a peek inside the fishbowl

08 Jan, 2021

Tiny resolutions, and how to read more books in 2021

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Misc. life

Part of our New York Times subscription includes access to some interesting and informative e-newsletters. A recent edition had a bit about downsizing our New Year’s resolutions. (I’m not sure if you’ll be able to access it, but try this link.) I loooove the idea of making small promises to ourselves instead of bigger resolutions that might overwhelm us (and let’s face it, are less unlikely to be kept).

When you think about it, small things can have a HUGE impact. e.g. Drinking a big glass of water before dinner. Taking vitamin D at breakfast. Touching your toes when you get out of bed every morning. Deciding NOT to complain about the weather. So maybe it’s a good idea to make a smaller promise to yourself instead of a big one?

My tiny resolution this year is to make the bed every day.

My internal rule about our bed has traditionally been: “The person who gets out of bed last shall make the bed.” I think this is fair. HOWEVER, this directly clashes with Mark’s outlook, which is: “I’ll do it eventually if I do it at all.” Let’s just say we’ve never quite been able to reach a compromise on this issue. :)

I’ve been through many phases of bed making. There have been times I’ve (a) refused to make the bed (b) made the bed or (c) made my half of the bed. (Yes, you read that right.) I’ve had enough of this so I’m making the bed every day and sticking to it.

I’ve written about this before. Now, I try to frame it as fitness instead of a chore. Stretching! Lifting! Lunging! And there’s a pretty good payoff as well. Making the bed feels productive even though it really doesn’t take a lot of time and effort. I’d forgotten how good it feels to walk into a tidier bedroom. It makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something, like I have a handle on life.

I’d like to hear your thoughts on bed making!

Did you get books for Christmas this year?

The pandemic has left some people unable to concentrate enough to read, while others are consuming record amounts of the printed word. I am on Team Readsalot. Maybe one of your small promises is to carve out more time for reading? Last year I resolved to read 85 books and I finished the year with 88 (!) and I hope to meet or beat that goal again.

I try to go to bed a little early so I can squeeze in more reading at night, but now I often find myself gravitating to my book after dinner, or sometimes over my lunch break.

My mantra is: Less time online is more time to read books. 

I first wrote on the topic of reading more books back in 2015. (You can read that post here. The sad thing about it is that when I first looked at it I thought it was a post from 2005 because of how fresh and young I look in the photo at the top of the page. Sigh.)

In that post I made a long list of suggestions – and I stand by them – but if I was writing it again I would move the one about the Goodreads app up the list because it’s probably my main source for book recommendations right now. Goodreads is an app/website that helps you track your books but it’s also a network of book lovers. You can follow other people and tap into what they are reading as well. It’s a fabulous way of finding recommendations because they’re ultimately from people you trust.

As soon as I see something that interests me I make note of the title and head over to my library app. If they have it, I’ll put it on hold.

Another idea is to make use of mini libraries, you know, the “take a book, leave a book” type. There are a few in our neighbourhood. These libraries make a good destination for a winter walk, and they are also a way to get rid of books you don’t want anymore.

p.s. If you’re on Goodreads or signing up for the first time, you can follow me right here.


3 Responses to "Tiny resolutions, and how to read more books in 2021"

1 | Nicole MacPherson

January 9th, 2021 at 9:38 am


I’m 100% with you! Last year I read 147 books, and a lot of that had to do with putting my damn phone down. Scrolling takes a LOT of time. Sheesh! I make my bed every day and I always have :)

2 | a peek inside the fishbowl » Blog Archive weathering - a peek inside the fishbowl

January 29th, 2021 at 8:00 pm


[…] am happy to say that I am still making my bed every day and reading lots of books. I don’t want to oversell it, but the making the bed thing is kind of life altering in terms […]

3 | Maureen Kilpatrick

February 1st, 2021 at 6:26 pm


I love reading books and last year I read the most I’ve ever read since I started tracking on Goodreads. It was mostly due to the pandemic and the lack of normal activities. I’ve started the year off at a slower pace so this is a good reminder to spend less time on social media and more on books! Thanks!

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  • MaryAnn: Bravo and good for you to get out. It is very weird and fun going to places. I get and like your observation that we should just treat going out like
  • andrea tomkins: That's a great idea! I do that too sometimes, but it takes awhile to come back to room temperature so I have to factor in a few hours for that... :)
  • Elizabeth Peters: I make it a day ahead and refrigerate. This way I can pull it out after work and let it come to room temperature.
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The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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