that for the most part my blog email inbox doesn’t get too cluttered. I’m looking forward to the classic club spins. Good luck with your 2016, TJ!

  • Great list! I find that the longer I’m in this book blogging game, the fewer books I re-read. Which is a shame because I agree that they are such a reading slump cure!
    I really do need to clean up my twitter too…thanks for the reminder!

    • Thanks, Eva. I have been threatening to re-read some favourites for a long time, so I’ll try and do at least one this year!

      I didn’t clean up my blog twitter account and I might not ever, because I’ve taken care, for the most part, not to clutter my time line with nonsense. Thank goodness, as that saves me time!

  • I understand the Twitter thing! It is such an entertaining time suck.
    Good luck with your reading challenges in 2016! I have to get back to the Classics Challenge too. It was woefully neglected in 2015.

  • I really like your goals, especially finding new reading places and getting back into writing and poetry. I hope the changes you make prove to be satisfying and fulfilling for you.

    • Thank you, Lory. I can’t wait to do so, as it’s still summer over here. In winter it might be a better idea to stay indoors 🙂

  • You have some wonderful, well-thought goals ahead of you! Thank you for sharing. I can relate to so many of these.

  • Good luck with your goals! I especially love the ones about finding new places to read and re-reading favourites. Like you, I also found that my blog took a dip in 2015, but it’s a new year, and I’m feeling refreshed! Looking forward to reading your posts this year!

    • Thanks, Karen – I hope you enjoy reading the posts this year. Good luck with your reading this year as well. I hope it picks up!

  • Lisa Sheppard

    I always find reading helps me when stress threatens to do me in – books can take you away from yourself like nothing else! Good luck with your goals this year!

  • Ciska van der Lans

    Twitter is a black hole…. before you know it there are two hours of your day gone.
    Why am I not surprised to see Rebecca on your re-read list?!? I watched the Twilight films last week and got a craving to re-read the books too.
    Hope you will find your relax time back again this year!!

    • Thanks, Ciska. Twitter is for sure a black hole, but an entertaining one! 🙂
      Rebecca is such a classic, if I have to choose two this year to re-read, it will be one of them.

      Twilight needs a re-read for sure! I think I tweeted about it and someone said they’ll re-read it with me 🙂 You should join!

  • These are great changes, I hope your 2016 is amazing! I need to check out Katie’s Reluctant Romantic challenge, that sounds like it could be a hoot. 🙂

  • Glad to know I’m not the only one who is happy to re-read a book. Several times if its really good! I found getting back to my Kindle has helped revive my reading habit. Is that something that appeals to you?

    • My Kindle has been with my niece for almost a month now, I need to get it back. I do sometimes appreciate e-books, especially on the go. Also great for searching. Which ones have you re-read several times?

      • I’ve read Through A Glass Darkly by Karleen Koen at least three times. Elegance by Kathleen Tessaro, Natural History of Love by Diane Ackerman. Those are the ones I can think of off the top of my head.

        • You know, I remember really liking Elegance of a hedgehog! I think it deserves a re-read. Maybe together? What do you think?

  • I loved reading this post because I can relate to quite a few of these points. I too would like to read a few books that I feel deserve another read because I didn’t get into the book as much as I would’ve liked to. Especially classic novels that I did in school, where I just read it to pass the exam :/

    I am going to do a post soon where I share some of my tips for reading faster – I hope it will help you!

    Nihaad – Read & Seek

    • The classics are great, especially the chunky 1400 page ones that takes 2 months 🙂 I actually really like the classics for their character-driven stories. I also collect classic collectibles 🙂

      Thanks for writing that post, Nihaad!

  • Miss EJM

    I completely deleted many social apps. Twitter, Whisper, Tinder all the things I’m hardly ever on, I want to focus on doing more constructive things, read more, enjoy the outdoors more, live life a little simpler, We are being consumed by social media and I feel life is passing me by.

    • I don’t even know what Whisper is! And I’ve never used Tinder. I’m completely disregarding Facebook these days, my profile is only open because of 1 or two groups. I think I stopped liking FB for over 2 years now. However, Twitter, I’ll never leave 🙂

  • Ooh, I love your idea of finding more places to read. I can’t wait until it gets warm enough to start doing some reading outside or with the windows open 🙂

  • Isi

    Hi Mel!
    Sorry I’m late for this post, I started reading it one day but I didn’t finished and here I am now.
    Hope your resolutions are going well. I love many of them, like finding places to read – I’d love to read in parks or at the beach, but I confess I feel shy because I think people will watch me!
    As for the concentration while reading, I also have that problem lately. In my case is due to the mobile phone: I’m hooked on checking it every 5 minutes, and that has to stop.
    As for writing, you can write me if you want <3 I'm sending you a letter this week, by the way 🙂
    I keep a journal, it helps to have a fancy notebook you want to open ofen 🙂 I have never loved poetry, though, but I have found a couple of poems I like because sometimes they speak directly to you.

    Lots of kisses!!

    • Hi Isi,
      My resolutions went well for a while, but I’m back to where I started. Hopefully that will change soon. I think we have the same problem – the phone thing and when I check it, I end up 2 hours on twitter 🙂

      I will definitely write to you, I completely forgot that I said I would. Can’t wait to receive your letter. I have started writing a journal about a month ago and it seems I have quite a lot to get out, because one entry would be 6-7 pages 😀

      • Isi

        Well, so you aren’t where you started if you already have achieved one goal: writing in your journal 🙂
        Tomorrow I’m finally going to the post office to send your letter. Fingers crossed it won’t take much long to arrive at your place.
        Twitter is very time consuming, I agree. I sometimes I get to stay away for long hours from the phone, but other times… Well, we have to work on that, it’s a matter of willpower.
        And how is “Read my own damn books” going? I’m reading my fourth, which is not that bad, since I read very little lately!
        Kisses!!

        • You are my hero! I am going to start cracking on that #Readmyowndamnbooks. Still on number one.

          Yes, it requires willpower. This week I will start spending more time on the right twitter 😀