Goals: The Ones We Met and the Ones We Set

Hello, hello! It’s the end of the year (finally), so we’re here here to talk about how successful we were at our 2020 goals, to make our goals for 2021, and to discuss how blogging went for us this year. Our end of the year wrap up for bookish content will be coming later in January, once we’ve finished reading and compiling our stats and lists and such!

what are your goals GIF by The Hills

Some 2020 Blogging Stats and Highlights: 

This is our 77th post this year! Slightly less than last year but we’re still super proud of how much we managed to write given the circumstances (pandemic and all). 

Participated in 3 blog tours!

Reached 715 blog followers! 

Won a blogging award for best discussion posts!

How We Did on 2020 Goals:

Overall:

We participated in the Discussion Challenge, and even though we didn’t set a specific goal, we killed it! We posted at least one discussion every month, which is crazy since last year we went 3 whole months with no posts! So YAY for breaking that curse! In total, we posted 39 discussion posts, which means that a little over half of our posts were us talking about our opinions on some topic or another!

Podcasting The Simpsons GIF by Animation Domination

We also wanted to be more relaxed in our approach to blogging, and we were! If we couldn’t post for a while, or were too busy to blog hop, we cut ourselves some slack, and it kept us from burning out this year.

Malka:

I set my reading challenge to 50 books to start with, and I’m proud to say that I reached that goal. My stretch goal was 100 books, but that just didn’t work out this year. I’m a bit disappointed, but I know that this was a challenging year, and that reading over 85 books is impressive for a full time, stressed out, engineering student.

Books Falling GIF by HannahWitton

My next goal was with regards to my physical TBR. And what a mess of a goal this one is to figure out. I apparently only had 22 unread books in the beginning of 2020, and I wanted to read half of those this past year. But the problem is that I didn’t record which books were the ones I owned pre-2020. And then the pandemic happened and I started purchasing 3-6 books a month, and keeping track became impossible. I now own 40 unread books. 44 of the books I read this year were books that I owned at some point. (Some I purchased after reading them. Some I unhauled or will be unhauling.) Not all of those books were on my TBR pre-2020, but I still think it shows that I prioritize books I own, and so I’m gonna consider this a win.

beauty and the beast books GIF

I have a similar problem when it comes to my physical ARC goals, where I said I owned 8 ARCs and wanted to read 4. In reality, I owned more than 8 ARCs, but I didn’t think I’d read some of them, so I didn’t include them in my count. Then I ended up reading those ARCs, and not reading most of the 8 I had in mind. Yeah, I know. I can’t stick to a TBR for the life of me, no matter how informal. Anywho, I’m once again considering this a win, because I read more than 4 physical ARCs this year. 

My last goal was to get the 50 reviews badge on NetGalley. And technically, I didn’t reach this goal, since I only posted 49 reviews. HOWEVER, I have already written my review for a 2021 release, I just haven’t published it yet because the book comes out in March. So technically I’ve written 50 reviews for NetGalley, I just don’t have the badge yet. I’m counting it because I know that I’ll have the badge by March! (Actually earlier, because I have reviews that are coming out in January and February before that pre-written review, but my point is that I wrote my 50th review in 2020).

Way To Go Good Job GIF by Dirty Bandits

Chana:

Okay so starting with my reading challenge let’s just say LOL. I set it to 200 again but I ended up lowering it 3 different times throughout the year. At the end of 2020 it’s been reset to 150 books! And yayy I met my revised goal! (Although I do feel like I cheated a bit since I just changed my goal? But whatevs). In the end I read 162 books in 2020, and I’m pretty proud of it because my 2020 reading has been verryyy inconsistent. 

Another goal of mine was to be more active on Twitter and make more friends and…meh? Kind of? I think I was more active for a bit but then I kind of went AWOL again, but I do think that I made some more/got closer with some blogging friends this year (ILY all). 

Lastly I had a goal to make our blog prettier, and thanks to the help of Kat, it hath been done! So a big check mark on that. 

