2016 Goal Recap: How Did I Do?

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Image: Lara Casey

Last year I learned a lot about goal setting, mostly about why it doesn’t work. This fact was difficult for me to come to terms with, considering how much of an overachiever I am. However, when you’re ambitious, it’s easy to take on so many projects and tasks that decision fatigue sets in, and you question why you’re even working toward these objectives in the first place.

In 2017, I am determined to care less about achieving arbitrary goals and more about implementing successful systems. It truly is about the journey, not the destination, because it’s your daily habits that lead to meaningful accomplishments.

If we’re just looking at how many of my 2016 goals I crossed off my list, then I only hit a 50% pass rate. More importantly, though, I realized which goals were actual priorities and which ones were added merely to fill a “top ten” list. The sad part is that the goals that really matter to me are the ones that went uncompleted. That desperately needs to change, so I am more focused than ever on the steps that it takes to reach those goals, no matter how small.

So for what it’s worth, here’s the final tally:

1. Read 20 more books: PASS

I’ve hit this quota for several years now, and it seems to work for me. I read one book per month with my book club and a handful of others in between meetups. I’ve already blogged my reading recap of 2016, and for the most part, the selection was okay. A few excellent novels, but overall a mediocre reading experience.

2. Don’t buy any new books for myself until I’ve read everything I currently own: PASS

I thought that this goal would be difficult to stick to, but I received enough books and gift cards from loved ones that I didn’t have to spend a dime on my favorite hobby last year. And although this is not an important goal to maintain, I still have half a dozen books from my Christmas present haul that will keep me entertained for a few more months.

3. Read 10 new authors: PASS

I broke out of my comfort zone last year by committing half of my reading to new authors. Some I loved (Meg Elison, Paula Hawkins), others were hit or miss (Rainbow Rowell, Neil Gaiman, Jojo Moyes), but most were, unfortunately, forgettable (Mary Norris, Anne Brontë, Gabrielle Zevin, J. Kent Messum, Charlie Jane Anders).

4. Reach 100,000 total blog views: FAIL

In 2016, I gained 15,332 more views: not an impressive amount, but about average for me. I needed to earn 22,835 views to reach a total of 100,000 since I began blogging, which was very much a stretch goal. Since I’m over 92,000 total views now, I imagine that I’ll hit 100k in 2017, but I’ll be scaling back on Book Club Babe, so losing views is a sacrifice I’m willing to make.

5. Blog at least once per week: PASS

Even after taking a month-long hiatus in November for NaNoWriMo, I was able to blog 55 times in the 52 weeks of the year. The two most popular posts in 2016 were interviews with author Meg Elison and Recycle Bookstore in San Jose, and my most popular Top Ten Tuesday post was about the characters I love, but other people don’t.

6. Original goal: Write 10,000 words of my novel per month. New goal: Write 45,000 words before 2017: FAIL

It pains me to admit that I only wrote about 5,000 words in 2016, almost all in Q3, the brief time period when I wasn’t searching for or adjusting to a new job, or preparing to move into a new place. I’ve quickly learned that 10,000 words per month is too ambitious, and I’m better off slowly working my way up to that goal. This year I’m committing to the very small baby step of 100 words per day instead, because enacting a regular writing habit is the key to future success.

7. Complete the first draft of the manuscript of my novel: FAIL

Obviously, I didn’t complete my manuscript in 2016, so I’m not going to continue beating myself up for failing this goal. On the axis of productivity, writing a novel falls under the “important, but not urgent” category and always gets pushed aside for tasks that are “urgent and important” like work deadlines, or worse, activities like checking social media that are “neither urgent nor important.” I will certainly make a better attempt at prioritizing my personal goals this year.

8. Visit 5 new bookstores: FAIL

You can tell that towards the end of this list is where my goals become less meaningful. Visiting new bookstores is fun, but not life-changing by any means. I made a trek to two local bookstores and one in Rome during my spring vacation, so I’m appreciative of the memories I made. It’s always something I try to do when traveling, so I’m sure that I’ll continue doing so without needing to add extra pressure on myself with an arbitrary quantity.

