How I Stopped Talking About My Goals & Actually Started Accomplishing Them
It starts off the same every new year. Resolutions are made and then resolutions fade as the months quickly give way to the next year when the cycle repeats.
On many occasions, I have gotten caught in the pattern of promising myself that this year would be different: I would get the body that I wanted, I would make the money that I desired, I would travel to places that I pinned to my Pinterest board, only to look back in December and realize that many of my goals fell by the wayside as life took over and reminded me that change is inevitable and flexibility is necessary.
But this past year, I decided to stop making empty promises to myself and started creating actionable plans in all areas of my life, from career to love and relationships, to actually see my dreams and desires come to fruition. I moved across the country to Los Angeles with just a few dollars in my pocket and a vision for my life. I shed the few pounds that I gained on the journey over. I started checking off goals and ideas that I posted on my vision board two years prior, and I started getting my confidence back as I discovered my own strength and power as a woman who can speak things into existence.
It has not only changed how I perceive life, but it has also changed my perception of myself and what I'm able to accomplish when I'm focused and committed to me. And in the New Year, I look to take that to another level.
Here are five things that helped me to back up the things that I constantly talked about and that made me a winner last year:
I Wrote Down My Vision and Actionable Steps To Make It A Reality
There's nothing wrong with having a grand vision for your life. In fact, if your vision is something that you can easily accomplish on your own, it's not big enough. But one thing that I realized that I did years prior was write down lofty dreams without a real plan of how to make it really happen. I love a vision board as much as the next person, but as pretty as the pictures are, they don't show you all the pieces that require assembly in order to get to that ultimate image. So this past year, I switched it up and instead of pinning photos to a board, I penned my vision on paper—and then penned all the steps leading up to the end goal.
I purchased a Passion Planner, which was perfect because, as a writer, my life revolves around deadlines and the planner kept me on point. But what I loved most about it was that at the beginning, it asked you to write down a wish list of the different goals you had for yourself three months out, a year out, and three years out. You would define what your game changer was—the goal that had the most positive impact on your life at the moment. That goal would go in the middle of the page and surrounding the goal would be things you would do to make it happen. At the end of the month, you would assess your progress and write down ways to improve the next month. It was like an accountability partner on paper, and it helped me to get close to my goals of being debt-free, moving to L.A., and creating multiple streams of income using my natural gifts and talents.
While you don't necessarily have to have a planner to make this happen, the key is to write down smaller, realistic steps that help you to reach your end goal. That way it doesn't feel overwhelming or unobtainable, and keeps you in check every step of the way.
I Stopped Watching Other People Live Their Lives
I'm guilty of aimlessly scrolling through Instagram and double-tapping pictures of people who are living their lives to the fullest. On one hand, it's motivating to see my peers accomplishing their dreams, but as much as I love celebrating their successes, it can sometimes distract me from focusing on my own goals. Those minutes turn into hours that could've been spent more wisely, and looking to them for motivation prevented me from diving within myself and tapping into the genius that lies within.
I decided to start making a change by fasting from social media for two weeks and deleted all apps from my phone because temptation is real. It honestly was the most productive—and peaceful—weeks that I'd had in months. Afterward, instead of pretending that I was going to stay off of social media all day everyday, I put boundaries around it. I set certain times of the day where I could go on and browse and catch up with people. I reserved the hours that I'm most productive for zoning in on my goals. I even put myself on a schedule. It sounds simple but it does wonders for helping to accomplish those dreams that we often speak about but have little to show for.
I Didn't Turn A Temporary Setback Into Defeat
Okay, so I may have overslept one day. I had to push back a launch because my photographer rescheduled on me. Or to keep it real, I just didn't “feel like it" and I chose to kick back and watch an episode of Queen Sugar instead of working on my own bestselling novel. Life happens, and so does procrastination. But missing a personal deadline isn't the end all be all—it's an opportunity to embrace what is, and adjust to make happen what you want to be. If I got caught up on every perceived failure then I'd live in a constant state of self-pity and never get anything accomplished. There's always going to be hurdles on the road to success. How you handle it not only speaks volumes about your character, but also about how badly you want it. Besides, it's a marathon, not a race.
The goal is to keep moving forward.
I Celebrated My Progress Along the Way
I admit that I haven't always been too good at this. You know, patting myself on the back for that small goal that I can now check off my list. I'm always looking forward to the next thing; I don't dwell too much on the past. But sometimes you need to pause for a second to celebrate how far you've come to appreciate where you're going. It's easy to get into the habit of complaining or worrying, but when you stop to see what has been accomplished, it shifts your perspective and gives you a different drive and a new energy.
I used to do a blessings jar and throughout the course of the year, I would write down good things that happened on slips of paper, and close to New Year's Eve I would pull them out one by one and reflect on the wide range of wins. Now, I have a space in my planner for weekly reflections that I fill in every week. It's made me realize that the small wins are just as significant as the big ones, even if they're not things that seem worthy of bragging about on social media. It helps you not to rely on the praise and approval of others because you learn how to be your own cheerleader in life. You learn to find positivity in everything, and that even setbacks aren't without a greater purpose.
