Okay well this year has FLOWN by?! I can't believe we're already at the end of 2018. I have barely any school left (a few years but still in the long scheme of things),... Having 'proper' exams has certainly kept me busier than I would've liked but this is also partly my own fault due to my (now cured) binge watching obsession and desire to procrastination (because it's cool but my bad, I no longer believe this).  This is one of a series of 2018 wind down posts; you can view reasons why I am grateful for this blog here. The other posts, Looking Ahead and December Wrap-up aren't live yet.

I'm gonna use this post as a platform to talk about this year's goals, my highlights (blogging and life), and discuss what's to come since I'm leaving and you guys should remain in the loop about that! Without further ado:

i. reflecting on mmxviii goals (yes the format is just to feel cool)

Here are the goals I set at the start of this year, along with notes about the completion of them:

1. 2+ blog posts a week except on hiatuses

(I finally used a gif here!!! But anyway.) This one was a big fat FAIL. What a joke. By my count, there will be a total of 58 blog posts completed and published in 2018 (keep in mind a lot of the first few posts were things like weekly wrap-ups too, so I wouldn't really count those as proper posts either). I'm hesitant to set a similar goal for 2019, but I might just go with "try to post regularly" which can be interpreted ambiguously I guess. It'll be even busier than this year, that I'm certain, but I'm going to try and manage my time better so I frequent the blog more.

2. NO backscheduling; if I don't have a post done in time, I'll post it a week later or when it's finished

This one, I adhered to; much easier than last year since I wasn't as strict about post frequency, and didn't make it my life's mission to do 365 posts for 365 days (stupidest idea ever). As stated above, since I didn't keep my two posts a week goal at all there wasn't a point to backscheduling. But just as a fact, I have several posts which I need to write which are on my calendar that just keep getting pushed back, and I was quite proud of myself for finally writing pt. ii of NZ Education Issues a few weeks ago, which you can view here (I pushed this post back week after week from April).

3. Less Blitzes/Tours; I'm only going to do them if they're about books I care about

In 2018: zero book blitzes/tours! (No wonder my blog traffic was so static.) I wanted to step away from doing these because even though they were pretty much zero effort for me I wasn't promoting content I was genuinely interested in. So I stopped altogether, though I think I might do some in 2019 on the odd occasion, and to make it more worth my time, actually go digging for books I'm actually passionate about.

4. More discussion posts

Yuss!! Another success. I wrote ten this year, which isn't a lot (hang on, in 2017 I wrote 37... does that mean I don't win?) but it was more a focus of my blog for sure, though that's mainly due to a lack of posts. So I'll count this one as a completed goal but the fix for 2019 is just to post more, because I have plenty of ideas waiting to be thrown out into the world.

5. Comment on more blogs frequently

I didn't comment on other blogs a massive amount in 2018 (I wish I had stats for this!) but then again when do I ever? Sorry fellow bloggers, I'm super lazy and I know I should do it more, but effort. I did try harder to comment on other blogs, achieving this through unfollowing pretty much all blogs on Bloglovin and going onto Wordpress to find blogs I was genuinely interested in to follow (and even then, only commenting on posts of theirs that attracted my attention in order to leave meaningful comments). This worked for me because it created a connection between me and other bloggers and gave me incentive to comment on their posts because I wanted to read the content rather than feeling forced to do so.

6. Set aside more time for blogging

Image result for yeah, no gif

I definitely class this one as a fail, but hear me out. I did do one thing right here; I had blocks of time which I devoted to blogging, and these often stretched past an hour. The problem is, with every one of these (I am forever indebted to my dad for providing me with such nice office space to do this, btw) were two or more sessions of bland internet surfing where I could've been blogging. Sometimes I did stuff related to school, but mostly this was just a massive waste of time. I'm trying to plan more in 2019, so I'll try and make computer sessions just for blogging.

7. Make graphics for blog posts

Yes, and no? Yes: weekly wrap-up graphics (which I barely used since I gave up on that pretty quick), monthly wrap-up graphics, and the "until next time" at the end of each post (by far my favourite, not because it looks great but because I completed something I'm satisfied with and use often). No: review graphics (this is the reason I haven't posted a review here at all this year, in case you've been wondering about the lack of those on here even though there are a bunch on goodreads). My aims for 2018 were really only these four things, so 3/4? But I'm pretty disappointed about the reviews thing because it's the rating graphic that stumped me as I wanted something unique here; I even made two header graphics for my reviews of Nevernight and Godsgrave, which I might use in 2019? Ah well, something for 2019 I guess! Just so you know, I'm also planning on making divider graphics, and as for anything else... you'll see.

That's it for goals: is 4/7 a pass? Next up is a reflection on the yearly challenges I did.