9. Brush up on my Latin (goal abandoned): FAIL

Why I even bothered with this goal is beyond me, but I don’t have the heart to discard my old Latin textbooks from college. I will most likely never study this language again, but I enjoyed the two years that I did tremendously. Cogito ergo sum, but in this case, I did not think realistically about this goal and abandoned it without a hint of guilt.

10. Learn conversational Greek and Italian: PASS…ish

To better navigate through my two-week adventure to Greece and Italy last year, I tried picking up the native languages. After using Duolingo for a few months, the app deemed me about 35% fluent in Italian, but there are few online resources that teach Greek, so I just taught myself a few basic phrases. Not that any of this training really mattered, since both countries are so accustomed to American tourists that they prefer to speak to you in English anyway to make everything easier.

2016 GOAL RECAP: Passed 5 goals; failed 5 goals (50% success rate)

Do I consider 2016 a successful year? Not in the traditional sense of reaching the goals that I set, but definitely from a self-awareness standpoint. I’m grateful for the experience, because it taught me that I need to try things differently this year if I want to see a dramatic transformation. 2017 will be the year of system-setting, not goal-setting: progress is made by incrementally improving every day, so I’m committing to baby steps, not giant leaps for mankind.

This means that I will sadly be devoting less time to this blog. I will still check in to post my book reviews but mostly as maintenance rather than engagement in the book blogging community. I never intended to make money with Book Club Babe, but its stagnant growth and lack of ROI is becoming a larger opportunity cost than the pleasure I gain from blogging.

I love my followers so much and am thankful for their support.I’ll always enjoy book-blogging, but it’s about time that I publish a book of my own for others to blog about! One day I hope that you are as excited to read a novel of mine as I am to share my fiction with the world.

Knowing when to step back can save yourself from burnout and resentment, so I appreciate your understanding as I focus on my greatest passion. I wish you all a fantastic 2017!

2016 Goals: Q3 Progress

And just like that, summer is gone. As my favorite season ends and we head into the home stretch before the winter holidays, it’s time to check my progress on my top ten goals for 2016.

Was this quarter as productive as it should have been?

Brought to you by Giphy's results for

Brought to you by Giphy’s results for “goals”

1. Read 20 more books (6 books read in Q3, progress at 75%): ON TRACK

This quarter I have read The Guest Room, The Honeymoon Hotel, The Book of the Unnamed Midwife, Agnes Grey, Tales of the Peculiar and The Girl on the Train (review coming soon!). In total, that makes 15 books read so far this year, so finishing five more before the end of the year should be a piece of cake.

2. Don’t buy any new books for myself until I’ve read everything I currently own (No new books purchased): ON TRACK

I’m getting closer to completing my book backlog, but this month I celebrated my birthday and received four new books and a $50 Amazon gift card. I am confident that I can go another three months without spending a dime of my own money on books! Huzzah!

3. Read 10 new authors: PASS

Out of the six books that I read this quarter, three of them were written by authors new to me: Anne Brontë, Meg Elison, and Paula Hawkins. They span genres from post-apocalyptic to thriller to classic literary fiction, so I’m proud to achieve this goal with such diversity!

Passed my goal to read 10 new authors!

Passed my goal to read 10 new authors!

4. Reach 100,000 total blog views (reached 12,272 views of the 22,835 total needed this year, progress at 54%): REALLY BEHIND

Summer is my favorite season when I’m having fun in the sun, but not when it comes to blog traffic. I’m sure everyone had better things to do than read my book reviews, but hopefully some people found some gems to add to their to-read lists in the fall when they’re ready to hibernate in front of a fireplace with a good book! There’s no way I’m meeting my 100k goal, but blogging should be about quality, not quantity.

5. Blog at least once per week (blogged 16 times in 13 weeks of Q3, progress at 87%): REALLY AHEAD

This quarter I wrote six book reviews, participated in six Top Ten Tuesdays, and even celebrated my 5th blogiversary! This puts me way ahead of my goal, which is great, because there’s only one more month until NaNoWriMo, and I prefer to take a blogging hiatus to focus on writing my novel in November.