I Made New Goals
So you made an actionable plan, put social media pause, stopped crying over spilled milk, and found a reason to celebrate your baby steps. Now you're checking things off your list left and right because you have a new attitude and your changed mindset is bringing good energy into your life. Now what?
You keep going. You make new goals. You reached 5,000 followers for your brand? Cool, now it's time to reach 10,000. You built six months worth of savings in your bank account? Fabulous. Now start saving for the down payment on that dream home. You stopped looking for love in hopeless places and started loving you—all of you? It's about time. Now let that good energy attract the right partner who you can continue to build and grow with. The point is not to always dream bigger, always strive for more.
The top of the mountain is just an illusion to the heights that you can climb—the sky is the limit.
What steps are you taking to make your New Year's resolution a New Year's reality?
Originally posted on Write On Kiah.
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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.
Many have wondered if one time is ever enough to see Queen Bey. Some argue yes. However, many of us on the opposite end of the spectrum, including myself, would disagree. Beyoncé's "Renaissance World Tour" is a universal yet varying experience for everyone who attends. In the words of Oprah Winfrey, the concert is "transcendent." For millennials, we have over two decades of her catalog that has served as the soundtrack for many of our lives and painted a personal portrait of our most coveted thoughts. Her music provides mental clarity and self-expression by serving as a universal language that has united fans from all walks of life through community, fashion, self-acceptance, and healing.
With a multi-layered approach to her artistry, just as she did on that winter day in December 2013 with the infamous digital drop of her self-titled album, she changed the game again on February 1, 2023, when she announced her world tour in support of Renaissance, her seventh studio album. Her cultural impact set the internet ablaze, with everyone trying to gather their coins, barter for presale codes, and figure out which cities to attend. The group chats were lit, and the Beyhive was stressed trying to get their hands on tickets.
Beyoncé's Renaissance tour stop in L.A.
Photo courtesy of Dontaira Terrell
Unfortunately, I was in that number. As the concert dates passed by and the one in my city drawing near all roads led to disappointment. With time ticking on the day of the Miami show and less than two hours to spare, my wallet bit the bullet, and I purchased three last-minute tickets, costing roughly $700.00 a piece (including fees) for me, my 9-year-old and 16-year-old nieces in Section 121 at the Hard Rock Stadium. With 10 minutes before showtime, we eagerly awaited the Queen to take the stage. A sea of metallic fringes, cowboy hats, disco fans, and western boots were in full effect and filled the entire stadium.
Dontaira with her nieces at Beyoncé's Renaissance tour stop in Miami.
Photo courtesy of Dontaira Terrell
As the lights dimmed, a flood of emotions instantly overtook my body. It continued with each note she belted, along with nearly 50,000 roaring fans. The reverberating sound of the music through the stadium transported me from one era of my life to the next. As a teen girl in her bedroom daydreaming about her first love to blossoming into an unapologetic Black woman who is still on a road of self-discovery while learning to lean into the power anthem of "You won't break my soul." For over two hours, and with each set, I felt joy, love, peace, and a commanderie with fellow concertgoers. It was therapeutic as I danced like no one was watching and sang as if I were alone in my bathroom mirror.
There were no bars held, and I realized at that moment, "Nobody can judge me but me." The "Renaissance World Tour" proved to be so vast, and my Black girl joy was re-invigorated. It was magnetic and liberating, and I had to attend again, but this time, I needed to be up close and personal; I needed to be on the floor. In the days that passed, I watched more social media clips in different cities and asked myself if I would really splurge again to attend another Renaissance show.
Beyoncé's Renaissance tour stop in Miami.
Photo courtesy of Dontaira Terrell
After all, this would be my thirteenth time (maybe more because I lost count) seeing Beyoncé live, whether she was on tour with Destiny's Child, as a solo artist, or doing a live appearance. I contemplated for a while, but it worked itself out on its own. I was gifted two tickets and the next thing I knew, I was off to LA to attend another Renaissance show with floor seats at SoFi Stadium during Beyonce's 42nd birthday weekend! This time, things were different: no kids were allowed. It was adults only this go round.
Although the energy at the Miami and Los Angeles shows was empowering, infectious, and a celebration of life, happiness, and identity, they each provided their own unique experience. However, both concerts were what I needed for my well-being, leaving me with sore feet from dancing the night away, on vocal rest for the next few days from screaming at the top of my lungs, and on an indefinite high on life.
My introduction and love for Beyoncé began in 1996, while my older sister lived in Houston, TX, right before Bey hit the scene in 1998 with "No, No, No" as a budding R&B member. Her evolution twenty-seven years later as an international superstar and into womanhood has been an incredible journey to witness. As Mrs. Carter reminds each of us in the audience every night before the curtain closes, "I want you to remember this moment, where you're standing, who you came with, and take it with you. I hope you feel inspired."
I truly felt inspired, so thank you, Queen Bey. You awakened my inner child, and I will definitely remember these moments and take them with me.
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Feature image by Kevin Mazur/WireImage for Parkwood