A-Z Book Challenge

I was a bit disappointed I didn't complete this challenge last year, but I'm giving it yet another shot this year. I have all the necessary books to complete it (I haven't yet read them all though as of writing this post), so all I gotta do is read! I'll check back in to see if I do complete it, or it's another thing to add to my long list of fails.

Goodreads Yearly Challenge

Image result for no gif

I don't wanna talk about this,,, a massive fail. My reading goal each year has gone down, from 2014 when I first did this challenge, 250 {completed}, to 2015, 210 {incomplete, I didn't even make it to 200}, 2016, 150 {complete}, 2017, 125 {complete}. All of these years I pretty much expected that I could do what I did the year before, but ended up lowering and adjusting them towards the end of December when I finally confronted reality. This year, I aimed for 100, but no. I've reset it to 50, which I know I'll get, but it's quite disappointing that I didn't even get 100. (What's sadder than that is for next year's goal I'm thinking 75 because I gotta read more, but I'd ideally like to read 100+).

Ebook Challenge

An accurate description of the time I've spent on my iPad when I could've been reading on kindle:
Image result for netflix gifImage result for youtube gif(instagram). Disappointing, I know! I was thinking, I'll read more on my iPad when I go away this summer and there's no wifi, but that's yet to happen as of writing this post so we'll see, we'll see. I aimed for 25 books here but so far I've read 5. It may rise to a few more, but I'd say 2/3 maximum, and I'll update you if/when that happens.

ii. highlights of this year

If you thought I was done... Nope, not yet. I'm sorry this is so long!! But I've been enjoying dragging out my posts for a bit longer if just so that I feel I've accomplished more (this probably isn't helping). Did I forget to mention that this isn't all gonna be positive? Oops. Well. Let's start off on a negative:

1. my twitter being deactivated

This was... not fun for me. I don't even use Twitter that much, but at that point in my life I was using it a lot as a tool to keep myself updated about certain things which occur around the world; the deactivation funnily enough occurred around a convenient time in that I was unwillingly one distraction less during some stressful months. And recently I rejoined Twitter with a new account (@caszriel_) when things had calmed down, and I guess it's the fresh start I wanted but also I want my old account back please!

2. following more people on Wordpress and being (relatively) active on their blogs

I was able to interact with so many cool people this year! Maybe it was partially due to my own lack of consistent posting, but I found time to read and comment on a bunch of blogs which was a really enjoyable experience. In 2019 I'd love to become closer to these people and discover more amazing blogs.

3. making amazing memories with amazing people

Oh man. While it was sad not to have classes with some people who I'd been casual friends with in 2016/2017 the independence of the timetable for senior classes and lack of a 'core class' group of people you encounter in 5/8 classes made it so much better for me, even when sometimes I hated the lack of streaming since I had classes with people who had previously been kept out by the streaming (I'm sorry but I just really don't like these people okay), but I wouldn't trade it because firstly, less classes total (6), more like a genuine high school experience, and 2017 was not great. But kinda and also not related to this are all the amazing people I hung out with this year who helped make my year awesome. Because true friendship doesn't suffer the bounds of having none/few classes together or even being at different schools. I'm so thankful for all of you who helped cheer me up when I wasn't having the best time, and being around to listen to my stupid rants. (And to everyone reading this post, I love you too <3 div="">

4. getting through my first year of formal examinations

At the start of 2018 I was pretty excited for this year. Yay, exams (yes I know I'm weird) which I can actually study for online with past papers. Also, I didn't think anything could be worse than parts of 2017 (hey, I wasn't wrong). Proper assessments!! (Yeah I feel like every year up till this year has been pretty wasteful education wise but that's just me,) the externals were mostly fine but I can never say I'm looking forward to results coming out on January 15. Internals got extremely stressful at some points just because not all of my teachers are the greatest or sympathetic to your many extracurricular commitments (in June I had SO much music stuff I was out of one class for around two weeks straight because of that and that ate up all my lunch times and pretty much all after schools that weren't already occupied). For 2019 I'm motivated and hoping to amp up the workload and go for a lot of scholarships, so bring it on!

5. 2018 in general; discovering new music, getting back into tennis (passionately)

I was not expecting 2018 to be so good. I had an amazing time and it's gone pretty fast! I love that I've been able to listen to more country music and discover all these amazing artists, and also reignite my love for tennis (Roger Federer is the best guys). Here's to 2019!

iii. what's to come?

I'll elaborate in more detail in at the top of my final post of the year, December Wrap-up (live 12AM EST 31st December) but basically, I'm leaving this blog... But making another one? I'll be transferring all my Bloglovin' followers and meanwhile you can find it here. I'd also really like to start making designs and stuff on etsy/society6 and I'll keep you guys updated about that!

How did you find 2018? Was it better/worse than previous years? What are your most memorable moments, positive or negative? Did you meet all your 2018 goals?