This year, instead of having bookish goals and/or resolutions, I’m going to do more of a free for all and just talk about a bunch of things I want to do in 2020. They’re not even necessarily resolutions (or at least, not all of them are), and many are definitely more about having fun than anything else, but I think this is still a great way of looking ahead!
1. GET ORGANIZED. I’m a shameful excuse for a librarian, to be honest. We’re supposed to be masters of organization, and yet my entire digital life is a complete and total garbage mess. I’ve got decades of scattered files of pictures and documents across several external hard drives and cloud services, all so messily categorized that I can never actually find anything. I’ve got bookmarks saved across several computers and several browsers and no good way to save the material I want to preserve. I’ve got scholarly articles strewn across cloud services and citation managers. I just have so much content. So my goal is to figure out a good way to manage this content, and establish a single digital filing system, standardized across storage spaces, that will actually make it possible for me to find and access materials.
2. VISIT MORE CULTURAL INSTITUTIONS. I’m going to be starting a work from home job in February, which means I will be home most of the time, and therefore should hopefully want to go out on the weekends now! Since I live in New York City, there’s a ton of museums and cultural institutions I’ve always wanted to go see but have never really had the energy. Some locales I would like to visit:
- The Met (I’ve been only twice before, in college)
- The Frick Collection
- The Whitney
- The Cloisters
- The Tenement Museum
- The Transit Museum
- The Guggenheim
- The Brooklyn Museum
- The Jewish Museum
- The Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum
- The Noguchi Museum
- The New York Chinese Scholar’s Garden
- The Hispanic Society of America
- The Museum at FIT
3. GET MORE EXERCISE. I know, I know, this is everyone’s cliche resolution for the new year, but I think it’s going to become doubly important from me since I will begin working from home. I will really have to think about incorporating physical activity into my routine so that I don’t, you know, die, but I have no intention of joining a gym. Here are the small but specific goals I want to maintain:
- Stretch for 5-10 minutes every morning.
- Walk 30 minutes a day (or every other day, let’s be real).
- Do some form of Pilates three times a week.
4. READ AT LEAST 70 BOOKS. This is my yearly resolution, to read a good number of books, but again, since I’ll be working from home, that means that I won’t be doing all my usual commute reading, which totaled up to three hours a day. Oddly, I find that I struggle to read anywhere but on my commute, and I think that’s because on the commute there’s no distractions; it’s either read or stare into space. At home there’s my mom, and my cat, and my television, and my laptop…so I really have to make reading a priority; I want to continue reading for at least three hours a day so that my reading output doesn’t drastically decrease.
5. TRAVEL ABROAD TO THE UNITED KINGDOM. I have been wanting to do this for so long. I actually had a trip all planned out this summer, but my friend got sick and could no longer travel so far, so we switched our destination to California, closer to home. She is very determined to go abroad next year, however, and so am I, but I am so constantly strapped for finances, since I support both my mother and brother, and I’m not sure I will have enough money to do a trip like this unless my brother starts raking in more cash, but I’m hopeful he will, and I’m hopeful I will save at least a couple of thousand on the cost of commuting and eating out at work.
6. GET A BOOK DEAL. This one is kind of…out of my hands in the sense that I can do my best but there’s really no guarantee of anything, but it would certainly help a lot with the aforementioned traveling goal, because if I get any kind of advance at all I could spend it on the cost of the plane ticket. Anyway, this is more of a “put it out into the universe” sort of goal, so here’s hoping the universe hears me.
7. READ MORE LITERARY FICTION. I did much better at this in 2018, when I branched out out of my usual fantasy genre, but in 2019 I went back to my roots. I’d like to swing back around a bit. And I don’t mean, like, read a ton of literary fiction, but I’d still like to dip my toes into books kind of like what Sally Rooney writes, as I read her work this year and thoroughly enjoyed it, and I do have some ideas about Rooney-esque stories I’d like to try my hand at writing. I’m already curating a list of some of these types of books that I want to read this year, so I’ll be making a post about that sometime soon!
8. SAVE SOME MONEY. I am…really bad at this. I tend to be kind of cavalier about money, spending it willy-nilly on myself and other people. I mean, I don’t do anything crazy; I don’t really buy expensive clothing or anything expensive, really, it’s more that I spend money on a lot of little things (books, book boxes, coffee, hair products) that add up and don’t even think about saving, because, well, I’ve never really felt like I wanted to save, because what’s the point of having money sitting around not being used, especially if it’s not gathering significant interest? But as I get older I guess I should start thinking about buying property or something, right? In any case, this whole endeavor starts with at least opening up a savings account, which I currently do not have.
9. WRITE MORE SHORT STORIES AND NONFICTION PIECES. I used to do this far more often, but in the past two years I very much got caught up in writing my novel and querying. But in reading Monster She Wrote, about women who wrote hundreds of stories in their lives, I’ve become inspired to try to create more short pieces. There was an anecdote in the book about how one writer needed to buy a new fridge, so she wrote a short story, sold it, got paid for it, and bought a fridge. I mean. It’s basic economics, I know, but there’s still something almost magical about that.
