Jana Says

Living life from cover to cover

February library diet results and March challenge

As you guys know, I’m on a mission to change habits this year, one month at time. To do that, I’m giving myself monthly challenges and tracking my progress. In January, I did a spending freeze and those mindful habits did in fact carry over to February (except that one day I went a little nuts but you know. It happens) and in February, I put myself on a library diet. I was not allowed to put any new books on hold but was permitted to pick up ones that had been on hold prior to February 1. I also wasn’t supposed to get any new books from NetGalley, KindleFirst, or anywhere else. 

Let’s visit how I did. 

First, the failures. I got a few books from NetGalley but dammit if it wasn’t worth it. I’m not 100% sure which ones came in in February and which ones were January but if I had to guess, it was probably around 4 out of the 8 new ones I found on my Kindle. So, basically, my entire March reading list is from NetGalley. I’m fine with that. 

Now, the successes. I put ZERO books on hold at the library. That’s eBooks and regular books. Let me tell you, after Show Us  Your Books this month, it was hard to do. I’ve said before that I have no FOMO except when it comes to books and when I read people’s enthusiasm for certain books I need to read them NOW. But I calmed myself down and, rather than head to the library app immediately, I made a priority list for books to put on hold as my situation fixes itself.  Also, I bought ZERO books. I have a couple I want to buy for the column I write but I might just reach out to the publishers for copies (hey, it can’t hurt!). And I got ZERO books from other people. I always feel pressure to immediately read books given or gifted to me and not receiving any made it possible to work through the library pile. 

What’s next? Well, now that I know it’s possible to go a whole month without requesting books from the library,  I have no desire to permanently do that. I did learn that I don’t need to put all the books on hold at the same time and that I definitely need to space it out. Having a priority list is going to be key for me, as is culling my to-read list on Goodreads. There’s some shit on there that needs the boot. 

I also learned that having a huge library pile stresses me out. I feel enormous pressure to get through all the books in the pile in a fixed time frame (thanks, due dates) and it makes reading them somewhat less enjoyable. To combat that, I’ve decided that there should be no more than 5 library books on my nightstand at any given time. I can do 5 books in 3 weeks. 

And this might sound strange, but there’s a weird satisfaction in reading what I already have. I have a ridiculous amount of books on my Kindle and on my bookshelf and it’s feels good to just pick from those rather than waiting for the library to get around to giving me a book. Makes me feel more in control. Which is nice.

The library diet it accomplished exactly what I needed it to so we’ll deem it a success.

Moving on to March.

I struggled big time with what I wanted to do as a challenge this month. I know I wanted to do something around reducing decision fatigue but couldn’t figure out from what aspect. So after a ton of thinking, I decided to go with makeup. When doing my makeup and nails, I spend an inordinate amount of time deciding what to use and it’s frustrating because I always think I should have done something else. Which is fucking stupid. But that’s how my brain works and ordinarily, I roll with it.

For this month, though, I decided to pick one palette, one eyeliners, one mascara, two lip gloss/lip sticks, and two nail polish colors (visit my IG for which ones) to make it easier on myself as well as quicker (foundation and eye shadow primer are not included since I only have one of each). When I decide to put on makeup, I want to just do it and move on with minimal decisions to be had. Yes, I know that using a palette still provides a ton of options and involves decision making but it’s still less strenuous and less choices than I normally have.

Baby steps. 

And to be clear, this is more of a can I do it challenge rather than a habit change challenge. I want to prove to myself that I can reduce the amount of choices I have and be absolutely fine. 

And who knows? I might wind up with a signature color.

resized signature 2


  1. Linda Sheridan

    I use the same makeup most of the time and less is more as I age. I cannot do a bold lip anymore because I would get it all over my face lol! Very interested to see what you come up with this month.
    Makeup is an instant upper for me!
    Happy Friday Eve!
    Love, Steph’s Momma

  2. Elle

    I did a post once called a Makeup to Go Box–where I had it clearly decided what I was going to use that week, or a go-to look all ready to go, no decisions needed. But I admit, I do love deciding what makeup I want to wear in the morning. PS thank you for your comment on my post yesterday.
    Elle recently posted…NEW Wet N Wild HAULMy Profile

  3. kathy @ more coffee, less talky

    I’m the same with a pile of library books so I only let myself put 2 books on hold at a time….whenever I put more than 2 on hold, they always have a knack for coming in ALL AT ONCE :s
    kathy @ more coffee, less talky recently posted…What’s new with me?My Profile

  4. Rebecca JO

    You can do it. I think people use WAYYYY too many products. I think there will be a turn around where people can do a beautiful look with a simple palette. I dont get the need for 20 items. Blah.

    Proud of you for the book diet. I not only failed myself… I PREORDERED two books before they came out – the ultimate fail.

