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How I Stopped Talking About My Goals & Actually Started Accomplishing Them

Every new year, everyone makes resolutions. Every new year, I found myself not accomplishing them. Here's how I changed all that.

Wellness

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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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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