Never Complete Anything? Here's Why You (Probably) Don't.
Man. If there was ever an article where I wish I could put a friend's first, middle and last name in it, this would be the one. I say that because the person who I'm speaking of is brilliant. I'm not being biased either because, most of the people in their world, feel the same way as I do. Problem is, this person sucks, BIG TIME, when it comes to completing things. Genius idea after genius idea never fully manifests because the minute the concept comes into their brain and they begin, after about a good week or so, they're on to something else. As a result, nothing ever really materializes. And that really is a total and damn shame.
If this sounds like someone you know because, in all honesty, the person is you, please take a moment to at least finish reading this. It really is my personal belief that completing tasks are a form of self-discipline and, the more you do finish things, the better you are at taking on bigger, better and greater opportunities along the way. I've always been a firm believer that some of the best answers come from asking self-reflective questions. So, pull out your journal and write down your own answers to the ones I've listed down below. It could be what helps to put a fire in you to not just start things…but to actually complete them.
Do You Set Short- and Long-Term Goals?
Let's start with a point that should be obvious but actually, it might not be. Sometimes, we don't complete tasks because let's be real—some of the stuff that we set out to do is not going to happen overnight. A real investment of blood, sweat, tears and time is gonna be required which can wear us all the way out before we even begin. Sometimes I feel that way about my writing. When I know that I've got 10-15 articles to do in a week, I will get up on Monday already shaking my head. But things seem a lot less daunting once I break my assignments down into increments; you know—I create short- and long-term goals. On the writing tip, I actually tend to do the easier/quicker stuff first because that typically leaves me with only 5-7 articles by Wednesday. In my mind, because most of what I needed to do is already done, it's like getting a second wind to knock everything else out.
We've all heard the saying "So-and-so-crawled so that so-and-so could now run." If you struggle with completing stuff, put your name in both "so-and-sos". Set short-term goals (crawl) and finish those. If you do that, they will give you the extra "umph" that you need to get to the bigger stuff (run). If you make this way of approaching matters a part of your daily routine, you'll be amazed by how much you'll be able to complete—basically all of the time.
What About You and Time Management?
Social media takes up a lot of time (on average, it's about 2 ½ hours a day). Reading gossip blogs takes up a lot of time. Watching mindless television takes up a lot of time. Being in relationships with fruitless individuals (folks who take more than they give and/or are always trying to turn you into someone you're not) takes up a lot of time. Talking about what you're gonna do rather than actually doing it takes up a lot of time. Listen, we've all got 24 hours in a day, and, based on how you utilize those hours, your days can be really beneficial—or not. The harsh reality is, that there are a lot of folks who don't complete things for no other reason than they absolutely suck at time management (check out "These 10 Habits Are Totally Wasting Your Time").
A hack that helps me to avoid falling into this demographic is reminding myself that there will never be another day that is quite like this one. And since tomorrow isn't promised, I need to make the absolute most of it. Hmph. You'd be amazed how effective that is if you really take these points seriously. And literally.
How Excited Are You About the Things You’re Setting Out to Do?
Only a child (or a childish individual) would think that everything that we do in life is supposed to be fun all of the time. But something that I've learned is what you can do is "trick yourself" into feeling some level of excitement about the tasks that are on your list of things to do. For instance, I recently had two screws in my loveseat become stripped (because I've had this piece of furniture for a hot minute now). It's not really in the budget to buy a new couch; plus, I still like what I've got. So, I devoted an entire Sunday towards figuring out how to fix it myself. Do you think I really wanted to do that?! Heck no. But the excitement came from the thought of being able to fix the loveseat on my own while being able to keep some extra coins in my pocket. After doing a little research, I found an under-five-dollars solution and now it's good as new. And yes, I'm super duper excited about that!
By the way, I chose the word "excited" very strategically. One definition of it is "stimulated to activity". Whether it's a project for work, paying a bill (on time), completing a DIY project—whatever it is that's on your personal to-do list, if you struggle with completing tasks, figure out a way to get excited about starting in the first place. The faster you complete a work project, the easier it will be to either impress your boss or move on to something else. Paying bills on time will keep you from incurring late fees and can add some points to your credit score. Completing a DIY project can boost your self-confidence (I can totally vouch for that one!). Human nature is kind of wired to need an incentive for why we do the things that we do. If you can figure out at least three reasons why completing a particular thing will benefit you, this alone can gas you up to start and finish it.
