7 Questions You Should Definitely Ask Yourself At The End Of Each Week
Sunday to Sunday. That is how I process a seven-day week. And if there's one thing that I'm a huge fan of, it's taking out a little time (whether it's on a Friday because that's the end of the work week or a Sunday) to process what the last week has been like. It's reflective, sure. Yet as I get older, the real benefit that I see in it is it helps me to be more accountable to how I use my time. Time that is valuable. Time that I can't get back. Time that serves a purpose. Yes y'all, time always serves a purpose.
If we're blessed, a Friday and Sunday are always steadily approaching. As you prepare for the ones that are right in front of you, I've got seven questions that can help you to come to the conclusion if the past week has indeed been time well spent (and valued).
1. Did I Hit All of My Goals?
If you struggle with feeling motivated or you're constantly asking yourself why you are bored all of the time, let me ask you this — do you set weekly short-term goals? There are tons of reasons why it's a really important thing to do. Goals provide direction. Goals help to keep you focused. Goals are good for cultivating self-confidence and boosting your self-esteem. Goals keep you from being stagnant (check out "6 Questions To Ask Yourself To See If You're Stagnant (Or Not)"). Goals are what manifest progress.
While it is a good idea to have both short- and long-term goals, when it comes to processing how a seven-day cycle went, focus most on the short-term ones that you set, then be honest with yourself about whether you reached them or not. Oh, and to keep yourself from getting too overwhelmed, try and only have 1-3 per day. For instance, your goals could be to clean out your closet, get your quarterly taxes together (freelancers know all about that) and to catch-up with one of your long-distance girlfriends on the phone. Honestly, knocking all of this out could take a couple of days on their own, so you don't want to write down so many things that your list becomes unrealistic or overwhelms you. You just need enough to where, once Friday or Sunday rolls around, you can literally pat yourself on the back because you've got evidence that you set goals and then met them.
2. Should I Have Set Better Boundaries?
Speaking of feeling overwhelmed, it's important to keep in mind that if you're feeling that way, it's a pretty solid sign that you have poor boundaries somewhere — even if it's with yourself. Remember that a boundary is nothing more than a limit and since a definition of overwhelmed is "loaded, filled, or addressed with an excessive amount of anything", being in this kind of headspace means that something's gotta give.
Maybe you need to tell people "no" more often (check out "The Art Of Saying 'No' To Things You Don't Want To Do"). Maybe you need to put yourself on a sleep schedule so that you can get more rest. Maybe it's time to leave work at 5 instead of at 8 (can I get an "amen"?). Maybe you need to turn the notifications off of your phone. Maybe you need to stop letting your mom and/or friends and/or church members pressure you into doing things that you really don't want (or need) to do. Maybe you need to stop coddling your kids or internalizing resentment towards your husband because you feel like you are doing most of the work in the home. Maybe you need to pamper yourself more which requires pushing some other things to the side.
Listen, the possibilities here are endless. I'm just saying that boundaries are beneficial and every week that comes to a close, it's wise to (re)evaluate if you set some and then honored them — or if you didn't have many at all. Sometimes it can be difficult to set limits. Just remember that it's hard to flourish as much as you should without some being set in place.
3. What Did I Learn?
Back when I used to choose to remain in toxic "friendships" with people (because remaining in toxicity is a choice; self-accountability will teach you that), something that helped to break me free from it was asking myself if I was becoming a better person as a result of having certain individuals in my life. Because here's the thing about this particular point — while healthy and toxic folks can both teach you things, the huge difference is when something or one is good for you, you will constantly evolve while dealing with unhealthy stuff is basically like Chinese water torture in the sense that the same realization will be knocking you in the head until you finally get it. It's kind of like going to school, learning a lot of different things and graduating vs. being in the same school, still not progressing in one particular class and remaining in the same grade for years on end.
There's a Chinese proverb that simply says, "Enjoy yourself. It's later than you think." If you've gone seven days and you can't think of at least three new things that life has taught you, be more proactive about being around people, places, things and ideas that can change the narrative. Learning is a part of growth and growth is what evolves you into becoming a better person.