Bookish Goals:

Malka:

This year I’m just going for it. I want to read 100 books. Yes, my Goodreads goal will first be set to 50 so I don’t get stressed out, but I’m putting it in writing that I want to read 100 books. And I even have a plan to accomplish this! I plan on starting off 2021 by reading a whole slew of graphic novels in January so that once my killer semester starts up, I’ll know that I already read a whole bunch of books, and won’t have to worry about falling behind! 

Books Read GIF

I also want to read more diversely. I first started taking notice of what kinds of diverse books I read after the Black Lives Matter movement this year, which honestly it’s ridiculous that it took me that long. But while I noticed an improvement in my diverse reading, I want a concrete goal this year. So, I want 75% of the books I read to be diverse in some fashion, whether that’s in terms of race, sexuality, disability, mental health, location or something else. Whatever it is, I don’t want to be reading only white, Eurocentric stories this year. I have a plan for keeping track of this goal which I’ll talk about a bit later. (It involves spreadsheets!)

My next goal is a fun and hopefully interactive one! I recently purchased a set of TBR cards made by Jesse @ Bowties & Books and I’m super excited to use them! These cards contain over 50 prompts to help you pick fun, diverse books each month. My goal is to use these cards, but I’m not quite sure in what capacity. Right now I’m thinking of picking a few cards each month, and choosing one or two of the ones I pick to focus on each month. I might let my Instagram followers vote on stories to help me pick one card each month, so if you’re not already following us there, you should!

Poker Face Teen GIF by Children's Miracle Network Hospitals

And lastly, like last year, I want to get rid of my backlist TBR. Like I mentioned, I have a plan this year, and from the 40 that I owned before 2021, I would like to read (or unhaul) 20. I don’t mind it at the end of the year I still have 40 books on my physical TBR, but I want there to be more new books on my physical TBR than books I’ve had for ages and that remain unread.

Chana:

Learning my lesson from last year, let’s say that my 2021 reading goal is 150 this time! No need to be overzealous. 

Blogging goals

Overall:

We also are once again trying to have a relaxed approach to blogging. While that means that we might not be as active in terms of how much we post or blog hop, it’s important to us to put our mental health first.

We’ll of course be joining the Book Blog Discussion Challenge hosted by Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight and Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction! We absolutely love participating in this challenge, and since we tend to write lots of discussions, this is a low pressure challenge for us!

Our last overall goal is to make more Bookshop lists to share with all of you. We wrote a whole post about how we’re now Bookshop affiliates, and make a small commission from every book you purchase through one of our links, but we haven’t really made any more lists since. Hopefully that will change in 2021!

Malka:

This is going to shock people, but I really want to write 12 reviews this year. Hopefully this means one review a month, but if I write no reviews one month, and 2 reviews another, that’s fine with me. I think writing reviews consistently will help me figure out how I personally like to write my reviews, which is something I’ve struggled with in the past. (Also I already have 4 reviews planned at the time of writing this post, so I’m already prepared for the first few reviews.)

Book Swipe Up GIF by thegangoffur

I also want to develop more connections with different publishers, and be braver about emailing when there’s a book I think I’ll enjoy. 

Chana:

It would be really cool to be able to reach 1000 blog followers in 2021? But like no sweat if not since I’m personally really happy with where we’re at right now. I also have a bunch of blog post ideas that I’ve been putting off for ages now (because they require extra work) but I would love to write them in 2021!

Also review wise, I’ve realized that I like my reviews better when they’re about a book that I’m passionate about rather than when I’m just writing it for a publisher/NetGalley. So, I’m going to try and write more reviews for books I loved instead of just for books I need to review!

How we’re keeping track of goals:

Malka:

Now comes the fun part for me! Besides for using Goodreads and The Storygraph to keep track of the books I read and to generate some useful stats for me, I’m going to be using a really detailed spreadsheet to keep track of my goals!

excel fail GIF

I use Kal @ Reader Voracious’s template, but I modified the spreadsheet so that it will be easy to track my specific goals.

For example, I put all the books I have on my TBR into the “Owned Books” sheet, and I set up a table to automatically count every time I read one of those 40 books. I added categories to keep track of the books I read with diverse representation, with columns to just answer “yes” or “no” and a separate column to list the representation, if there is any.

