As 2013 is getting going, somehow I manage to still be stuck back in 2012.
In fact, I’m so entrenched in this past year have written “2012” on several important files, orders, and claims at work this week to the complete chagrin of my boss and the company CEO who reviews my work. Damnit.
Why can’t I let go of the past and move forward? Probably because 2012 was such a bangin’ year for me! I was living in my favorite city in Spain, Logroño, traveling all over the place AND I discovered my dream of being a professional travel writer. 2012 was also a key year for my intellectual growth, becoming a better person and basically growing up, all of which I can thank traveling and living abroad.
I’m internally afraid that 2013 won’t be up to par. For me there is nothing more terrifying (with the exception of spiders-seriously, I’m the biggest weenie when I see a spider) than going back downhill towards the black hole of despair, failure and regret.
This boils down to the fact that I am not a very resolute person, which is why I’m naming goals instead of resolutions, inherently more achievable and less guilt-causing if you fail.
In the past I have tried to set your standard New Year’s Resolutions, exercise more, eat less Nutella straight from the jar with a spoon, write a bestselling novel, travel to all 7 continents, pretty standard really, but when the new year rolls around and I since am not Gary Arndt, I felt dissatisfied with myself with not accomplishing such
unrealistic high goals.
New plan of attack for 2013: aim low!
Here are my 13 goals I am going to work towards in 2013, goals that are more realistic for me. I promise myself now that I won’t be upset if I don’t achieve them all by next December and I recognize that some of this are life-long ambitions, but even if I can make progress towards some of them over the next 12 months, I’ll call that a success.
What do you hope to accomplish in 2013? Do you have 13 goals for 2013?
1. Move to a new country
By this time next year I will be settled in to a new life in a new country on a new continent. Here’s a hint, it’s a country with two words in the name, a relatively small population and interesting enough, exactly on the opposite side of the globe from Spain. Any guesses?
2. Say yes to everything
Ok, within reason and nothing inappropriate (within reason). What I mean to say is say yes to every opportunity that pops up in my face or my inbox. For the most part, I normally am a “yes” girl because I hate saying no. Lately though my biggest problem has just been ignoring things because I have been so busy with everything else, that way I don’t have to say yes or no. Running from things is never healthy, unless you are running away from a psycho ex. I want to try new things and have new experiences and not get stuck in the rut of comfort and the ordinary, which means I will have to say “sí” to some things I might not have considered trying in 2012.
3. Answer messages faster
I am confessing this loudly and publicly in the event I try to deny it later on. I SUCK at answering messages related to my blog. I’ll answer here and there, especially the easy ones, but for the most part I feel guilty so I let it pile up and pile up. I want to catch up on all the pending messages in my email inbox, facebook and twitter and stay caught up with them over the next year. If you have written to me and I haven’t replied yet, I’m sorry! Feel free to remind me or embarrass me openly on one of my social media feeds. That will get my attention. Honestly, this is probably one of the hardest goals I am setting for myself, and if anyone has any advice about this, I’d love to hear it. HALP!
4. Keep speaking the Spanish
You can take the guiri (foreigner) out of Spain but can you take Spain out of the guiri? I miss speaking Spanish so much, even with a bad American accent. Luckily, where I am working, I get to speak Spanish with clients since I head the South America division BUT sometimes I get shy about speaking Spanish with my coworkers, heaven knows why. Maybe because they aren’t from Spain or I don’t know them, but I need to get my act together and start jabbering in castellano or I’m gonna forget all my swearwords.
5. Fall in love
Just kidding! People who actually have that as a goal and actively work towards it really piss me off (sorry if that’s any of you). I’m a firm believer that love comes along when you least expect it and bites you in the ass, not when you go hunting for it. I believe that true loves happens only when you are happy with yourself and your life at the right time. What I want to work on is to be more open to the possibility of love. I’ve had some sour relationships over the past 5 years (read: my heart ripped out, stomped on, torn up and eaten by rabid dogs) that has made me somewhat bitter and closed off. I want to be more open-minded in the heart department, this is a very long-term goal.
6. Be happy!
This goes along with number 5. For be, being happy is a work in progress, my break-up with Spain was a big kick in the stomach of my happiness level. Now that I am home, I am trying to see the positive side of my situation and use it as an opportunity to work hard, squirrel away some dollars, and move forward. If I don’t look on the bright side, I’ll start sliding back towards that twilight hole and cry, cry, cry!
Trust me, nobody wants to see me cry, it isn’t pretty. I am not a cute crier, I weep and sob like it’s the end of the world, make-up everywhere, whopping snuffles and hiccups, and it’s like an avalanche that once it’s starts, it’s hard to stop. Be thankful none of you went to see Les Miserables with me last week.
