I know that a new year is just the changing of a calendar, and doesn't guarantee anything in your life will change particularly - but somehow it always feels like there's a chance of a fresh start, however much I know it's fairly meaningless.
So I decided to try and make it meaningful - for me at least! - by consciously changing the way I do a few things. (I have to admit, I started most of them in the last few days of December, because I have no staying power at the best of times and felt that waiting a few days to start doing these things after thinking of them would be a fatal blow to my ambitions immediately!
Firstly I downloaded the app Habitica - tagline 'gamify your life' and set myself some targets on there. I'll go into more detail in a post on the app in a week or two's time, but these were all fairly easy targets - they were things I'd just either skip doing because I was in a rush, or forget whether I'd done them or not. (As an example, one of the targets is to drink a certain amount of water each day, which means I've started drinking it more often than my staple drink of Coke. Apparently 35 years of thinking I should drink more water because it's healthy and doesn't rot my teeth has completely failed to convince me to do this; once it becomes a matter of a small pixelated character gaining experience points if I do it or losing health if I don't I am ALL OVER IT. Yes, I'm aware this says a lot about me, none of it good!) On another health-related note, I've started making sure I have a maximum of 3 nights out in a row - as tempting as it is to do ALL THE THINGS it is messing with my sleep too much - and have downloaded Google calendar and am adding rest days in to make sure I do give myself some days to relax and get an early night on.
And that brings me on to another key thing. I want to share more of my life on this blog. Last year held challenges and problems - some of which I'm going to discuss in the future - but was in many ways for me, personally, a very positive year. (Note the 'personally' bit there; I think it was AWFUL on a global level in many ways, obviously!) I think one of the reasons I had some real personal successes is that I opened up to people far more than I've ever felt comfortable doing before. I'm hoping to continue that honesty (where appropriate, at least - I still need to be reasonably careful for various reasons!) on the blog.
And one of the things I've noticed is that talking about myself and my life, not just books, on the blog makes me enjoy blogging much more. This is the most excited I've been about writing posts for a good few years now - I love that I can change between book recommendations, posts about other things, and a few carefully chosen guest posts, and mix things up. I've also started writing blog posts on my phone when I get a spare minute rather than playing Two Dots. As mentioned in last week's post, I don't regret the couple of months I spent bingeing on that game, but it's nice to feel like I'm doing something more productive now!
Encouraged by my friends Debbie and Stacey, I've downloaded the Goodreads app and am trying to use it regularly for the first time ever. I have never been a fan of GR, for various reasons, but I'm really enjoying it at the moment - it's great to keep track of what I'm reading and it's helping me achieve a few personal targets (not so much about the number of books I read, but about balancing a few things out in my reading) which is excellent. I've also downloaded the Letterboxd app which is doing the same thing for my filmgoing and I'm using Instagram regularly for the first time (at least as me rather than @teensonmoonlane.) I'm trying to upload all my profile pictures to Instagram with the hashtag #jimsprofile - as I mentioned in a post late last year, it has taken me a long time to be happy having photos of myself, and it's really lovely to have a record of so many awesome days and nights with good friends.
In addition, after spending a long time not officially reviewing at all - I made it clear that if people sent me books I was very grateful but my talking about them would likely be limited to Twitter - then Litsy's 451 character limit has got me hyped about trying to write mini reviews of everything I enjoy reading this year. I'm still not planning on writing critical reviews - partly because I don't think it's a strength of mine but mainly because I rarely get more than 25% into a book I'm not enjoying! However I'm trying to make sure that I'm spreading the word about books I really would recommend by reviewing there, screencapping and tweeting a picture of that review, and then uploading it to Goodreads and Amazon. (I'm even going to try a monthly round up on this blog!)
One of the things I wasn't sure about was getting the journal pictured above. I had the idea to use it as a 'gratitude journal' - recording one thing I'm grateful for, or one person I'm grateful to, every night. It felt like a potential waste of £13 because I wasn't sure if it was an idea that just briefly seemed good, or whether I could actually commit to it. Obviously, only a week and a half into 2017 it's too early to say if I WILL stick with it, but I'm really liking it so far and it's doing exactly what I wanted it to, which is making me focus on a positive from the day when I fill it in last thing before going to bed.
Are you doing anything differently in 2017? If so, how is it working for you?