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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.

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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.

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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Featured image by Shutterstock

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