6. Original goal: Write 10,000 words of my novel per month. New goal: Write 45,000 words before 2017 (wrote 4,650 words of my novel in Q3): REALLY BEHIND

I could beat myself up over the fact that I couldn’t reach my word count goal for one month, let alone three. But I’m pretty proud that at least I broke my writing dry spell! Work was especially busy this quarter as we prepared for a major conference this past week. I hope to keep up a better habit and make up for lost time during NaNoWriMo!

7. Complete the first draft of the manuscript of my novel (progress at 11% in Q3): REALLY BEHIND

This goal is dependent on the previous one, so obviously I’m nowhere close to a complete first draft. 14 pages written this quarter, so only about 135 pages to go!

If Marlin can find his son Nemo, then I can finish my novel!

If Marlin can find his son Nemo, then I can finish my novel!

8. Visit 5 new bookstores (visited 1 new bookstore in Q3, progress at 60%): ON TRACK

This quarter I made the short trek from my office to the Mission District of San Francisco and dropped by Alley Cat Books for a quick Q&A. The eclectic art around the store gives it a unique personality, so if you’re located on the west best coast or making a trip in the near future, I highly recommend that you make a visit as well!

9. Brush up on my Latin (goal abandoned): FAIL

Let’s face it: we all have way too much going on in our lives to get nostalgic about stuff we studied in college. As much as I would have loved to squeeze in some Latin before I visited the ancient ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum in May, all of the signage is in Italian anyway, so there wasn’t much for me to attempt translating. I have zero regrets for letting this slip off my priority list.

10. Learn conversational Greek and Italian: PASS…ish

I studied enough of the European languages to get around on my vacation, only to learn that locals have little patience for tourists, choosing to speak English with us rather than listen to us struggle in their native tongues. I now know that learning languages is a “nice to have” skill, not a “must have.”

TOTAL Q3 PROGRESS: On track or ahead on 6 goals; Behind or failed on 4 goals (60% success rate!)

I’ve made some good progress in Q3, so now it’s about catching up and finishing strong in the last three months of 2016. Wish me luck!

Happy 5th Blogiversary to Me!

I know that I’ve been busy, but I cannot believe that I almost missed the fifth anniversary of my blog! Many of the book bloggers whom I follow are college students just getting started, so I definitely feel like a veteran after half a decade. In fact, a recent blog referred to my Why I HATE Nicholas Sparks post as “ancient.” Thanks?

To celebrate this major blogiversary, I’m here to share five fun facts about your very own Book Club Babe!

1. The Hard Numbers: In the five years that I’ve been blogging, I’ve written 416 posts and gained almost 87,000 total views from over 46,600 visitors. The day with the best views ever (463 total) was April 8, 2015, but that’s only because my talented brother Nick Jarrett launched my personal website alyssajarrett.com that day, which hosts a feed to this blog. Check it out to see my professional portfolio and find links to my vlogs and other social media networks.

2. The Fanbase: Speaking of social media, let’s tally up my fans! I have a total of 850 followers, which includes my WordPress (123) and email (18) subscribers, personal Facebook (234), Facebook page (71), Twitter (151), Pinterest (98), personal Google+ (36), Google+ page (94), Goodreads (21), and YouTube (4). I’m certainly not the most popular blog on the web, but I’ve heard many times that people found books they loved thanks to my reviews, and that makes everything worth it.

3. Most Popular Day and Time of Posts: Tuesday (17% of views) at 12:00PM PST (6% of views). Not surprising, given the popularity of the Top Ten Tuesday meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. If you’re a new book blogger, join us!

4. Most Discussed Posts: Other than my rant on the romance novel king, my most commented on posts include My Top Ten Goals for 2016, Top Ten Books When You Just Want to Laugh, and my rant on Fifty Shades of Grey.

5. VIP Commenters: I have to give a special shout-out to Alison Doherty at Hardcovers and Heroines, The Other Watson at Wanton Creation, and Bridget at Dog-Eared and Dog-Tagged for supporting me all these years. I consider them some of my first blogging friends, and I wish them all the best in the future!

Another year down, hopefully many more to go! Thank you for all the insightful conversations, amazing recommendations, and wonderful memories!

XOXO

Book Club Babe

2016 Goals: Q2 Progress

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I can’t believe that this year is half-over already! It seemed like it was just yesterday when I set my top ten goals for 2016. In previous years, I waited until December to evaluate my progress, but this year, I’m writing quarterly updates to keep myself more accountable.