4. How Did I Improve?
Some people need to leave their job — quick, fast and in a hurry. They know it too. The main reason why is because the work environment that they are currently in isn't doing much to improve them. The same goes for some people and their dating dynamic. And then there are those with poor lifestyle habits. Although Rome wasn't built in a day, we all need to strive to make daily improvements so that, by the end of each week, we can recognize some noticeable developments.
And just what are some indications that you are indeed improving in your life? You're becoming better at holding yourself accountable. You are clearer about what you want as much as what you don't want. You strive to break bad habits by replacing them with better ones. You value your time more. You don't put pride before progress. You look for things that will bring peace and balance to your world. You can tell that you are healing in various areas where you were once super-sensitive or unforgiving.
A good example of this point is, a few weeks ago, someone who used to hurt me, relentlessly so, tried a stunt that caused me to literally laugh in response. At first, I was like, "Why did the universe cause me to witness this at all?" and then I realized, "How would I know that I was 'good' without it transpiring?" That was a sign of clear improvement. That said, one of my favorite definitions of improve is "to bring into a more desirable or excellent condition". By the time the end of the week rolls around, make sure that you can clearly articulate something about you and/or your world that is more desirable and excellent than it was, just a week ago. It can give you a boost of inner strength that you probably didn't know that you needed.
5. Am I Getting Closer to My Long-Term Plans?
Wanna go overseas within the next six months? Wanna start a business? Wanna have kids in the next couple of years? Wanna buy a house or a car? Wanna move to another state? Wanna lose 50 pounds? Wanna get another degree? Wanna learn another language? Wanna save $5,000? Wanna get into a healthy and committed relationship? Cool. Next question — what did you do this week to get closer to your long-term plans? Because it's always important to remember that long-term goals aren't reached without taking small consistent steps.
This is why I think it's essential to write down clear long-term plans and then devote some time, each week, towards making them manifest. I promise you that if you do this on a consistent basis, you'll look up and, this time last year, your life will look really different. All because you did something intentional about your plans on a weekly basis.
6. What Did I Do (or Am Going to Do) to Reward Myself?
A place that I've been parked at, for a minute now, is how important it is to focus on what makes me healthy instead of making happy so much of a priority in my life. Let me tell it, happiness has become a god to some people to the point where they don't honor commitments, they make poor decisions and they become totally self-consumed, all in the name of "doing what makes me happy". Meanwhile, maturity teaches us that sometimes, in order to do what's healthiest, most beneficial, the best overall, we're not going to be happy all of the time. And that's OK. Better than that even.
That's where this question comes in. Say that you hate your job yet you don't want to settle at the next one, so you're putting a one-year plan together to get outta there. Or maybe you're ready to get into better shape, you loathe working out, but you've put yourself on a six-month plan. Maybe you're just getting over a break-up and it's a fight to not call that joker — I mean, guy — on an hourly basis. Quitting immediately. Avoiding the gym and sitting on your couch with a pint of Blue Bell ice cream. Hitting him up for some crazy ex sex — all of these things may bring forth some immediate gratification. Still, none of it is a wise move in the long run.
This is where rewarding yourself comes in. I actually like the definition of reward a lot because it means "something given or received in return or recompense for service, merit, hardship, etc." A reward is something that is earned for some sort of effort that you put in somewhere. And I'm pretty sure that there is some sort of service, merit or hardship that you endured within a seven-day, period. For that, make sure you reward yourself, without reservation or apology. You deserve it, sis. All of us do.
7. How Am I Gonna Rest This Weekend?
I've shared before (check out "What To Do When You Don't Know How To Chill Out") that I was raised to be a Sabbath observer (Friday sunset thru Saturday sunset). Although I'm no longer affiliated with the Christian denomination that taught me that, I still rest on the Sabbath to this day and I will do it until I take my last breath. There is something really dope about getting off of the grid for 24 hours without reservation or apology. And because I do it as a spiritual practice (Exodus 20:8-11), it restores me in ways that nothing else really can.
