Like many of us, at the end of each year, I scramble, trying to finish and wrap up what seems to be like a million things. I need to make lists of things to do before the end and of things to do in a new year. I need to summarize my year and think of the best and worst books I read, movies I watched, places I went, etc.
It is all about making lists and running around, constantly overcome by the feeling of the time speeding up to the light speed.
I started my December of 2018 in a similar way. I wanted to do everything: film Vlogmas every day, read books, send Xmas cards and gifts, get ready for my birthday, Xmas parties, etc. And already on the first of the month, I felt as if I was terribly behind, which caused a massive spike in my anxiety and guilt. It was not pleasant.
So, I dropped almost everything. I concentrated on the holidays and spending time with my close ones. I focused on celebrating the season and not on whether I was posting a video every day or not. (It was not an easy decision. I was basically arm-wrestled into it. I felt incredibly guilty.)
And you know what? The world did not end. (Although in my head it felt like it should.)
Instead of making a list of, let’s be honest, unrealistic and unachievable goals for 2019, I decided to implement the idea of BAYMTGO (“Begin As You Mean To Go On”) introduced by Leigh Bardugo some time ago. (See the screenshot from her Instagram. She’s been doing this for some time.) On the first of January, Leigh encouraged everyone to devote 15 minutes to something that you want to do more of in a new year.
For me, it was putting my phone aside and getting off social media and journaling. I must say I had one of the most peaceful days in a while. All I did was eat, watch YouTube videos of my favourite bloggers, plan in my new planner and journal. And most importantly - I forced myself to let go of tension and the urge to do something because I felt like I had to (I am not talking about leaving dishes in the sink type of letting go, but reducing the guilt associated with not working hard enough or pushing myself to do more). It was hard. The itch to do something more productive was strong. But I forced myself to be present and mindful of what I was doing at that moment, and the anxiety decreased a bit.
It is a learning curve, but it is something that I want to work on throughout 2019.
My word for this year is FOCUS.
Focus on my health and well-being. Focus on the books that I have been meaning to read or re-read and never found time for. Focus on the movies I keep postponing to watch. Focus on small things that should have been dealt with a long time ago, but I kept thinking that it was not “the right time”. But it is never the right time!
For the exact same reason, I decided to lower my GoodReads goal this year. It used to be 100 books for the past few years, and every single year I beat that goal. However, I looked back at the books I read in 2018 and realized that not all of them were that exciting for me. They were not bad books, but not the ones that I really wanted to read.
As a blogger, it is very easy to fall prey to the numbers and “shiny new object” syndrome. You want to read ARCs, you want to get your hands on the hottest new releases, you want whatever everybody else is raving about. And, yes, sometimes it means reading something not that exciting for a review (which is rare in my case, as I am always genuinely excited about everything I request) or the excitement might be dulled by the necessity of reading and writing a review by a specific date.
It is, sadly, very easy to lose focus and get swept by the hype. Way too easy. I still want to work with indie authors and publishers and review books, but when it comes to my personal choices of reading, I am making some changes.
That is why this year I set my goal as 50 books on GoodReads. I will for sure read more than 50 books, but I wanted to remove the pressure of a big number. I want to read books that I already own. Which means reading a lot of backlist titles, and I am excited about it. Stop binge buying books (which is going to be much harder than the rest of my goals).
So, I began as I mean to go on this year: I focused on quiet, peace, treating my body right, resting, and doing things I love. I intend to continue focusing on the same things every day.
What is your main focus of 2019?