2019: 7 Daily Habits to Cultivate

I want 2019 to be a year of cultivating healthy habits for myself. Especially since 2019 is bound to be a shaky year for me (I’m graduating in May and need a full-time job!), the more consistent I can make these habits, the better off I believe I’ll be.

7 Habits to Cultivate in 2019

  • Write daily for at least fifteen minutes
  • Read for thirty minutes, three times a week
  • Meditate every day
  • Cut down on drinking to once every other week, and no more than three drinks in one night
  • Limit spending to essentials
  • Cook seven meals a week
  • Stay offline for two hours a day

1. Write daily for at least fifteen minutes.

If y’all are here, you know I write. I’ve struggled a lot with keeping a consistent writing schedule, mostly because life as a college student tends to have pretty irregular schedules. I find that 15 minutes of focused writing is ideal for me: it’s not enough time to get distracted, and it’s not too little time that the amount I write isn’t significant.

After a month or two or three or four, I’d like to up my minutes to fifteen minutes in the morning, and fifteen minutes in the evening. But little steps, first.

2. Read for thirty minutes, three times a week.

I love reading! Why don’t I do it more!! I’m trying to read twelve books this year, and thanks to Goodreads, I’ll be able to keep track (this isn’t sponsored by Goodreads; I just love Goodreads and would love for you to join me on there).

3. Meditate every day.

I downloaded Headspace, an app that guides you through meditations. I’ve have used it a bit since downloading it, and thanks to the app’s student discount, a subscription only cost $10 for the year. I think it’s a wonderful trial to see how helpful it is for me, and I love it so far. They have great packs focused on different topics, like creativity, productivity, stress management, etc. I’m excited to try them all out.

I’m still fiddling around to see what time of day is best for me, and I’ve currently decided that right before bed is not a good time (I always fall asleep). Next I’ll try mornings after my coffee to see how that is.

As someone who has a cluttered mind–whether it’s by stress-induced panic thoughts or constantly brainstorming for my writing–meditating is really challenging. I think I’m getting better at it, though, and it doesn’t feel as unnatural.

4. Cut down on drinking to once every other week, and no more than three drinks in one night.

Ever since I turned 21, I’ve been drinking a lot. When I say “cut down drinking,” I don’t mean a glass of wine with dinner can only happen once every other week. I mean the drinking you do before going out, or partying, or drinking to be belligerent. I’ve had some nasty hangovers and nasty mistakes that were made when drinking, and my mental health suffers even days following a night of partying. I’ve since concluded that I don’t like who I am when I am drunk, and I don’t like how I feel the next day.

There will obviously be exceptions–mostly when I’m going to Barcelona during Spring break–but I think three drinks is enough for me to feel relaxed without being drunk.

5. Limit spending to essentials.

Pretty straightforward here. I spent a lot of money in 2018, some of which was justified, most of which was not. I don’t want to waste money like that anymore. Essentials = toilet paper, shampoo, etc. Stuff that will likely run out every so often and I’ll need to restock.

Specifically, I’m going to try my best to go a year without buying new clothes (the exception: underwear and socks). Hold me accountable!

6. Cook seven meals a week.

I eat regularly when I cook meals. I don’t eat regularly when I don’t cook meals. I think seven meals a week–whether that’s one meal a day or two meals every other day–is doable for me.

7. Stay offline for two hours a day.

First thought: That’s a long time?

Second thought: Oh, my God, that is not a long time; I just spend a long time plugged in.

Airplane mode is gonna be my best friend. I want to devote one hour in the morning offline, and one hour before bed offline. I feel like I’m constantly inundated with information and notifications that it’s nice to…not have that.

And those are my 2019 habits. I’m not the best at taking care of myself, but these are doable and will help me be more mindful of how I’m doing, at least in the long run. What are habits you want to nurture in 2019? Feel free to share ’em in the comments; I’d love to read them.


Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

I’ve been trying to read books by authors of color the past year or so, particularly those that fit into the #OwnVoices movement. Y’all know I’m a huge supporter of #OwnVoices and #WeNeedDiverseBooks. I read PachinkoEverything I Never Told You, and 1Q84 — all by Asian authors — over the summer, and they were my first foray into this journey of mine. Adeyemi is a Nigerian-American author, and COBAB is her debut novel.

There’s been substantial buzz in the YA community about COBAB, and it’s been a while since I’ve read a fantasy book and a YA book, so I picked it up. I have a lot of thoughts, and will hopefully be able to communicate them well. If it’s a little messy, sorry — it’s been a while since I’ve done one of these.

The cover is absolutely stunning.

Children of Blood and Bone opens with a ton of backstory. Zélie, our protagonist, is a diviner, a person who was capable once of magic but no longer is, ever since magic died off. Her mother was a magi murdered during the Raid, and she lives with her older brother, Tzain, and her father. The Orïsha kingdom is plagued by corruption and violence, particularly against the diviner population, who are seen as “maggots” (a slur used in the book).

From the beginning chapters we already see the introduction of themes that influenced Adeyemi’s story: the oppression of a group of people out of fear and the inspiring Black Lives Matter movement, colorism, prejudice that is taught rather than stitched into our DNA. COBAB debuts at a time when we need it, as Zélie’s fierce drive and anger is something that is the culmination of centuries of oppression. Her anger is the echo of rallying cries over the deaths of Tamir Rice and Eric Garner. The only difference is that her trauma exists in the story. Tamir Rice and Eric Garner were real.

Zélie and Tzain “accidentally” (i.e. by fate) find themselves tangled into the task of bringing magic back. Meanwhile, we have Inan and Amari, the two complicated heirs to the Orïsha throne. Amari, who becomes a fugitive to help Zélie and Tzain, undoubtedly underwent one of my favorite character developments in the book. Where she is kind and believing in the diviner population, Inan is cruel and ruthless, hell-bent on hunting down his sister and killing Zélie as well as magic once and for all.

Adeyemi does a good job of providing the why behind the hate. Inan’s hate is taught from his father, who is taught from the history of what happened to his father. Inan is likely one of the more polarizing characters in the book, but you can’t help but sympathize with him, at least a little. His arc had me on my seat the whole time.

The world-building in this book is stunning. I love the richness of the land of Orïsha, the history behind it, and how Adeyemi doesn’t shy away from depicting the horrors of the ruthlessness of the monarchy. Although I was less satisfied with the character development of the other characters, this is the first in a series and I have hopes that we’ll get the development we want.

Because this is, in fact, YA, there are many tropes of classic YA lit that you’ll find anywhere. The romance subplot, some of the plot conveniences, and the writing style is very fitting for a young adult audience. Older audiences like to criticize YA tropes for being “cliché,” but fail to recognize consistent tropes used in other genre lit/adult fiction. So I don’t have a huge problem with it, but I know there are gonna some people who will.

Something about the narration irked me, but I couldn’t tell quite what it was. Maybe they just didn’t fit my tastes? In addition, some of the pacing was a little disconcerting, and I think this is because there are quite a few passages that are entirely within characters’ minds, then suddenly zoom out into an action-packed, almost-too-much-going-on kind of scenes.

I’ve seen some raving reviews for Children of Blood and Bone, and I’ve seen some pretty negative ones, too. This sits somewhere in the middle for me, because while this wasn’t my favorite book I’ve read this year, I enjoyed reading it and will be continuing the series as they’re released. I don’t really believe in rating books, but this would earn a solid four out of five stars from me. Overall, Adeyemi’s debut novel is promising, though not quite there, I believe her next books will reveal her fullest potential as a storyteller, especially in the #OwnVoices movement.