10. FINISH ANOTHER NOVEL. I mean. This is a given, but I do need to fill up twenty things on this stupid list, so. But anyway, I feel like I’ve been flitting around from project to project for a long time, struggling to settle on any one, so I really want to just…pick one idea and follow it through.
11. CREATE A HAPPIER AT-HOME WORKSPACE. Since I’m going to be working from home my at-home workspace is going to be more important than ever. I’ve always been pretty cavalier about it, and I’m…so incredibly messy all the time. I find that that really affects my mental headspace; I’m so much happier when my room is clean and organized. Some things I’d like to do:
- Buy a new ergonomic desk chair
- Buy a laptop stand so my neck doesn’t strain so much
- Clean out my drawers and actually throw things away so I have more space
- Put things in their proper place right away and stop thinking of the floor as another shelf
- Organize my closet
12. DNF MORE. This is probably a strange goal for a reader/book blogger, especially since I’m no stranger to DNF’ing already (DNF’d 8 out of 87 books last year), but hear me out. I can generally tell whether I will get along with a book pretty early, usually within the first twenty to forty pages. Despite this, if a book isn’t too boring, I will push through and end up with a two or three star rating, which is why I think I end up with a lot of books I feel lukewarm about. Mainly, the reason I try not to DNF is because I hate feeling like I’ve wasted time reading 50-100 pages of a book only to let it go, but I’m trying to rework my mindset to understand that the waste of time might actually be continuing a book I dislike. Even if I DNF a book after having read a chunk of it, that’s not a waste, that’s exposure to a genre I perhaps wouldn’t have otherwise touched, to a writing style I’m unfamiliar with, to a story plot and structure I haven’t seen before. It allows me to experience different types of books and writing without necessarily committing to finishing an entire novel that I dislike. I’ve never really read with this mindset before, but I’d like to try it out in the months going forward, and see if it leads to me being more passionate about the books I do end up finishing!
13. PREPARE TO MOVE OUT OF NYC. There is no way we will be financially prepared to move out of NYC within the next year, since my brother is still in school, but I hope that towards the end of the year we can at least begin visiting other locales and thinking about where we would like to relocate. I’ve lived in NYC for most of my life and am utterly sick of it by this point; my dream is to live somewhere that’s not totally in the boonies but where I can still have a garden and raise chickens and where my mom will be happy.
14. DO WELL AT MY NEW JOB. Again, a no-brainer, but still! Working from home is something I’m sure I will love, and I really want to do my best to ensure I can successfully maintain a good work ethic along with a good work-life balance. Plus, you know, I just hope I will like the job in general, so I can stay on for a long time! I’m generally adverse to change; if I don’t have to change things up, I would rather not, so I’m the sort of person who would probably stay in the same job for years and years if I had no issues with it, and here’s hoping that happens here.
15. BE MORE OPEN TO NEW THINGS. I tend to find a comfort zone and really, really dig my heels into it. I nest. I hibernate. I’d like to try and…not do that so much. This doesn’t have to be anything too big, but maybe I don’t spend every weekend in bed, maybe instead I go out sometime. Maybe if I have the opportunity to go to a group hang and meet new people every once in a while, I’ll at least think about going and not shoot the idea down completely. Maybe if my mom or her friends want to set me up with someone, I go along with it, for the experience. Just, I don’t know, I’d like to at least be open to the idea oaf new things!
16. STAMP THE BOOKS I OWN. I just stumbled across this idea on someone’s blog; I didn’t realize this was a thing! You can imprint your books so they say “From the library of” and there are some really gorgeous stamp options out there. I think this is such a cute way to customize the books you own and it’s great for when you lend books to friends and such!
17. READ MORE NONFICTION. This goes on every year’s list of recommendations, but clearly I need it, because I can never seem to fulfill it! I’d like to at least try to read at least one non-fiction book per month.
18. LEARN SOME SPANISH. This is kind of a random goal, for me, because I don’t often spend time on learning languages because, well, I’m pretty bad at it, but I’d like to try and pick up some more Spanish! My goal is not to be fluent or anything like that, but given that I live in New York City, knowing Spanish is super duper useful, so I’d like to at least be able to speak some simple sentences and learn some more vocabulary.
19. READ AT LEAST THREE SHORT STORIES IN ARABIC. Since I’m still on the topic of languages. A couple of years ago I purchased a book of short stories in Arabic, translated into English, and have proceeded to read…absolutely none of it. I’m purposely making this goal super small and specific and doable, because I think the notion of reading an entire book in Modern Standard Arabic is kind of intimidating, so I would like to just pick out three short stories to read, and then copy them out so I can practice my handwriting. Just a way of keeping my Modern Standard Arabic current!
20. FINISH SOME FANTASY SERIES. This is definitely going to happen, because several of my favorite series are ending in 2020, such as: The Diviners, The Poppy War, and The City of Brass. But also, I still need to read the last book in the Dark Days Club series, which I adore, so I don’t know why I’m holding off (actually, I do, I hate endings), and I’d like to read Molly Tanzer’s companion novel, and there are some complete series out there that I’d like to start and actually finish!
And there we have it! I…can’t believe I actually managed to list 20 things, but most of them aren’t exactly reach-for-the-stars difficult, and I definitely don’t penalize myself for not accomplishing something. This is more of a things-to-look-forward-to list!