It's almost a full month into the New Year, so I figured it was about time to lay out my 2018 New Year's Resolutions. It's been a long time since I set some actual resolutions, aside from ones pertaining to reading, so I figured I'd tuck it all together here. You know, for accountability and all that. So without any further ado, my 2018 New Year's Resolutions....

1. Get stronger in the mouthwash and flossing game.
I say this because my dental habits, while still strong, have started to lack a bit due to rushing out of the house for any amount of reasons or just not being home. It may not be noticeable to others, but it's noticeable to me. I'm working on getting better at it again, so I've bought some of the good flossers to keep in my purse and Tartar Control Mouthwash to keep in the bathroom. I'm also working on finding a steady dentist, as my VA Healthcare doesn't cover dental.

2. Stop sacrificing my personal passion projects in favor of other projects.
I spend a ton of my free time volunteering and I absolutely love what I do for our community. However, I've noticed that, more and more, my personal endeavors get shoved to the side in favor of the greater good. In the realm of self care, I'd like to focus on projects of my own like this blog, furthering my craft beer education, my poetry, my genealogy work, travelling, my book challenges, streaming on Twitch, delving more into the Book blog and YouTube scene, or maybe even finally applying to write at Book Riot. Who knows? I just know that I need more time for myself, and that's an important thing to recognize before I'm super stressed out about it.

3. Keep on focusing on what I eat and start getting into the habit of exercising.
Last year, during my yearly check up at the VA, my physician told me that, even though she knew I had been in a bad car accident, my weight was seriously effecting my bloodwork and overall health. My lab work came back with high cholesterol, low Vitamin D (which I've been struggling with for the past few years), and just all around generally unhealthy numbers. My doc wasn't rude or disrespectful by any means, but showed a real concern. Not to mention, that I was pretty well aware of what she was telling me, as I was at the highest weight that I've ever been so far in my life.

I've always been skeptical of the Nutritionist, as any that I came across while in the military were generally condescending. However, this time, I had a good feeling when my physician referred me to the VA Nutritionist. Instead of giving the general Food Pyramid spiel, she gave excellent advice on what to substitute in place of other foods, what to cut down on, and suggested MyFitnessPal as a way to track calories. I've always been one who has eaten fairly healthily, but I never took calorie counting seriously. On that day, I decided to go for it and set a caloric intake goal of 1240 per day without exercise (meaning without a significant calorie burn during a given day). Sometimes that 1240 is a bit unrealistic, so my goal is to not go over about 1500. That's been a fair compromise since I've lost just over 20 pounds since that day I went to the Nutritionist in March of 2017.

I'm on a bit of plateau at the moment, so it's probably time to start figuring in some scheduled exercise, outside of my constant movement at work (which I know has helped a great deal). I plan to compare and contrast the gyms near me that have options of exercise classes, including Yoga and Zumba, as well as ruck a few more 5Ks this year.

4. Keep on Reading!
As I've said in the past, my college years put a big dampener on my reading for pleasure. It took quite awhile to come back around to it and now that I'm fully back in the groove, I'm going to be stepping up my reading each year with different challenges. If you're curious as to how my 2017 in reading went, you can read all about it here.

As for my 2018 in reading, I'm shaking it up a little bit and broadening out my challenges. I'm still planning on keeping a general tally on Goodreads, sticking with the Book Riot 2018 Read Harder Challenge, as well as keeping track of the audiobooks that I listen to and what I conquer within my TBR pile. However, I'm stepping up my game with the 2018 Swords and Stars Reading Challenge to focus a bit more on Science Fiction and Fantasy, leaning more towards Women Writers, and, while I'm not fully committing to it just yet, (as it's more of a wait-and-see if I get there kinda challenge) I'm tracking my progress in the Bookish 2018 Reading Challenge. It's supposed to be more for tracking your progress through your TBR, but what fun is that if I have to leave new reads out of the running?

All in all, I'll be keeping a constant update over on my Goodreads profile, as well as a comprehensive checklist between here and my ongoing Google Doc. I'll update the 2018 tracker here, as often as possible.

5. Continue to diversify my reading and keep on fighting the good fight for equal representation
In addition to the challenges, I've made a resolution to be more conscious of diversity in what I read. I have already been doing this for sometime without any direction. However, I feel it's important to continue my trend of reading and learning about varying viewpoints and to continually extend beyond my own comfort zone. There are a few hashtags that I've bookmarked (#ownvoices, #diversebooks, and #diversereads) to help me find recommendations, new authors, and such, and I have found a great website, WeNeedDiverseBooks.org, whose definition is perfect for what I am striving to achieve.

"We recognize all diverse experiences, including (but not limited to) LGBTQIA, Native, people of color, gender diversity, people with disabilities*, and ethnic, cultural, and religious minorities."

I'm already working through a few different graphic novels that fulfill some #diversereads criteria for this year already. I do plan to lean towards women writers throughout 2018 and with that in mind, I plan to work towards the Reading Women Challenge. Finally, as a Pagan, I've kind of slid back down the spiral of the nonpracticing solitary. I'd like to start moving back into being a bit more spiritual again and, for me, that all starts with my reading. I plan to fit a few different spiritual books in, but for fun, I'm going to delve towards some Witchy Books when I can.


All that said, I think five resolutions are a good place to make some change and/or keep some ongoing rituals in order. The key to making everything work is going to be finding a good balance. Once I can find a good balance, it'll be gravy from there.