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Reading More in 2024

Turning 30 in the New Year, here's to kicking off the decade right!

There's always that "dreaded" year that marks the end of your 20s, the supposed end of your youth attached to this societal pressure to have accomplished this or that. And while I find that all to be rather silly, as we approach the end of the year, I have found myself putting a little more thought into my Resolutions than usual. Though 30 is just a number, I still want to start the decade off right.

I have some loftier goals, like practicing being kinder to myself. Protecting my energy and saying no more. And then some stereotypical goals; I'd like to be in the best shape possible by the time I turn 30 in April. And of course, I'd like to drag book two over the finish line (almost... there...). But now that I'm settled in Austin, I'd also like to return to some passions that have been interrupted: piano, the martial arts and... reading.

A Return to What We Love

Six months in Austin has flown by in the blink of an eye. I can't believe I've been back in Texas this long, it certainly doesn't feel like it. But it's also crazy to me that it's taken that long to get back on my feet after such a huge move. So much was interrupted, and between seeing family again, reconnecting with old friends and making new ones, so much has fallen to the wayside.

While I'm ending the year grateful for quite a bit, I'd also like to get back on track.

If you surveyed writers, you'd almost certainly find a vast majority share a love for books and reading. Of course, I'm no exception and I've talked about that at length here on this blog. Reading is the first step to writing, and one of the only ways to actually get better at writing (besides just practicing writing itself). How frustrating then that it's taken me six months to finish a 168-page book, of which 30 pages are just souce notes.

(As I quick aside, I highly recommend Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging by Sebstian Junger. It was given to me by my editor after working its way through the tea bar just before I moved, and I only just finished it last week.

It's basically an essay from a journalist who was entrenched in the Afghanistan War. He discusses the tribal nature of humans, how we've strayed from that nature and the problems that's caused. While I don't know if I agree with everything he puts forward, it's all very interesting and well-researched. It'll definitely make you think!

And it's not a very long read, provided, you know, you just read it.)

In that six months, while my reading came to a halt, my stack of unread books continued to grow. Now, I have quite the pile to catch up on. But a goal is nothing without a plan, so here's my reading strategy for 2024...

S.M.A.R.T Goals

Both in my fraternity back in college and to this day in my dojo, we talk about SMART goal setting: Goals should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Based. While I'm going to create a SMART goal for each of my Resolutions, I want to share my SMART goal for reading. Presumably, we all have a love for books in common, right?

  • Specific: I want to read more books in 2024 by starting each morning reading a book instead of doomscrolling on my phone

  • Measurable: I'd like to start with the goal of one book a month, until I can get a more accurate idea of how many pages I can read in an hour.

  • Attainable: I'm starting with one book a month, but I believe two or even three books a month could be possible.

  • Relevant: I'd like to read more because not only is it something I enjoy, but because it exercises the mind and will help me become a better author.

  • Time-Based: This is a long-term goal with no deadline. However, I can stay on track with a journal, and re-evalutating my books/month goal as I go along.

SMART goals are great because they outline metrics to accomplish your task- rather than a vague, "I'd like to read more in 2024." Why do you have this goal, and how are you going to accomplish it?

And because I believe you shouldn't have to wait until some arbitrary date like January 1 to get started on your goals, I've already started putting this into practice. As I mentioned, last week I finished Tribe just by reading every morning instead of doomscrolling. This week, I've started on The Princess Bride, the classic by William Goldman. It's one of my mom's favorite movies, and I've always wanted to read the book it was based off of. So far, it's been just as funny as the movie!

Courtesy: Screenrant

Happy Holidays, My Dear Friends!

Given the holidays, this will likely be my last blog post of the year. This blog is something else that's been interrupted, and in the new year, I hope to return to making biweekly posts. Don't worry, I'll create a SMART goal for it haha.

In the meantime, please be on the lookout for a special holiday illustration soon! Eduardo is through with the semester for now, so we've been working on something special for you guys. I'll share on social media when it's through, but please sign up for my mailing list if you'd also like to see it in your inbox.

Happy Holidays my friends, and Happy New Year! I wish you all the best in 2024 - good luck with your own goals. Which I'd love to hear about, by the way. Please drop them in the comments, and let me know if S.M.A.R.T was useful to you at all.

Until next year, thanks for reading!

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As you wish... XOXO

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