A part of being productive is doing things. Another part is knowing how to rest because when you stop working; when you veg out and watch a movie; when you unplug from technology; when you decide to sleep in; when you choose not to answer for phone for a while; when you read a book; when you lie on your couch and look up at the ceiling while listening to a favorite playlist; when you meditate; when you sit in the tub for an hour — when you do anything that cultivates peace, ease, calm, leisure and downtime, you refuel your body to do what needs to be done…later.
Some of y'all work so much that you've gotta plan to rest — and you know it. By ending your week with this final question, it reminds you that rest is not a privilege; it needs to be a top priority. Every week. Just like everything else. So, please make sure that you do. The "answer" to how to do the next week well is attached directly to it.
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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 email@example.com. 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.
With two Eclipses happening this month, this is one of the powerhouse months of 2023 and one that will be unforgettable for many. The month begins in Libra Season, and with Mercury also entering Libra on October 4th. When Mercury is in Libra, the focus is on keeping the peace, creating harmony, and finding the beauty in life. Relationships, finances, pleasure, and creation are all the focus during Libra Season, and this month overall will be creating a lot of positive change in these areas of life.
What October 2023 Has In Store For Your Zodiac Sign
On October 8th, Venus moves into earth sign Virgo, and love takes on a more serious and grounded tone here. Venus in Virgo has high standards and wants the best of the best. There is a possibility of becoming overly critical in love or relationships with this energy, however overall, Venus in Virgo will be focused on letting go of unhealthy behaviors in love and creating more positive ways of relating, giving, and receiving in relationships. A few days later, Pluto goes direct in Capricorn after going retrograde in Aquarius back in May, and fewer power struggles and obstacles are more likely.
With Pluto direct in Capricorn, it is easier to reach your goals, build success, and see your own self-empowerment in it all.
On October 12th, Mars enters Scorpio, and Mars loves being in this water sign as it’s the ruler of Scorpio. Mars in Scorpio is passionate and direct and heats things up when it comes to your relationships. Mars will be in Scorpio until November 24th, and a spark is definitely being lit. A few days later, we have a New Moon Solar Eclipse in Libra.
This Solar Eclipse is creating a fresh start in love, but may also be bringing things to the forefront that are uncomfortable to see. A Solar Eclipse in Libra is relationship-oriented, and this is where you will be seeing the most impact now.
Before the month ends, Mercury enters Scorpio on October 22nd, Scorpio Season begins on the 23rd, and there is a Full Moon Lunar Eclipse in Taurus on October 28th. The end of October is when a lot of big moves are being made, and transformations are occurring, and it’s about letting go of baggage before moving forward again. The Lunar Eclipse in Taurus is another eclipse that has an impact on relationships, as both Libra and Taurus are ruled by Venus, the planet of love.
Through what is changing and transforming in some of your close relationships, this energy suggests there is greater love on the other side of it. Find gratitude in where you are, and stand in hope and self-belief for where you want to be.
Your October 2023 Monthly Horoscopes
ARIESAriesKyra Jay for xoNecole
Your strength is needed this month, Aries. During October, the Sun is in Libra, meaning the Sun is in your 7th house. The 7th house is the house of love and relationships, but it’s also the house of open enemies and opposition. This month, you will be finding your balance between the opening you are seeing in your life right now and what still needs to be built.
On October 14th, there is a New Moon Solar Eclipse in this area of your chart, the 7th house, and this is an impactful time for you emotionally. The intentions you have been setting in your love life and financially are creating a new scene for you. This is a good month to do more of the things that make you happy, to get creative, and to notice the beauty in your life. Before the month ends, your ruling planet, Mars, moves into your 8th house, and things get deep and even more emotional for you moving into November.
TAURUSTaurusKyra Jay for xoNecole
October is a month of reflection for you, Taurus. There is a lot happening this month and a lot happening for you personally, yet you are taking the time to tend to your inner world and recreate your safe spaces. With Venus in a fellow earth sign and in your 5th house of romance for most of this month, you will be sure to have plenty of love in your life to help you through some of the downtime you are getting in October.
