Areas of Improvement

It’s the first of the year. Practically every human being I know is busy making promises to themselves about things they hope to improve upon this year. You might call it ‘making resolutions’ or ‘setting goals.’ Or maybe you just think of it as ‘making a list of all the things I want to do better this year, especially eating more chocolate cake.’  But either way, I’m banking on the fact that you’ve got a list of your own, whether it’s tucked into your brain, typed out on your smart phone, or taped to your bathroom mirror.

I hope success for each and every one of you, whether your resolution is to lose weight, or to watch every single item available to stream on Netflix in the next 356 days. (That’s a lofty goal, my friend. Let me know how it goes.)

I don’t really have goals that I’ve set in stone. Sure, it would be amazing to finally publish my novel, or start a new career, or lose 100 pounds. But instead of focusing on specifics, I’m instead focusing on areas of my life that I want to spit shine till they glow. In case you’re interested, here’s a compilations of those areas seeking improvement.

Blog 1

This probably isn’t a huge shocker for you guys. I’m intent on spending as much time writing in 2014 as ever before. Naturally, this includes AbbyGabs, but I’m also looking to finish the novel I’m currently working on and, hopefully, starting another.

In this same vein, I’m also looking to further my writing career this year. I’ve already signed up for my very first ever writer’s conference, PubSmart, which will take place here in Charleston in April. I’m excited, and exhilarated, and scared out of my gourd that everyone around me is going to be able to sniff out the noob in the room. (That would be me.) So I’m stocking up on extra-strength deodorant, holding my head high, and hoping that I’ll get something worthwhile out of this conference. Most likely scenario–I learn some stuff I didn’t already know. Best case scenario–I meet an agent who’s so excited to meet me and hear about my stuff that she’ll backflip herself right into a publishing contract with little ol’ me. Here’s hoping, right?

Blog 2

I don’t necessarily mean making more of the green stuff (although don’t get me wrong. That would rock.) I’m thinking more along the lines of budgeting. Saving. Building a nest egg. Finally buying a second car. That sort of thing.

Because between you and me, the first year of having Brian on a nurse’s salary, as opposed to a bartender’s salary, was a fun one. I mean, we were spending like we had money to burn. (Dolla bills, y’all.) So I’m hoping to curb that enthusiasm this year, and really start to build a good foundation for our financial future.

Blog 3

Big shock. Abby’s getting back on the weight loss train. Again.

Here’s the thing: I have never conquered my battle with weight. Not once. But, I’ll keep trying until I find the formula for success.

So I’m trying a different approach this year. I’m easing into it. Counting calories (because that’s crucial for me to be successful.) Drinking water. Making healthIER choices. Moving more and eating less. I’m taking Brian along with me for the ride, and we’re determined to whittle a few inches from our growing waistlines. It’s not going to be easy. It’s rarely going to be pretty. But we’re going to feel better, and sleep better, and have more energy to do the fun things we love. And that’s all the payoff I really need, in the end.

Blog 4

I can already hear a few of my closest friends rearing up to argue with me over this one. Here’s the thing: I’m a perfectly nice person. I smile at people in the grocery store checkout line. I make small talk with the postal worker when I’m buying my stamps. I’ll give you the shirt off my back if you need one, even if I’m wearing my ugly grandma bra. But there are 3 situations that turn me into a not-so-nice person.

I have road rage. There’s no doubt about it. Driving often frustrates me, and anyone who’s ridden in the car with me will attest to that. This year I want to find my zen behind the wheel and stop cursing so much at truckers who cut me off without even a second glance. (Peabrain.)

I have work rage. I’m less-than-friendly with certain customers because they’ve been so hateful and rude to me in the past. I get annoyed with other customers because they’re slow, or easily confused, or generally nosy. And quite frankly, my phone etiquette sucks. There are a lot of reasons for this that I won’t go into here on this public forum, but I’m going to work on being nicer to the people I encounter at work.

I have poor self-esteem. I mentally beat myself up all the time: over everything from how much I eat to what I say to people, and especially about my body. I think the words “Fat” and “Ugly” on a daily basis–about myself. I’m a nice person…most of the time. It’s time for me to start being nicer to me.

Blog 5

This is a fun one. I firmly believe that, in order to be a good writer, you also have to be an avid reader. And I do read a lot already, truthfully. But this year, I’m setting a goal for myself to finish 50 books in 2014. It’s not such a huge stretch–I’m sure I’ve read that much before. I’ve just never counted. So I’m going to make a list of the books I read, ones I plan to read, and challenge my friends to compete with me. I ♥ books.

And finally…

Blog 6

It’s no secret to our friends and family (and most of the readers here) that 2013 was a difficult year for Brian and me as we uncovered the truth behind our problems with infertility. It was a difficult path that we had to take together…and one that we’ll continue to navigate as we move forward with our plans to look into adoption this year.

I may not have a child in my arms by the time the Christmas tree goes up, but I’m hoping we will have made serious progress toward opening our home, and our hearts, to a child looking for us as much as we’ve been looking for them. We have so much love to give, and while we’re nervous about the coming challenges, we’re (finally) ready to tackle them head on.

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It may seem that I’ve set myself up for failure this year, with these lofty goals. And so many of them! But I firmly believe that we can accomplish improvement in every area of our lives that we want to, if we stay focused and driven. These are the things I want most for my life right now. And so if I want them, I have to work for them. Right?

“Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.”  –Louisa May Alcott

2 thoughts on “Areas of Improvement

  1. violettempest

    🙂 Your list is inspiring. 🙂 For writing, remember little ol’ me over here. I can always use a writing buddy. It makes writing fun and also makes me accountable. 🙂
    The others are great too, and if I may pass along a piece of wisdom I read (somewhere) it was this: “If you wouldn’t say it to a friend why would you say it to yourself?” So the next time the big F and U words appear on your tongue banish them. Because you would never call us those things. 🙂
    Hugs.

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