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Adopting These Habits Can Totally Change Your Life

"One day or day one. You decide.—Unknown

Inspiration

We've all heard the saying, "Today is the best day of the rest of your life." But let's get real—that's only true if you're going to make the most of today. One of the best ways to make that happen is to commit to not doing what so many of us do daily—procrastination.

If you're good for getting to work 10 minutes early and/or paying your bills on time, you might not think that procrastination is an issue for you. Maybe. But before you dismiss it as being a potential obstacle in your life, here are some of the more subtle signs that it very well be a stumbling block for you. Complaining is a sign of procrastination. Quitting when things get too hard is a sign of procrastination. Justifying bad habits is a sign of procrastination. Remaining in a dead-end job or relationship is a sign of procrastination. Envy, anxiety and negativity? Yep, you guessed it; they are procrastination signs too (because these are the kinds of feelings that keep you stagnant).

The reason why it's so important to decipher whether or not procrastination is an issue for you is because there is no way that you can truly change your life until you get that nasty little issue under control. The good news is once you recognize what is keeping you from moving forward, you can start taking steps that will get you headed in a totally different direction. A direction that will have your life looking almost unrecognizable, in comparison to this very moment, in less than a year from now.

Are you ready to make the kinds of moves that will evolve everything about you, as soon as today? If so, read on.

Write Down 20 Things That You Love About Yourself

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If I were to walk up to you right now and ask you to give me 20 of the things that you love most about yourself, how long would it take you to do it? Deeper than that, could you even do it? Not too long ago, recording artist Kirk Franklin was on The Breakfast Club talking about how, even with all of his success, he still struggles with insecurities. His candor is a reminder of the fact that it doesn't matter what someone else thinks about you, if you're not self-loving and self-confident, life is going to be really difficult, to say the least.

Currently, one of my favorite self-esteem quotes is by Oprah— "Self-esteem means knowing you are the dream." When you know that you are awesome, capable and worthy, c'mon. How can that kind of self-assuredness not cause you to totally change your life for the better?!

Send an Email to a Potential Resource

I can't tell you how many opportunities I've landed, all from simply sending a random email to someone who may seem "unreachable" on the surface. A lot of us spend—and by that, I mean waste—a lot of time thinking that a publication will never give us a byline or a producer will never listen to our music or a platform will never consider our story when the reality is when we are original, candid and concise, we can catch the eyes of all kinds of movers 'n shakers.

Shoot, the reason why you're even reading this article is because one day, I sent Necole an email. She told me that she happened to catch my message right as she was about to sign off. She pointed me to who I needed to speak with and…here I am.

One of the best things about the internet is, one way or another, you can find a contact to just about anyone you're looking for. If you're ready to change career paths, start your own company or you simply want ways to get your name out there more, peruse the site or company's contact info that you're interested in and send an email. This tip alone may be the very thing to drastically change your life. (Again, I would know.)

Sign Up for a Skillshare Class

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Knowledge is power. That's not a cliché; it's the truth. If you're a creative who wants to brush up on your design, writing, illustration or photo skills, or if you're an aspiring entrepreneur who wants to get tips on how to thrive in that lane, Skillshareoffers all kinds of courses. Although they do have premium packages, the really cool thing about the site is that they have an entire section that offers free courses as well. Another thing that I really like about Skillshare is if you live by the motto "she who learns teaches", you can hit them up to apply to be an instructor as well.

Subscribe to Scribd

Author and motivational speaker Jim Rohn once said, "Reading is essential for those who seek to rise above the ordinary." So true, so true. Reading does everything from stimulating your mind and reducing your stress levels to expanding your vocabulary (and imagination), improving your concentration, developing your analytical skills and, of course, educating you.

If you want to make the time to read more, but you're having a difficult time looking for a particular book or your budget won't let you splurge as much as you would like, consider subscribing to Scribd. For one thing, it's the largest digital library around. Plus (after a 30-day trial), you only have to pay $9 a month to get access to all of the reading material—including audiobooks and magazines—it has to offer. Not bad. Not bad at all.