Mars moves into your house of love on October 12th, and this is heating things up for you in your relationships and sex life. Fuel your passions and notice what is lighting you up inside right now. Before the month ends, on October 28th, there is a Full Moon Lunar Eclipse in your sign, and you are going through some major life changes. You are closing one chapter of your life of self-discovery and moving forward with a new view of yourself and the world around you.
GEMINIGeminiKyra Jay for xoNecole
This month is all about letting go, Gemini. You are moving through a time of releasing what has been filling your world with more chaos and confusion than clarity and are paving a new path for yourself. Your ruling planet, Mercury, is in your house of happiness for most of this month, and you are really thinking of the things that your heart wants and expressing yourself through this space of openness as well. Communication channels are exciting for you this month.
On October 14th, the New Moon Eclipse will be highlighting all of the energy of love you have been feeling this month and will be helping you hone in on your creative passions and hobbies as well. This month is surprising you on how well things turn out when you let go of what isn’t working. The second eclipse of the month is on the 28th, and this one for you is about laying the past to rest once and for all and giving yourself time to heal and process.
CANCERCancerKyra Jay for xoNecole
October is an activating month for you, Cancer. There are some eye-opening moments happening, and a lot of things are coming to a head. The energy of the month is about letting things find their place and allowing yourself to be okay in the process. Venus is in your 3rd house of communication for most of this month, and you will be able to communicate more freely how you are feeling and what you need in your relationships right now.
With the Sun in Libra and in your 4th house for most of October, home is really where the heart is right now. Spending time in comfortable environments where you feel the most at ease is nourishing. Before the month ends, there is a Full Moon Lunar Eclipse in your 11th house of community, and things are coming full circle for you. Lean on your support systems and community for an extra hand, and know that you deserve to take up space.
LEOLeoKyra Jay for xoNecole
This is a month of things moving forward for you, Leo. Patience is still needed, as things may not be moving as quickly as expected, however, they are moving nonetheless, and you are leaving the space of stagnation you have been feeling the past couple of months. Openings are coming into your life, and with Venus now in your 2nd house, you are able to capitalize on what you have been investing in and claim your abundance.
The Solar Eclipse happening mid-month will be awakening something within you when it comes to expressing yourself. You are breaking free from fears, limitations, and self-judgments and seeing yourself as someone who deserves to be heard. The Sun is also in this area of your chart until the end of the month, and you have all the support from the universe right now to speak up and speak your truths.
VIRGOVirgoKyra Jay for xoNecole
October is a month of blessings for you, Virgo. This year has been a year of a lot of ups and downs for you, and in the second half of this year, you really get to settle into more stability and positive fruition. You are being guided to use your instincts wisely this month, however, so as to keep blessings rolling. Your ruling planet, Mercury, will be in your 2nd house of income for most of the month, as well as the Sun, and financially, this is a really good month for you.
On October 8th, Venus moves into your sign, and you are receiving and feeling the love right now. Venus will be in your sign until November 8th, and over the next month, this is a good time for your relationships and business, receiving positive feedback, and putting yourself out there. On October 28th, there is a Full Moon Lunar Eclipse happening in your 9th house of adventure, and you could be seeing some travel or education plans coming to fruition now. You are really ready to enjoy how far you have come this month.
LIBRALibraKyra Jay for xoNecole
This month is all about creating your dreams, Libra. This is an exciting month for you and one where you are healing your inner child, gaining a new perspective, and manifesting your life. Libra Season is fully underway, and this is an impactful Libra Season for you, as there is a New Moon Solar Eclipse happening in your sign on the 14th. This Solar Eclipse is your time to shine, to bring your dreams to the forefront, and to let go of the past that doesn’t resonate with you anymore. It’s all about the vision this month; focus on the best one for yourself.
With the Sun and Mercury in your 1st house of self for most of the month and Venus in your 12th house of closures, you are finding your balance between the new and the old. You know there is a lot to release emotionally in your life still, but you are also giving yourself the space and freedom to soak in the good that has already arrived and making you happy right now. On October 23rd, Libra Season ends, and you are ready to focus more on your plans for the future.