So let’s jump right into it! After six months, how am I doing?

1. Read 20 more books (5 books read in Q2, progress at 45%): SLIGHTLY BEHIND

This quarter I have read Eleanor and Park, Bait, Me Before You, Suddenly One Summer, and All the Birds in the Sky (review coming soon!). In total, that makes nine books read so far this year, so I’m confident that I can pick up the pace to reach my annual quota!

2. Don’t buy any new books for myself until I’ve read everything I currently own (No new books purchased): ON TRACK

Thanks to an Apple gift card and a Marriott points redemption, I’ve been funding my book addiction by getting my book club’s selections on audio. Considering that I still have about six more books sitting patiently for me on my shelf, I’m in no rush to waste money adding to the stack.

3. Read 10 new authors (4 new authors read in Q2, progress at 70%): REALLY AHEAD

Out of the five books I read this quarter, only one was written by a repeat author. I only need to read three more new authors to complete this goal, which will be a piece of cake. The big question is…who should I add to that list?

4. Reach 100,000 total blog views (reached 9,372 views of the 22,835 total needed this year, progress at 41%): REALLY BEHIND

Unless my blog sees an unusual surge in traffic, I am skeptical that I’ll be able to reach this goal. I’d have to receive over 2,200 views per month until the end of the year, and I’ve only averaged about 1,500. I understand that I’m not blogging frequently enough to take Book Club Babe to the next level, but I’m okay with that, since it just means I’ve got lots of exciting things in my life keeping me busy!

5. Blog at least once per week (blogged 14 times in 13 weeks of Q2, progress at 56%): SLIGHTLY AHEAD

Of course, just because I’ve often preoccupied with other things, that doesn’t mean I should abandon this blog I love. I’m still writing weekly, just enough to review the books I read and participate in a Top Ten Tuesday every now and then. Big shout-out to all my followers who still visit regularly, because you make blogging completely worth it!

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6. Original goal: Write 10,000 words of my novel per month. New goal: Write 45,000 words before 2017 (wrote 0 words of my novel in Q2): REALLY BEHIND

I know that there are absolutely no excuses for epically failing at this goal, but here I go making them anyway. I abandoned April’s Camp NaNoWriMo for reasons I can’t remember, I spent half of May touring Europe, and I was preoccupied with moving in June. Even after revising my original goal, I still haven’t made any progress…yet! *cue sad trombone*

7. Complete the first draft of the manuscript of my novel (no progress made on novel in Q2): REALLY BEHIND

Well, setting metrics was my way of keeping track of my goals, but it’s obvious that I’ve been moving the goalpost on this one. Considering I’m halfway done with my novel, I will need to write 7,500 words per month for the rest of the year to mark the first draft as completed. That’s 246 words per day, which only takes me about 30 minutes to write. I. CAN. DO. THIS.

8. Visit 5 new bookstores (visited 1 new bookstore in Q2, progress at 40%): ON TRACK

While traveling in Greece and Italy this spring, I came across a hidden gem in Rome: the Pocket 2000 book and comic bookstore! Not only did I get to explore an indie bookstore abroad, but I found some awesome souvenirs as well! And now that I’m working in the heart of San Francisco again, I know that there are some amazing places to check out. I’ve already had Green Apple Books recommended to me multiple times, so perhaps that will be next on my list!

9. Brush up on my Latin (goal abandoned): FAIL

Frankly, I don’t know why I set this goal, other than the fact that I’d be seeing the ancient ruins of Pompeii on my vacation. I was feeling nostalgic about my time in college spent translating thousands of lines of Latin per week–everything from Caesar and Cicero to Catullus and Seneca. I figured that it would be cool to refresh my skills, perhaps to read some Roman graffiti, but what I didn’t expect was that many parts of Pompeii were closed for reconstruction and that all the remaining sites would be labeled in Italian instead. Definitely my d’oh! moment of the year.

10. Learn conversational Greek and Italian: PASS…ish

I guess that you could see that I achieved this goal, depending on your definition of “conversational.” After studying Italian through the free app Duolingo for four months, I became about 35% fluent in the language, meaning that I could introduce myself, construct simple sentences, and discuss things like food, animals, and clothing.