Yes Or No GIF

I had so much fun personalizing this spreadsheet to best track my goals, that I want to offer my help to anyone who wants to use a spreadsheet, but doesn’t want to take all the time setting one up to suit their goals. Feel free to reach out to me to help you spread up your own spreadsheet! I absolutely love playing around with Excel, so for me it would be a fun activity to do over my winter break! 

What are some of your goals for 2021? How did you do on your 2020 goals? Do you use spreadsheets too? What challenges are you taking part in this year?

23 thoughts on “Goals: The Ones We Met and the Ones We Set

  1. I haven’t set any goal for 2021 except Goodreads challenge as I hardly stick to those goals and only finish easier ones that are hardly one or two. I use spreadsheet and I started keeping journal. I will post charts and all in first two weeks of New Year. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes!! I’m the same way! I’m always scared to join more specific challenges because I’d feel really bad if I didn’t meet them, but the Goodreads challenge is super flexible and you can always change it whenever! I think this year I’ll maybe try and keep a spreadsheet or something just for fun to see different genres and diversity stats so that I can have a better view of what my reading habits are like overall.

      I hope you had a wonderful New Year!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I started using a spreadsheet last year inspired by Fadwa and it was.. okay. My initial goal was to see how many diverse books I read and work on it but honestly I was reading enough diverse books without conscious effort so YAY for me! This time I’ll take a look at Kal’s spreadsheet (haven’t yet because I’m procrastinating) and see if it’ll be worth it for me.
    Good luck with your 2021 goals!! 100 and 150 books along with everything else is no joke.

    Like

    1. This was my first year consistently using a spreadsheet as well! I think that Kal’s spreadsheet was really easy to use and had everything I wanted to keep track of last year. This year my goals are a bit different, which is why I had to make some more modifications to it. In general though, I just love the fact that these spreadsheets generate so many stats and pie charts for me! I’m a numbers nerd!

      Thank you! I’m not sure if 100 books is truly manageable, since my next semester is known to be the most difficult one for my major, but I figured it would be nice to at least try!

      Like

  3. Happy New Year! It sounds like you both did great with your 2020 goals, and best of luck with your 2021 goals.
    I definitely like the idea of using a spreadsheet to track how you’re getting on with your goals. I always set goals, but other than using Goodreads to track my reading, I never actually set up any thing that allows me to see how I’m doing (which is probably why I never seem to hit my goals!). I may have to do something similar, or perhaps use a diary or something!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! To you as well! I’m quite happy with how I did in 2020, but I hope that 2021 is even better, in the sense that now that I’ve created such concrete goals, I want to make sure I can actually achieve them. Normally I allow myself more wiggle room to mess up a bit, but still consider it a win. I guess we’ll find out how I do in 12 months!

      Spreadsheets are the only method that work for me, because I have no patience to write everything down. Having a pre-existing list of prompts to type out makes it so much easier for me. Plus, the stats automate on their own, so as soon as I input a book, I can easily see which goals it’s helping me meet!

      I hope you find a method that works to help you keep track of your goals! If you decide to use a spreadsheet, I’d be more than happy to help you set one up to match your needs!

      Like

  4. You guys were amazing in 2020 😭 I can’t believe you published 77 blog posts I think I only published 20+ :”) And your discussions were all phenomenal too—I can only dream of publishing that much discussions take so much out of me. And as for reading goals you guys did great too!! I think that just being able to read with a pandemic and school requirements in the background is already an accomplishment. I tried to keep a 2020 reading spreadsheet, but I spectacularly failed and I haven’t updated it since March 🥴 I’m hoping keeping one goes better for you—in theory it’s satisfying to see all your stats broken up into graphs but i’m so lazy and forgetful i gave up on keeping one

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Caitlinnnn, we are huge cheaters since there are *two* of us churning out all the posts! Ahh thank you so much!! Omgg, 2020 has been killer on reading challenges and blogging (as well as other things lol). But I think that’s why I don’t feel so bad about lowering my challenge so much, things were difficult and that’s ok!