Are You an Overthinker? Maybe You’re Constantly Overwhelmed.
Last summer, I wrote an article entitled, "How To Handle 'Purpose Fatigue'". In it, one of the things that I addressed is how overthinking can be our biggest deterrent in trying to accomplish, shoot, pretty much anything in life. Overthinking can cause you to create problems that don't even exist. Overthinking can make you super anxious. Overthinking can turn you into a worry wart.
Overthinking can make you live in the past to the point where you can't live in the present or plan for the future. Overthinking can literally stop you dead in your tracks. And, if you allow yourself to get—and then remain—in this kind of headspace, you will think your way out of possibly starting and almost definitely finishing something.
Know what else that overthinking can do? It can totally overwhelm you. This is one reason why it can be a really good idea to either begin each week—or day—with a to-do list that has things listed in an order of importance. That way, you can start off your week being clear about the fact that, if there's anything that you will prioritize, it's what you've already written down. That can help to organize your mind, manage your time and take some of the stress off—so that you can actually get things done.
How Good Are You at Celebrating and Encouraging Yourself?
Some people aren't able to complete things because they have wired themselves to believe that, unless someone is constantly encouraging them, then what they are doing might not be worthwhile. This is a really dangerous way of thinking. For one thing, you should never expect anyone to be more thrilled about and invested in your life than you are. Secondly, humans are flawed. This means that sometimes they will disappoint you. And third, there are gonna be certain things that you want to get done that folks around you may not get or support. I've shared before that I have family members who refused to talk to me while I was writing my first book. Close family members. Still, I knew it was something that had to be done and so…I did it.
Something that creatives, especially, need to keep in mind is, some of the ideas that come to your spirit are gonna sound straight up crazy to people around you (truly original things oftentimes do!). You've got to discipline yourself to push through the naysayers and do what you know is best and right, in spite of. It's an epidemic, the amount of people who don't ever complete things because they don't know how to hype their own damn selves up. Post up affirmations. Celebrate baby steps. Remind yourself why you started in the first place. If you are your biggest fan, anyone else will just be…surplus.
How Good Are You at Protecting Your Energy?
On the heels of what I just said, here's another great point. Energy. Energy is power. Sometimes, even if you've got the first three things that I mentioned checked off, if you don't protect your energy—especially from negative people, places, things or ideas—that can also bring you down and hinder you from finishing projects. A great example of this is, I have a close friend who is about to blow all the way up! A part of the reason why is because she's a really good person and when you put good out, good comes back to you (if not immediately, eventually). Anyway, meanwhile, she's got a hater in her midst. Not just a hater but a hater who poses herself as being a friend (check out "5 Signs Your Closest Friends Are The Most Envious Of You"). Because this so-called friend of hers is so cryptic and calculated, sometimes her stratagems can throw my friend off to the point where she's more focused on why her "friend" is doing the things that she does rather than tending to what can take her to an even higher level. Bottom line, that non-friend-friend is draining my friend's energy—that person is tapping into my friend's power source and that's preventing her from getting all that she needs to do—done.
You need power to start and complete things. This is why it is imperative that you protect your energy at all costs. If you don't, there's a pretty good chance that you'll never really get anything that's worth doing done (or done as well as it could've been if you hadn't let stuff infect your energy).
What’s the Benefit/Blessing Upon Completion?
I make sure my articles get done on time so that I can get paid on time. I finished my loveseat so that I could comfortably sit on it again. I make elaborate dishes sometimes because I enjoy certain foods that are hard to find in a "regular" restaurant. While these are semi-small examples of what it means to find a benefit or blessing in completing things, they are still really valid. Just like you should find your why for beginning something, it's also important to find your what when it comes to finishing it. Because the reality is a lot of people have a challenging time completing things because they forget why they began what they did in the first place (I deal with this when it comes to married couples all the time). An author by the name of Toni Sorenson once said, "The secret is not following the right path, it's following that right path to the end. Don't quit, my friend, until you've arrived." If you know that you have a hard time completing things, think about what is awaiting you once you arrive. Let that be the driving force to getting things done—the benefit or blessing that is guaranteed to wait for you on the other side.
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Imma tell y’all what — it seems like not one week goes by when I don’t see some sort of so-called term that has me like, “What in the world?” For instance, when I first stumbled upon “self-partnering,” honestly, I laughed. Then shared it with some other single people as well as married folks I know. And I kid you not, every individual was like, “What the heck does that mean?” When I told them that it was yet, one more way to seemingly define single living, basically everyone’s follow-up was, “Oh, brother.”
