A Month of Favorites: Best Changes I Made This Year

December 14, 2016 Blogger Events 27

A Month of Favorites
For the third year in a row, I’m participating in A Month of Favorites (hosted by Traveling with T, Estella’s Revenge, and GirlXOXO) throughout the month of December! I love “Top X” lists and that’s what this event is all about. Today, we’re talking about reading and life improvements we made this year. Today’s topic made me stop and reflect on the past year (not something I normally do). And, I realized I made some changes that I wasn’t planning on at all, but that have worked out really well.

Best Changes I Made This Year


Used my local library
I’m embarrassed to say I just started using my library this year, mainly by checking out e-books on Overdrive. But, the library is now my preferred way to get books because they’re free, yet I don’t have any obligation to review them (like with ARCs, my other source for free books). I also like that I can sample more than the 10% of the book that Amazon allows, so I’m much more willing to take risks on books outside of my wheelhouse. 

Found my audiobook niche
I’ve had a rocky history with audiobooks…until this year when I found the type of book that works me for (lighter nonfiction) and the right times to listen (while getting ready for bed, driving without kids, and doing things around the house).

Requested fewer ARCs
Back in April, I wrote this post about my unsuccessful ARC reading. Since then, I resolved to request fewer ARCs and be more selective about those I did request. I’ll do the numbers for my end of the year stats post, but my overall reading definitely improved in the second half of the year. I enjoyed being able to free range read and jump on books other bloggers’ loved that weren’t on my pre-publication radar.


Kids started to enjoy activities like coloring, Legos, etc.
Prior to this year, my kids’ (they’re 5 and 3) favorite activities were pretty much running around, screaming, and generally anything involving massive amounts of energy. While they still enjoy doing this type of stuff, they’ve also added interests I can rely on to keep them quietly entertained. While this is more of a change that came naturally, rather than one I made, I’m thrilled with its arrival!

Didn’t let the holiday season get the best of me
I’m usually a stress-case during the holiday season with too much to do, too little time, and too much on the social calendar. I decided to take the bull by the horns this year by getting the annoying tasks done early. And, it’s been a success! I’m now almost finished with the “work” and am actually enjoying the holiday season.

Picked up some new exercise habits

  • Started playing tennis again for the first time in years.
  • Worked with a trainer which resulted in improved running form…and more efficiency, faster times, and a reignited love for running.
  • Started incorporating “recovery workouts” into my weekly routine. Apparently, your body can’t process the benefits of the hard workouts unless it can recover afterwards. Though I’m backing off more than usual, my hard workouts are better than ever before.

What were the best changes you made this year?

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27 Responses to “A Month of Favorites: Best Changes I Made This Year”

  1. Carmen Perez

    Overall, sounds like an impressive year on all fronts, and yay for your workout routines!

    I, too, requested less ARCs but submitted less reviews than the ones I was supposed to, and reached an all time low in my reading. I hope all that improves next year.

    • Sarah Dickinson

      Good for you! Difficult friendships can be a real drain and it’s so nice to settle in when you find “your people.”

  2. Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home

    Great question. Did I make any positive changes this year? I did focus more on having fun–be it running, yoga, or life in general. And as it turns out, that was a good thing–as this year is ending on a big ‘ole question mark.

    I have been downloading books from my local library for a couple of years. It’s a great system. The only thing is, they disappear after 2 weeks–if I’m dragging my butt on finishing, I disconnect my iPad from the Wi-Fi and the books stays in my library. All good.

    • Sarah Dickinson

      Well, I guess I now know what your big question mark is. I’m glad you were able to relax a bit more this year and am wishing you the best as you navigate your new course.

      And I hear you on turning off that wifi – I’ve done that too!

  3. Susie | Novel Visits

    Changes for me? Starting the blog was huge. I also have committed to being more efficient at work and NOT putting in extra hours there. (That’s mostly working.) I don’t use the library at all and really need to take a look at doing that!

    • Sarah Dickinson

      Starting the blog is huge!! This whole world is an added dimension in your life…at least it become one in mine 🙂

  4. Aj @ Read All The Things!

    It sounds like you had a successful year. I think the best change I made was getting more involved with the book blogging community. I really like reading blogs, so I make time to read/comment on them almost every day.

    • Sarah Dickinson

      The book blogging community is great – it took me awhile to really get involved, but so glad I am now!

  5. Akilah

    I learned pretty quickly that the ARC life is not for me. Glad you discovered the library. I get 99% of my books from there and it is just a great place with so many resources.

    So happy your kids are starting to mellow out. Hahaha.

    • Sarah Dickinson

      I hear ya on ARCs. I like them, but there’s a limit to how many of them works for me.

    • Sarah Dickinson

      Mine is lacking too…especially in the new release department. I use it more for backlist.

  6. Kate @ Parchment Girl

    I actually requested more ARCs this year, in part because I wanted to read more frontlist titles, but also because if I don’t request books, it will be a while (if ever) before I can get them from my library. Oh, how I miss the libraries of Eastern Massachusetts!

    I’m glad you found your audiobook niche! I only got back into audiobooks a year ago, but I think my niche might be the same as yours. I listened to a lot of fiction this year, but I really want to get into nonfiction audiobooks more next year.

    • Sarah Dickinson

      It’s so random what libraries end up having great selections. I’m in Westchester County, NY and you’d think it would have a fantastic selection and it has a pretty good one for backlists, but their new release selection is terrible! I want to call them and ask to handle their literary fiction new release buying!

      • Kate (Parchment Girl)

        You’re kidding?! I am so shocked that Westchester has a crummy new release section! The Minuteman Library Network in MA (suburbs of Boston) is the absolute best. I think each individual library must coordinate with all the others in the network, because it seems that even with unusual books, one of the libraries in the network always has a copy. It also takes a very reasonable amount of time to get new releases.

  7. Lory @ Emerald City Book Review

    I love ebooks from the library too! So convenient, and of course free.

    Congrats about getting annoying holiday tasks done early. I was a total fail at that this year – in fact, I’ve done almost nothing so far. My family decided not to do gifts this year, though, which takes some pressure off. Enjoy your stress-free holiday!

    • Sarah Dickinson

      Oh man – I wish my family would decide not to do gifts! I guess that’ll never fly until the kids get older, though.

  8. Catherine

    I applaud your fitness changes but they depress the hell out of me. I have nothing so healthy to relate. But you will appreciate my biggest change: getting a Kindle and finally falling into the e-book groove. Thanks to my library it’s like speed dating- find a book, check it out. All FREE! Best use of my tax dollars.

  9. Ann @ Books on the Table

    Kudos to you for making all those positive changes! I’m especially impressed by your commitment to fitness, which is a huge challenge for me. I always feel great after I work out, but it’s SO hard to get off the couch . . . Have a wonderful, relaxing holiday season! I love my great big grownup “kids” but I miss the days when they were little, even the days when they were running around screaming.

    • Sarah Dickinson

      I think I might not have communicated that clearly. What I meant was that I’m embarrassed I JUST started using it this year…and not long before that. I’m thrilled to be a regular library user now!

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