Download the Happier App

Some of us could totally change our lives if we simply made an attitude adjustment. If this is the category that you fall into, getting enough rest, releasing toxic relationships, exercising regularly and altering your diet a bit are a good place to start. Something else that can help is downloading an app like the Happier app. It's basically an app that helps you to focus on how to see the beauty in life and practice gratitude on a daily basis.

If you know that happiness isn't an emotion that you are able to tap into as much as you'd like, don't wait for your circumstances to change. Being happy is something that you can choose to be, despite what is or isn't going your way. And, a woman with a positive attitude is a force to be reckoned with. Period.

Also Download the Offtime App

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It's been reported that we spend around 11 hours each day engaging some sort of media. The real reality check about that comes from reading articles like "101 Things to Do with an Extra Hour". It lists everything from taking a bubble bath or catching up with a friend to creating a budget or planting flowers in your garden. And that's just after one hour.

If you know (that you know that you know) that you spend entirely too much time with electronic devices, another app worth looking into is the Offtime app. What it does is provide you the option of temporarily restricting you from sites/applications that continuously distract you while also providing a report of how much time you spend (or is it waste?) on them. You might be surprised by how much of your life you can get back, if you simply make the decision to unplug a little more often.

Shoot Your Inner Circle an Email

Something that I used to do, at least a couple of times a year, is send an email to my friends (BCC on the email addresses). It consisted of what I appreciated about them being in my life, where I was in a particular stage in it and what I was needing from them, moving forward. I asked what I could do for them as well. I don't regret any of the messages that I sent because, every time, at least one person wrote me back thanking me for the clarity they got and/or they hit me back to share something that they needed that I wasn't giving them, or some kind of transition that they wanted to make me knowledgeable of too.

I share often that one of my favorite relationship quotes is "People change and forget to tell each other." A lot of people—people who truly care about each other—grow apart, simply because they weren't open, honest and consistent when it came to communication. Just one email could breathe new life—or set necessary boundaries—into your relationships. It's worth the 30 minutes it takes to write and click "send".

Implement These Five Travel Planning Hacks

Over here at xoNecole, we're so fond of traveling that you're gonna see at least a couple of articles on the topic, pretty much on a weekly basis. If the farthest you've gone lately is to your favorite restaurant, it's time to plan a trip. Travel is educational, relaxing and a great way to expose yourself to new people and things.

If you know all of this, but you can't figure out how in the world to pay for one, I've got a few hacks that you should implement. First, sign up for some cheap flight newsletters; they typically feature deals that you wouldn't hear about any other way. Next, when you're shopping around for rates, do it while your browser is in "incognito mode"; that way, your browser won't collect any cookies and sites won't raise prices based on them knowing that you're planning a trip and where it is that you are trying to go. Third, when you're booking a hotel, don't do it through travel sites like Expedia or even hotel sites like Hotel.

Call directly for deals and to negotiate. Online sites tend to get paid by commission which means they tend to jack up prices (better yet, rent a vacation house; it'll give you so much more bang for your buck. Just go to your favorite search engine and put "vacation house rentals" in the search field). Fourth, if you don't mind living on the edge a bit, visit sites like Last Minute Travel and HotelTonight. Both provide some pretty great deals if you're willing to wait until the last hour to book your flight and/or accommodations. And finally, don't go alone. Split the costs by going with some friends. Let me get more specific—friends who will be prepared to put down deposits so that you don't end up paying for everything…at the last minute.

Stop Procrastinating

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When it comes specifically to procrastination, artist Pablo Picasso probably said it best—"Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone." I think that one of the most overlooked issues with procrastination is it's a very arrogant way to look at life—I have tomorrow or even next week to get around to doing such-and-such. Really? Who said?

Right now, I have a pile of T-shirts that are sitting on a wicker basket in my room. Guess how long they've been right there, all because I've been saying for two weeks now that I'll go through them…later. Really, it's a bit of a visual on procrastination because I've ordered a couple of more since then (these T-shirt lines are so addictive to me) which means the pile is only getting bigger. That's what procrastination does—turns small things into big things, overwhelms you and, usually makes a big mess in the process.