As for learning Greek, because it wasn’t available on Duolingo, I created a list of common phrases instead. However, I have to admit that since both countries catered to English speakers, I didn’t partake in many opportunities to practice my skills. It will be quite awhile before I visit Italy and Greece again, so I’m comfortable retiring this goal.

TOTAL Q2 PROGRESS: On track or ahead on 5 goals; Behind or failed on 5 goals (50% success rate!)

At the year’s halfway point, it’s clear that I can prioritize the basics of reading and blogging, but I’m having trouble making time for writing and personal development. Let’s see the progress I make in Q3, so check back in the beginning of October for my update!

Meet the Book Club Cats!

Hi everyone!

Last July, I shared some big news: I had adopted twins! Now before you get ahead of yourself, these twins are of the feline variety, and they go by the names Lyra (after the protagonist in Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy) and Pippin (after the hobbit in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings).

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The Book Club Cats: Lyra (left) and Pippin (right)

Since then, the kittens have evolved into fully grown cats and are turning one year old on Monday. To celebrate their birthday, I created their very own Instagram account. Granted, I should have done this much earlier, while they were still young and tiny, but it’s never too late to live vicariously through their cuteness!

You can follow the lives of Lyra and Pippin on Instagram at @bookclubcats. I just got started as their momager, so there’s only a small handful of photos and videos right now, but trust me–they are crazy adorable.

Lyra and Pippin will be sharing their experiences with me as I read and blog my Book Club Babe reviews. Here’s little Lyra posing next to the most recent book that I finally crossed off my to-read list: Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell.

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If you love cats as much as you love books, then go follow @bookclubcats right meow and tell everyone you know about them!

2016 Goals: Q1 Progress

If there’s something that you should know about me–the Book Club Babe–it’s that I’m obsessed with goal-setting. I love writing tasks down and crossing them off the second they’re completed. The rest of the world may have gone digital, but there’s nothing like a paper life planner (especially my new one from Erin Condren) to keep me organized.

At the beginning of the year, I listed my top ten goals for 2016. Usually I just do my end-of-year check-in to see how I did, but I have realized that I need more accountability. This means that I’ll be providing quarterly updates of my progress to keep everything transparent. It’s easy to brag when you’re kicking butt, but I also need to be honest with myself when I need a kick in the butt!

So here we go! After three months, how am I doing?

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Reading: the only thing standing between cats and world domination!

1. Read 20 more books (4 books read in Q1, progress at 20%): SLIGHTLY BEHIND

So far I have read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, Between You and Me, and The Heart Goes Last (review coming soon!), and I’m currently reading Eleanor and Park, the oh-so-popular YA romance by Rainbow Rowell. I’m supposed to be done with the book by Apr. 9 to stay on track, but that might be too difficult a challenge. I’m not worried though, because I imagine that I’ll make up for lost reading time on my long international flights to and from Europe next month!

2. Don’t buy any new books for myself until I’ve read everything I currently own (No new books purchased): ON TRACK

I’m proud to say that I have successfully avoided the siren call of new books! It doesn’t mean that I’m reading any less, however, since I’m using the library more often, and my boyfriend sweetly gave me a gift card on Valentine’s Day to spend at San Francisco’s famous City Lights bookstore, so I’ve now added Neil Gaiman’s American Gods and J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Silmarillion to my to-read list. I also received an Apple gift card when I purchased my new iPhone SE yesterday, which will probably go towards audiobooks on iTunes–instead of an Apple TV, much to said boyfriend’s dismay!

3. Read 10 new authors (3 new authors read in Q1, progress at 30%): SLIGHTLY AHEAD

Out of the four books I read this quarter, three were written by authors unfamiliar to me, which is fantastic! And as I mentioned earlier, I’ll soon be able to add Rainbow Rowell and Neil Gaiman to reach the halfway mark. With nine more months of 2016 to go, I’m positive that my book club will recommend some great new authors to me to finish my goal!

4. Reach 100,000 total blog views (reached 5,730 views of the 22,835 total needed this year, progress at 25%): ON TRACK

Based on these numbers, I envision reaching this goal by the skin of my teeth. I knew that it would be a stretch, but it would be awesome to say that I’ve hit 100K total views after five years of blogging. I’ve called Book Club Babe the little blog that could, and as long as I keep writing, sharing on social media, and participating in the book blogging community, it can succeed!