      Loll I’m the same way with spreadsheets! I’ve started like 4 different ones and at the start, they’re all organized and amazing but then I don’t update them and it falls to ruin 😂 I hope you had a wonderful New Year! (also I saw on twt that you’re not feeling well rn, so feel better soon 💕💕)

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow, the blog revamp looks amazing – Kat always blows her designs out of the water! I loved reading about your goals and reflections, especially as it comes tio just being kinder to yourself in terms of the blog. Burnout is such a problem, and it’s nice to see people tackle it head-on.

    Thanks for linking to & using my spreadsheet template. I hope it serves you well, and happy reading in 2021!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I really love how our blog looks now. I’ll forever be grateful to Kat for blessing us with this beautiful design!

      It’s always lots of fun to think through the goals I want to have in the new year, and it’s even more fun to share them! I definitely think that being more relaxed about blogging has been the most helpful thing that I think more people would benefit from adopting a similar approach. Chana and I call it being aggressively chill. We always tell one another (and ourselves) that it’s okay if we don’t meet a self-imposed deadline, that a post can wait another day, or week, and that comments will get responded to when we have the time and brain power. After all, this is a hobby, and we want to enjoy the experience of being book bloggers!

      Of course! I adore your spreadsheet so very much! It served me so well in 2020, and I can’t wait to use the new and improved version in 2021! Thank you so much for sharing such a wonderful resource with the community! 💕

      Like

  6. Congrats to both of you on hitting your goals in 2020! I’ve looked back at the goals I set at the start of the year and honestly some of them were ridiculous and I immediately forgot. But the goals that mattered I achieved!

    I wanted to read 52 books and managed 67, and I read or unhauled every unread book I owned at the start of the year! I’ll be going with those same goals again in 2021 because they’re achievable and really good for me! I also want to stick to a TBR that’s under 20 books at a time, so I’m limiting the amount I buy.

    I love a good spreadsheet, but I’ve never used one for my reading. In all honesty I struggle to keep up with updating both Goodreads and StoryGraph when I finish a book, so I think I’d be hopeless with a third thing! I hope you have fun with yours though, it sounds great for working on those more specific goals. 😄

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!! Hahaha, yeah, that’s why I’ve kind of not set that many goals this year? I think that if I write waay too many down I’m just going to forget them and never meet them 😅

      Aah, that’s amazing!! Also sticking to a TBR to limit book buying is brilliant! (I may just steal this idea 👀)

      Hahaha, literally same. Keeping up with reading is so hard! This year I’m going to *try* and keep a spreadsheet, but I figure that it’ll only last like a month. I hope you had an amazing new years ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, it’s better to have a small number of achievable goals than lots of little ones you’ll forget!

        Haha, feel free to steal the TBR idea, it worked really well for me! Especially because if you really want a new book you have to finish one you’ve already got before you’re allowed to buy it!

        Good luck keeping up with the spreadsheet, if you manage a month I’d call that a win! 😆 I hope you had a lovely new year too ❤️

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Ahh best of luck for all of your new goals! I have to say: you really killed it with your discussions this past year, I appreciated all of them SO much and can’t wait to see you participate in the challenge and read more from you, I’m certain it will be AMAZING, as always ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Marie!

      Awwww, I’m so happy that you enjoyed all of our discussions so much! It means so much to hear you say that since I look up to your discussions as some of the best out there!

      I hope that our discussions this year live up to your expectations! 💕

      Like

  8. Congratulations on everything you achieved in 2020! You both honestly write some of the best discussion posts and I loved discovering all your amazing content. Looking forward to your book reviews, Malka. I’m sure they will be great 💕

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Stephen! You’re too sweet! I’m hoping to stock up on some discussions that I can post throughout the semester. I have a whole bunch of ideas, but I need to set aside some time to write them!

      And I’m actually kind of nervous! My first review for 2021 should be happening sometime this week, but I haven’t finished the book yet, so that obviously has to happen first! I appreciate the vote of confidence though!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I want to keep better track of my reading by posting at least a short review/note on Goodreads. Spreadsheets have always seemed like too much work for me but I love it when other people make them and come up with cool statistics! Enjoy your reading and tracking this year.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yesss, that’s so smart! I was considering starting to do that too since it’s a great way to keep track of your initial feelings on a book! Omg spreadsheets seem like so much work but I’m going to *try* to keep one up this year. We’ll see how it goes 😅

      Liked by 1 person

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