That report at work, that treadmill that's collecting dust and/or that hard conversation that you need to have with someone in your life—handle that ASAP. An organized life is a stress-less life. A stress-less life is a totally-changed-for-the-better one.

Try Something New

To tell you the truth, any article worth its weight is going to offer up this tip because if you want to evolve, you've got to do new things. You've got to get out of your comfort zone. You've got to attempt something that makes you a little anxious. You've got to be open to people, places, things and ideas that you've never really considered before.

If you need a little inspiration, call that crazy friend or relative who always seems to do stuff that has you responding like, "I'm sorry, you did…what?!" or check out Insider's article "50 New Things You Should Try in 2019". I can personally attest to the fact that once you go on a blind date, try a new food or visit a new place, it's going to expand your way of thinking.

And the moment that happens, even if it's initially unnoticeable, something about you has indeed immediately, changed.

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When I was ten, my Sunday school teacher put on a brief performance in class that included some of the boys standing in front of the classroom while she stood in front of them holding a heart shaped box of chocolate. One by one, she tells each boy to come and bite a piece of candy and then place the remainder back into the box. After the last boy, she gave the box of now mangled chocolate over to the other Sunday school teacher — who happened to be her real husband — who made a comically puzzled face. She told us that the lesson to be gleaned from this was that if you give your heart away to too many people, once you find “the one,” that your heart would be too damaged. The lesson wasn’t explicitly about sex but the implication was clearly present.

That memory came back to me after a flier went viral last week, advertising an abstinence event titled The Close Your Legs Tour with the specific target demo of teen girls came across my Twitter timeline. The event was met with derision online. Writer, artist, and professor Ashon Crawley said: “We have to refuse shame. it is not yours to hold. legs open or not.” Writer and theologian Candice Marie Benbow said on her Twitter: “Any event where 12-17-year-old girls are being told to ‘keep their legs closed’ is a space where purity culture is being reinforced.”

“Purity culture,” as Benbow referenced, is a culture that teaches primarily girls and women that their value is to be found in their ability to stay chaste and “pure”–as in, non-sexual–for both God and their future husbands.

I grew up in an explicitly evangelical house and church, where I was taught virginity was the best gift a girl can hold on to until she got married. I fortunately never wore a purity ring or had a ceremony where I promised my father I wouldn’t have pre-marital sex. I certainly never even thought of having my hymen examined and the certificate handed over to my father on my wedding day as “proof” that I kept my promise. But the culture was always present. A few years after that chocolate-flavored indoctrination, I was introduced to the fabled car anecdote. “Boys don’t like girls who have been test-driven,” as it goes.

And I believed it for a long time. That to be loved and to be desired by men, it was only right for me to deny myself my own basic human desires, in the hopes of one day meeting a man that would fill all of my fantasies — romantically and sexually. Even if it meant denying my queerness, or even if it meant ignoring how being the only Black and fat girl in a predominantly white Christian space often had me watch all the white girls have their first boyfriends while I didn’t. Something they don’t tell you about purity culture – and that it took me years to learn and unlearn myself – is that there are bodies that are deemed inherently sinful and vulgar. That purity is about the desire to see girls and women shrink themselves, make themselves meek for men.

Purity culture isn’t unlike rape culture which tells young girls in so many ways that their worth can only be found through their bodies. Whether it be through promiscuity or chastity, young girls are instructed on what to do with their bodies before they’ve had time to figure themselves out, separate from a patriarchal lens. That their needs are secondary to that of the men and boys in their lives.

It took me a while —after leaving the church and unlearning the toxic ideals around purity culture rooted in anti-Blackness, fatphobia, heteropatriarchy, and queerphobia — to embrace my body, my sexuality, and my queerness as something that was not only not sinful or dirty, but actually in line with the vision God has over my life. Our bodies don't stop being our temples depending on who we do or who we don’t let in, and our worth isn’t dependent on the width of our legs at any given point.

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