  5. Audrey

    Bravo with the library ban! I’m not a fast reader and I always get overly ambitious at the library with my numerous books. Then I feel terrible because I have renewed books on my nightstand that people are usually waiting for… It’s been a while since I’ve been to the library, though, because I own most of the books I’m using for Erin’s challenge.
    I wear almost the same make-up every day (no eye shadow or liner typically) except for lip stuff. Every time I go to get a gloss or stain I can’t decide what I want, then end up deciding that I don’t OWN the shade I want. Then when I’m at the store I can never remember what that “perfect” shade was that I needed three days ago.
    I’m ridiculous. Lol.
    Audrey recently posted…CurrentlyMy Profile

  6. Tanya @ A Mindful Migration

    It makes me feel better to know that I’m not the only one who stresses herself out with putting too many books on hold and seeing them pile up on her nightstand. I seriously suffer from book FOMO and need to remember that the library isn’t going away. Those books will still be there. It’s okay if I’m not the first, second or 800th person to read the book. It will still be great! LOL! I need to clean out my make-up drawer because it is full of old make-up that probably shouldn’t be used but I don’t wear much make-up these days. Too lazy and Max really isn’t all that impressed. 😉
    Tanya @ A Mindful Migration recently posted…February Recap: The Big Short MonthMy Profile

  7. Brittany Pines

    Good luck with your March goals! I have a SUPER simple makeup routine…but I’ve also been considering going to 2 nail polishes (red for toes, a nude for fingers if I can find the right one).

  8. Trish

    I really need to reign it in on the books I have stacking up. I think I need to do a book freeze until I get through some of my stacks!

  9. alyssa

    A big pile of anything stresses me out. I used to think that the way to get out from under it was just to aggressively go after the pile, but that’s not always feasible or responsible or sensical—like you said, it takes the fun out of it somewhat. Great job in February using the challenge to make some positivity happen!

    I have been battling against decision fatigue (or analysis paralysis) for YEARS. Only recently have I gotten really aggressive in making my bright-line rules (a lesson from Gretchen Rubin in Better Than Before) so I can just know, “I do this” or “I don’t do this” and not stress about crap anymore. Good luck with March!

  10. Nadine

    I told myself no more netgalley requests until I get caught up. I have books on there I got in September that I haven’t read yet. Oops! You did well for your challenge!!!

  11. ShootingStarsMag

    That’s great you did well with your February challenge. I love reading books I already own, and I really want to do more of that this year. I did okay last year but I think I’ll do even BETTER this year – especially since I’m not going to BEA like I did last year. You get way too many books there. haha

    Good luck with the March challenge!

    ShootingStarsMag recently posted…The Best We Could Do: An Illustrated Memoir by Thi BuiMy Profile

  12. Nicole

    I’ve had to get a hold of my library/book reading habits too. I love to buy books and then not read them. I’ve been avoiding B&N and Amazon like the plague. But I’m not doing a good job of getting to my own books. I just don’t read as many these days. I’m lame!

  13. texerinsydney

    I actually enjoy switching up my make-up day to day. Sure, I have some tried and true products, but I like mixing in new and different ones too. I guess this is one of the 3,278 reasons why I could never be a “minimalist”.
    I’ve found that ever since I did the “Read My Books” challenge last year that I seem to swap library books for a month, then books from my shelves for the next. Not in any kind of perfect timeframe, but it’s seemed to happen that way. It seems like these personal challenges can, in fact, change our habits.
    texerinsydney recently posted…Currently…linking up vol.11My Profile

  14. Ashley @ The Wandering Weekenders

    I think that I really need a library diet or at least a Netgalley diet! I’m so bad about just browsing and then requesting a ton of books even bough I still have a ton of books to read on my nook and from Netgalley! I swear ebooks make it 1000 times easier to have a book buying and hoarding obsession!

  15. Heather

    I love your plan for a library diet. I think I have 43 books out right now (at least 20-25 of those are children’s picture books or chapter books for my daughter) but the rest of the pile is stressing me out SO much. It is probably the only tiny downfall of Show Us Your books and Goodreads and book recommendation podcasts, etc ;);)

    My plan of attack is similar to yours – I add the book to Goodreads and if it really is something that I know I am anxious to read in the next few months, I’ll add it to a special Goodreads list (check this out soon) so that I can go ahead and request it when I’m feeling ready. Reading shouldn’t be stressful!!!! I have also gotten in the habit of returning books unread and putting them on a “paused for now” shelf if I just wasn’t feeling them at the time.

    Interested in hearing about your make up rehaul!! 🙂

  16. SMD @ Life According to Steph

    When I use makeup it’s always the same but that’s because I suck at applying it so…lol. Good luck!

    I try to never have more than four to six out from the library at once. A lot of that is about carrying them back and forth from my office though.

    It never dawned on me until I read your thoughts on this that the only place I have FOMO is also in book reading.


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