Reading Challenges and Setting Intentions

Now I know it’s February and I am taking a very relaxed approach to New Years resolutions, but I still wanted to write a post about my reading goals for 2018. And some other intention setting I have been doing over the past month.

Ever since I started practising yoga as my New Years resolution two years ago, I have tried to make January a more positive experience by taking stock and thinking about self care.

January is my least favourite month, closely followed by February.

While I should be excited about all the lovely new possibilities of the next year, I’m actually just wondering why on earth it has to be so bloody cold.

A little while ago I was listening to one of Rachel Brathen’s podcasts about setting intentions and manifesting abundance – I am obsessed with her podcast, From The Heart: Conversations with Yoga Girl. And I seem to remember her saying that she doesn’t like the idea of setting strict resolutions for the year, but prefers to spend the first month of the year thinking about what she wants and what she can do for herself.

Now I have not been feeling too clever these last few months. But I did keep up with the 30 days of yoga this January, my first year ever of actually finishing. And decided alongside this to start journaling.

Each night I practice yoga for twenty to thirty minutes and then think about what was good today, what wasn’t good and what I want to do in the next few days. I also keep track of my budget (saving for holidays!) and the number of words I have written (I’ve decided a full restructure of my novel is needed!).

Doing these things is a much kinder process than saying ‘I must eat healthily’, ‘I’m cutting out sugar’, ‘I’m going to buy no clothes all year’.

Instead, I’m allowing the goals to change as my situation does.

If I’m feeling really healthy, I plan to practice yoga every day, walk the dog and write for an hour.

If I’m feeling really unwell (pretty much the whole of January), some yoga, some  journaling and some editing my work is the goal. As well as just doing the things that are required for normal life like getting out of bed and eating and getting to work.

Now reading goals might seem a random thing to include in this, but I love to read.

I think for anyone who wants to write, you need to read. And unlike some of my friends, my degree did not kill my love of reading. Quite the opposite. I love to see what hidden meanings I can find, I love learning and I also love discovering more about the authors behind the books.

Last year I decided I wanted to read more travel writing.

I read books about Iceland, Denmark, America, France and Italy. Travel is a genre that I have always been curious about, but I have always read more novels than anything else because I want to write novels. But I have LOVED reading about places that I might want to visit. And I’ve learnt a lot about good writing outside of my usual crime fiction, old fiction and the odd bit of romance.

This year, I want to read more non-fiction. Basically, widening the genre, because I’m going to keep reading travel writing of course.

But I would like to read more biographies about authors – I read the biography of Harper Lee when I was a teenager studying To Kill A Mockingbird and I’ve returned to it a few times. I would also like to read more spiritual and self-help books, to try and grow in my own self-care practice.

Of course I’ll still be reading A LOT of novels, but I just want to keep widening my horizons. Without university to push me to read random stuff I would never have even thought of, I need to push myself and this is one way to do it.

Last year I read almost 80 books, this year I want to read 120. 10 a month. Easy, right?

Well, here goes it!

I suppose some might say the self-care, the journaling, the budgeting are separate to the reading. But I feel they are all interconnected. It’s about having something to focus the mind each day aside from just going to work.

And it’s about being always kind to yourself. There are no goal police who will lock you up if you don’t complete your goals. But it’s good to have something to keep you pushing forward and to keep widening your horizons.

Let me know if you have any resolutions this year, reading or otherwise. And any reading recommendations are always much appreciated!

Speak soon,

Hannah

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