Why can’t (more) singles just be single and be okay with that? Good Lord. Why does there need to be some sort of relational play-on-words to make it sound like we’re with someone — even if we’re not?
Now masturdating? Even though it’s not even close to being a “real” word, it’s something that also brought a laugh outta me — although it was then followed by a genuine smile. The laugh because I almost immediately caught the play-on-words. The smile was due to the intention behind it all.
If you’re not familiar with what masturdating is and you’re curious about why you should even care, take a few moments to at least skim through what it’s about and why I think participating, as a single person, is a pretty cool (and effective) concept.
Masturdate: a date w oneself
What’s Masturdating All About?
Masturdating. Okay, so let the word marinate for just a moment. What does it sound like? Yeah…exactly. And since a huge part of masturbation centers around self-pleasure, it’s cool to explore how “self-dating” could produce similar (as far as pleasure is concerned in a broader sense) results. Because masturdating is all about spending quality time with yourself, pampering yourself, treating yourself— and yes, taking yourself out on dates.
Any of you who may think that masturdating is a consolation prize — and a pitiful one at that — for not being able to go out with another human being or get that dream $200 first date that social media was all in a tizzy about last year (bookmark that) — personally, I think that you’re the demographic who needs to try out masturdating first and the most. Why? Off top, I’ll share my three good reasons.
3 Reasons To Strongly Consider Masturdating
1. It’s an intimate way to get to know yourself better. I’ve been working with couples for a pretty long time at this point and if there’s a pattern that I see arise, OFTEN, it’s that two people are oftentimes so busy trying to “find their person” that they didn’t even know who they were. As a direct result, they found themselves in a relationship with someone who only complemented the “kiddie pool version” of who they were.
That’s why it can be so beneficial to spend time getting to know yourself on the “deep end” of things: what makes you tick, what your passions are, what you want most out of life, what are your interests beyond obvious things — and masturdating can help you to discover all of this. Whether it’s traveling alone or taking out a weekend to drink some wine and journal, the more you get to know yourself, the clearer you’ll be about who complements you on a romantic and friendship level.
2. It will definitely help to boost your confidence levels. I guess since I’m an ambivert, I don’t really get why people freak out at the mere thought of going to a restaurant or movie alone. Personally, I think it requires a helluva lot more energy and gumption to wait around and plan stuff with other people (#Elmoshrug). However, whether you’re an introvert, extrovert, or ambivert, there’s no way around the fact that the more comfortable you get with doing things alone, the more your confidence levels will increase — no, soar — because of it.
One article that I read on the topic said that doing things alone can make you more creative, improve your mental health, and help you to be totally okay with being alone (so that you’re not “needy” for other people’s attention). A psychotherapist from a New York Times article on the benefits of spending time alone said, “Getting better at identifying moments when we need solitude to recharge and reflect can help us better handle negative emotions and experiences, like stress and burnout.” And when you’re able to stare negativity in its face without flinching, how could that not make you bolder, more self-secure, and hopeful about your life?
3. It will teach you to value your time more effectively. In every facet of your world, you’re gonna operate from a healthier place if you’re operating from a “full cup” rather than an empty one. When it comes to this topic, think about it — if you’re constantly waiting on someone to call you to go out or wishing for a dream date with some guy, all you’re doing is wasting precious time that you could be spending taking a cooking class or hell, hiring a chef to make you dinner at your own home.
Indeed, waiting has two sides to it: when it’s in the form of patience, it is indeed a virtue, yet when it’s wrapped up in the notion that you’re not really living life unless you have an audience…it is totally working against you. Choose wisely.
10 Solo Date Ideas To Help You To “Master” Masturdating
So, what if you’re someone who has either never considered actually masturdating before or you don’t really know what to do beyond dinner and the movies? Here are a few ideas to consider:
1. Attend a workshop or masterclass that you’re interested in. If there’s something that you’ve always wanted to learn, sign up for a workshop or masterclass. The cool thing about this option is there are probably some in your city, as well as some that you can find online (like here) that are convenient and affordable.