Being happy with who you are is a lifelong goal with anyone. I am actively working to be happy with my blog and trying not to compare it to others. This goes hand in hand with being less judgmental something everyone, everywhere needs to work on.
7. Write better
For me, my writing on this blog is my number one priority, and the day I start sacrificing the level of my writing for press trips, social media and advertising, is the day I hope you all will yell at me, call me a sell-out, and thoroughly chastise me for it. I believe in inspiring through writing. There is always room for improvement and building your voice, something I try to do every time I write a post. How can I make this better, be more creative?
My goal is that when you see a post of mine in your inbox (because you are a good reader and have subscribed to my little blog-thank you) you will see and think, that looks interesting, CLICK, instead of snore, select, trash.
I’ve seen some wildly successful travel blogs with truly crap writing and it drives me bonkers. Can you really not think of a better way to describe a place than “beautiful, amazing, and great” or publish top 5 lists that you can find already on TripAdvisor or Wikipedia? Wait, I am not supposed to be comparing my blog with others. Nevermind, I take it back. Deep breath. I can only focus on myself and my goals, which is to write the best I can and continuously trying to write better and never write a 350 word post on a “great” destination (smack me one day if I do).
Speaking of length, I should probably work on being more concise. I am rather wordy (I blame my southern roots) mostly because I got a lot to say, people! I read somewhere a blog post should never be over 1,000 words and considering I don’t think I have ever written a solid post under 1,000 words, there might be room for improvement. However, considering my most popular post was over 3,000 words, maybe this is more of a guideline. I’ll start with removing excess adjectives.
8. Do more food and wine writing
I love food and I love wine, which means I should write more about both! These were to big themes of my time in La Rioja, the gastronomic capital of Spain and home to the best wine in the whole wide world. Now that I am no longer in my beloved Logroño, I’ll have to look for new ways to incorporate these passions into my blog here.
9. Learn to accept criticism better
Is anyone good at this, really? Be honest. The way I write is not everyone’s cup of tea, and a handful of you guys are more than willing to express that to me. I see the big writers leave comments like “thank you for your opinion” or just ignore the negative. Man, I need to get there. You wouldn’t believe the amount of shit I got for my Auxiliar Spain Hate Post, which definitely was a learning experience and a turning point in how I handle reader feedback, partly because I wasn’t afraid to say exactly what I was thinking. There was a 200+ comment thread (I started) on Facebook about it, and I definitely earned some enemies but earned even more readers and ultimately the positive outweighed the negative.
Basically, this blog is my baby, my first-born, my preciousssss. Logically, when I would get the occasional rude, mean, or negative response, I would go full-on mother-hen defense mode. But I need to learn that I am putting myself out there in the public forum and that I am going to have to accept the good, bad and the ugly that come along with it. A big part of my blog is my blunt honesty and opinion, and I’d like to believe that’s why so many of you enjoy what I write, I don’t sugar-coat anything. With that in mind, I will never have 100% positive feedback, and I have to learn to suck it up and deal.
10. Have a year of firsts
Along with saying yes to any and all opportunities presented to me this brand spanking new year, I want to have a year of trying things I’ve never done for the first time. Have a year of stepping outside the box. I’ve been bungee jumping but I’ve never gone skydiving! I want to try as many new things as possible. Because all great adventures start with trying something new for the first time. I had never blogged or written publicly before 2010, and now look where I am.
11. Take better photos
I’ve always considered myself to be a decent photographer, mostly because of my background as an artist and painter. I know what light looks good, how to frame a shot, ect. But after reading lots of photography blogs this year, I realized there is so much more I can learn. Hoping to enroll in a photographer course in DC this spring, I plan to tackle picture taking and improve my shots. I especially want to get better at taking photos of people.
12. Let go of the past
Boy, this one’s a doozy. I’m a dweller. I dwell too much on just about anything. Failures, choices, opportunities. Did I do the right thing? What could I have done better? I regret this and that.
Mother of god, that’s so unhealthy and goes against everything I believe in. For the most part, I have learned to let go of things that bother me but there are a few things in my past I have trouble forgetting. This is not even a goal, this is a promise to myself. I will forget it and let go. Look forward not backwards and learn from my mistakes. But holding on to something that doesn’t make you feel good and in fact makes you feel worse, is just bad news bears all around.
Who’s with me?
13. Build my travel business
Saving the best for last, by Jan. 1, 2014, I hope to be traveling full-time and to have turned my blog and writing into a business. Boom.
How can you help me? By keep reading what I am writing and spreading the word. It will also help if you subscribe to my blog via RSS or email. It will also help heaps if you follow my page on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Otherwise, keep the comments coming, positive and negative, and thank you so, so much for sticking with me through 2012 and beyond.
All quotes and new country images came from my Pinterest boards