SCORPIOScorpioKyra Jay for xoNecole
October is a month of rebirth for you, Scorpio. This is one of the most powerful months for you and one where you are starting fresh in many ways. Mercury is in your house of endings for most of the month, and your mind is focused on your spirituality, finding solutions, and letting go of perspectives and habits that don’t serve you or your health. Through the transformations that are occurring right now, new life is coming to fruition.
Mars and Mercury both enter your sign before Scorpio Season begins on the 23rd, and by the end of October, the energy moves from release to receive. You have more energy at your disposal when Mars is in your sign, and you are moving through a time of passion, action, and making things happen for yourself. This Scorpio Season for you is one where you are creating a new life for yourself and following the dreams you left to the wayside.
SAGITTARIUSSagittariusKyra Jay for xoNecole
Sagittarius, October is all about the heart and about showing up. This month for you is a time of support, friendship, and community, and a time where you are really discovering who your people are. You are awakening to what your inner child needs to heal and are seeking forgiveness this month. This is a time for you to move toward a new path in your life, one that feels more fulfilling for you and your well-being.
Venus is in Virgo and in your 10th house of career this month, and you are seeing some positive changes within your professional world. You are being received especially favorably right now, and this is a good month to ask for a promotion, network, or redefine your career goals. On October 14th, there is a New Moon Solar Eclipse happening in your 11th house, and your hopes and dreams are coming true for you. The clarity you gain this month is life-changing.
CAPRICORNCapricornKyra Jay for xoNecole
This month is all about patience, finding your peace, and exploring the world, Capricorn. You are focusing a lot on your belief systems, your intentions, and what goals you have set for yourself and your life. Venus is in your 9th house of adventure for most of the month, and you are really thinking about the big picture right now. You are doing more things differently this time of the year, thinking outside of the box and allowing your intentions to come to fruition.
On October 10th, Pluto goes direct in your sign. Pluto retrograde entered your sign in June, and you finally get to settle into the transformations that have been occurring since then. You’ve had a lot of moments of self-clarity and change, but now you are ready to live in this space and experience fewer changes to your environment. On October 28th, there is a Full Moon Eclipse happening, and this Lunar Eclipse is a time of love coming full circle for you. Relationships are developing at the end of October, and you are letting go of the past in love.
AQUARIUSAquariusKyra Jay for xoNecole
October is all about allowing life to unfold effortlessly, Aquarius. The path of least resistance is the most rewarding one, and this month, you are tapping into your inner faith. You have truly been trusting the process, and with the Sun in your 9th house for most of the month, the divine guidance is there for you right now. This month is about trusting that things are coming together for you and enjoying your life how you can right now.
On October 14th, there is a New Moon Solar Eclipse happening, and this eclipse is helping you build new foundations in your life. You have goals you want to set, places you want to see, and people you want to meet, and this eclipse is highlighting all of that for you. The second eclipse of the month is happening on the 28th, and this Lunar Eclipse is about letting things settle in, finding your ground, and nourishing your inner world. You are going within a lot this month, and through the new insight you have found, you are ready to make some concrete decisions that have been needed.
PISCESPiscesKyra Jay for xoNecole
October is a time of compassion, nurture, and love, Pisces. You are putting the love into your life and feeling this energy come back to you as well. Venus is in Virgo, your opposite sign, for most of the month, and this is good energy when it comes to your relationships and your love life. Your focus is on the people in your life and where you want things to grow in love, and you are putting in the effort to make your dreams come true for you here.
With the Sun also in your 8th house of commitments for most of the month, another love area of your chart, you can expect this to be a more emotional month for you. You are getting vulnerable, expressing where you stand, and creating a new slate for yourself in love. On October 28th, there is a Full Moon Eclipse happening in your 3rd house of communication, and the messages and insights you have been looking for are coming in.
The end of the month is a busier time for you, and you will be suddenly seeing everything you want to do and plan right now.
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Featured image by Kyra Jay for xoNecole