2. Binge-read at a local coffee shop. Aside from their coziness and oftentimes inviting scents, I once read that a lot of us gravitate to coffee shops because we can be around people without having to actually socialize with them. So, if you want to “hang out” while still being able to enjoy a bit of solitude, take a book that you’ve been trying to finish to a local coffee shop, order your favorite latte, and sit in a big-ass comfy chair. Usually, you can sit there for hours, and the staff will be just fine with it (another bonus).
3. Have a spa day in the next town. You can never go wrong with a spa day. And while going with a friend can be fun, sometimes there’s too much talking transpiring to be able to fully chill out and relax. So, go off of the grid, get a change of scenery, and hit up a spa in the next city (or town). There are lots of studies out here supporting that day trips or “daycations” can actually be really good for your long-term health and well-being.
4. See a community play. Some of the best solo dates that I’ve ever been on consisted of taking in some of the local arts in my city. What’s really cool about this particular option is, oftentimes, they are extremely inexpensive, if not totally free of charge (in exchange for making a donation or putting money into a tip jar).
5. Plan a trip. Whenever people say something along the lines of, “If you don’t expect anything, you won’t be disappointed,” I know that they low-key have some (additional) healing to do from past disappointments. There’s simply too much intel out here to support that anticipation (of good stuff) makes us more motivated and optimistic, keeps our dopamine levels up, and makes life more exciting overall.
Since traveling alone is more cost-effective, gives you the freedom to do whatever you want (when you want), and increases the possibility of meeting new people and having new experiences on your journey — why not devote a day this weekend to planning a solo trip? All the way around, it’s good for you.
6. Try your hand at your own “$200 date.” Uh-huh. Roll your eyes if you want to, but it’s real easy to talk left about how a man should be able to just drop $200 like it’s nothing…until you actually try to do it. So yes, while taking yourself out on this type of date could serve as a bit of a reality check, it can also “scratch the itch” of waiting on some dude to do it for you. It’s also way less emotionally draining because, at least when you’re taking your own self out, it’s guaranteed that you’ll enjoy the company…right?
7. DIY some pampering. When you get a chance, check out “5 Reasons You Should Unapologetically Pamper Yourself,” “Want To Love On Yourself? Try These 10 Things At Home.,” “I’ve Got Some Ways For You To Start Pampering Your Soul,” and “When's The Last Time You Actually Pampered Your Vagina?” The bottom line here is pampering is all about, not mere self-maintenance; it’s all about treating yourself to levels of EXTREME SELF-INDULGENCE. So, if nothing else tickles your fancy on this list, at least consider doing that, chile.
8. Feed your creativity. Something that I used to be really good at is art. That said, one of my goddaughters is insanely talented, so she has reminded me to tap back into it. Also, a big part of what got me into the writing world is poetry; I actually used to be a house poet at a local spot. Sometimes, my best quality time moments with myself have been revisiting these creative sides of me — and this is definitely easier to do (and enjoy) alone.
9. Try some stargazing. When’s the last time you took a blanket into your backyard, laid down on it, and just stared at the stars for hours on end? While some say that stargazing can teach you to be mindful, others say that being in that form of nature reduces stress, while others believe that looking up at the universe at night can increase your attention span. All solid reasons to give it a shot, if you ask me.
10. DO. ABSOLUTELY. NOTHING. Let me tell you something that nobody will ever be able to make me feel bad about: doing absolutely nothing. I’ve got data to back me up. Good Housekeeping shares that doing nothing can help you decide how you want to respond or react to certain things. I like howThe Guardian says that taking this approach helps you to regain control of what you give your attention to.
TIME magazine says that it can ultimately make you more productive.BBC offers up that it can help you tap into your ingenuity.Henry Ford Health says that it can make you kinder and a better problem-solver. So, if you want to invest in yourself, do nothing sometimes.
Closing Thoughts from the Lovely Javicia Leslie
While some of y'all may know Javicia Leslie from being the former Batwoman, I discovered her back in the day from the indie series Chef Julian (and yes, "Julian" was right to say that "Mo" looks like Tatyana Ali...the real ones know). Sometimes I'll hop on her IG to see what she's got going on and this story popped up within a few hours of me penning this...so, I took it as hella confirmation.
TREAT YO SELF. WAIT FOR NO ONE.
WAIT FOR NO ONE. TREAT YO SELF.
RINSE AND REPEAT.
Sooo…what kind of masturdating plans do you have for this coming weekend? While going out with others has its perks, hanging out with yourself has a ton of ‘em too. Enjoy!
No…for real. ENJOY!
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