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Me furiously blogging at the end of the week to meet my quota!

5. Blog at least once per week (blogged 15 times in 13 weeks of Q1, progress at 29%): SLIGHTLY AHEAD

Much to my surprise, I have managed to blog at least once per week this quarter. I can never promise that I’ll blog at a certain time on a particular day, but if I want to reach 100k views, then blogging regularly is a must–no matter how busy life gets while juggling work and a social life!

6. Write 10,000 words of my novel per month (wrote 3,100 words out of 30,000 needed in Q1, but 0 words on my novel): REALLY BEHIND

The moment of shame: I have totally dropped the ball on working on my novel. Those closest to me are not at all shocked, since I have absolutely no procrastinating tendencies except for the work that really matters. In fact, the only writing that I have accomplished this quarter is a short story that I wrote as a gift, which is great but doesn’t really count.

That said, I should have specified in this goal to write 10,000 words per month until my novel is finished. I have 45,000 words, or about 140 pages, of my novel already completed, so I’m at the halfway mark. If I can complete another 45,000 words before 2017, I’ll still consider this goal a success!

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This cat has been writing more than me!

7. Complete the first draft of the manuscript of my novel (no progress made on novel in Q1): REALLY BEHIND

As I stated previously, this is the goal that’s the true indicator of winning. And as luck would have it, today’s the first day of April’s Camp NaNoWriMo! After participating in NaNoWriMo for the past three Novembers, perhaps the lesser-known camp sessions are the motivation I need to write more regularly. I’ve just signed up and have committed to writing 10,000 words this month. If I achieve this goal and repeat it for the camp in July, in addition to the 20,000-25,000 words that I write in the fall, I can call my first manuscript draft officially done!

8. Visit 5 new bookstores (visited 1 new bookstore in Q1 with 2 planned for Q2, progress at 20%): ON TRACK

This year I’m dedicated to supporting independent bookstores, and last month I featured Recycle Bookstore, located where I live in San Jose, Calif. It was fun interviewing the owner, Eric Johnson, and meeting the store’s feline mascot Emma, so if you’re in the neighborhood, be sure to visit! Next month I’ll be traveling to Greece and Italy for the first time, so you bet I’m going to explore a bookstore in each country!

9. Brush up on my Latin (not yet started, progress at 0%): REALLY BEHIND

Honestly, I can’t seem to muster much enthusiasm for this goal. I can understand my intention of going through my old Latin textbooks from college, so I have a better understanding of any writing I see in the classical ruins in Italy, but I know that’s not a requirement to enjoying the historical landmarks. If I get around to it, fantastic, but this goal is just icing on the cake for me now.

Not to mention, if there’s any Latin still remaining, it will probably be Roman graffiti, which is often too profane for your typical Latin grammar lessons. Of course, the vulgar stuff is the most fun to learn, which is why I can still quote Catullus: “Moecha putida, redde codicillos, redde, putida moecha, codicillos!” (“Dirty whore, give back my tablets, give me back, dirty whore, the tablets!” to you non-Latin scholars out there. I did a whole presentation on this poem, in case you’re wondering. The classics program at UC Santa Cruz is AWESOME.)

10. Learn conversational Greek and Italian (32% fluent in Italian according to Duolingo, 0% fluent in Greek): REALLY BEHIND

Refreshing my Latin may not be a big deal, given that no one but those in the Vatican still speak it today, but there’s no excuse not to pick up a bit of the modern languages of the places I’ll be visiting. I’ve been studying Italian through the free app Duolingo, which is fun, but not exactly the most practical. I think that I learned the names of animals before I learned how to state my own name! And Duolingo doesn’t have lessons in Greek, so this month I’ll need to create a list of common phrases in both languages, so at the very least, I can order in a restaurant and locate the nearest restroom.

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Sensing a theme with these gifs…but traveling never looked so cute!

TOTAL Q1 PROGRESS: On track or ahead on 5 goals; Behind on 5 goals (50% success rate!)

All in all, I’m not doing too shabby with my 2016 goals, but there’s a lot of room for improvement. I’m keeping up with reading and blogging, and now I need to pick up the slack on writing and language-learning. Stay tuned for my Q2 progress report in the beginning of July!

My Top Ten Goals for 2016

Image via The Broke and the Bookish

Another year, another “Top Ten Tuesday!” As most of my readers should know by now, I like to take part in this fun meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week is all about our new year’s resolutions! I already shared how I fared when it came to last year’s goals, but now it’s time to start fresh!

Without further ado, here are my top ten goals for 2016!

My to-read list is taunting me!

My to-read list is taunting me!

1. Read 20 more books. On average I complete 20 books per year, so why fix something that’s not broken? This year will be a challenge only when it comes to narrowing down my reading list! I already know that I’ll be reading one book per month for my real-life book club, but I also have another 11 books (see photo above) waiting to be read at home! Which brings me to my next resolution…

2. Don’t buy any new books (for myself) until I’ve read everything I currently own. I added myself in parentheses, because I still need to read my book club’s selections, but even then I will try my best to get all my books from the library this year. If I want something special, then I will force myself to wait for the generosity of loved ones on my birthday and holidays. I’m embarrassed to admit that this will be much harder for me than it sounds!

3. Read 10 new authors. Every year I like to stretch my comfort zone, so I’m determined to not get into a reading rut. Making sure that at least half of my annual quota consists of authors whom I’ve never read before seems reasonable.I read ten new authors last year, but only out of luck since I never made it a priority. And since I received Fangirl and Eleanor & Park as gifts last year, I’m excited to finally add Rainbow Rowell to that list!

4. Reach 100,000 total blog views. Last year, I achieved over 22,000 views, bringing my total to 76,000 since I started blogging in July 2011. 2016 should be the year that I top six figures, and it’s all thanks to my wonderful readers! Virtual high fives all around!

5. Blog at least once per week. For this goal, it’s not necessarily the quantity I have difficulty reaching, considering that I published 74 blog posts last year. It’s about the consistency. Instead of starving in November, binging in December, and treading water the rest of the year, I owe it to my followers to give them regular content. I can’t guarantee posts on specific, scheduled days because life is too chaotic for that, but I can at least make a plan to blog weekly. Hold me to it!

6. Write 10,000 words of my novel per month. This resolution is actually more important to me than blogging, but because I write on my own, I don’t have hundreds of followers to keep me accountable. Hopefully, this goal will be the motivation I need to stick to a writing habit, but by all means, please randomly reach out to me asking me how the novel-writing is going, because I certainly need a kick in the pants!

7. Complete the first draft of the manuscript of my novel. Piggybacking on the previous resolution, if I write 10,000 words per month, I can feasibly consider the first draft of my novel finished in the first half of this year and begin the editing process. Even at the halfway point with 145 pages already written, I still have a long way to achieve this goal, but now I can see the light at the end of the tunnel!

8. Visit 5 new bookstores. In May I will be traveling to Europe for the first time, and there’s nothing I love more than checking out local bookstores in new places. I’m spending one week in Greece, followed by another week in Italy, so I’m looking forward to taking in the literary sights! And if I don’t already accomplish this quota abroad, I have many more months to explore my own backyard.

O frange! (That’s Latin for “oh snap!”)

9. Brush up on my Latin. A major reason why I’m traveling to Greece and Italy is to see all the ancient ruins that I studied as a classics minor in college. In my prime, I was translating about 1,000 lines of Latin per week, but five years later, I admit that my language skills are really rusty. It would be fantastic to read all the Roman graffiti around Italy’s capital and Pompeii, but I’ll have to whip out my old textbooks to make it happen.

10. Learn conversational Greek and Italian. As much as I love Latin, I realize that it’s not spoken much anymore, except perhaps within Vatican City. Thus, I would also like to learn enough modern Greek and Italian to cover the basics, like ordering at restaurants, navigating around town, and conversing with locals. Before I visited Tokyo three years ago, I took an online course which helped immensely and made my experience so much more rewarding. If you have used any online language-learning tools, please let me know!

So those are my top ten goals for 2016! If you’ve made any resolutions, post them in the comments! Let’s help each other reach new heights!