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I'm Setting My Intentions To Lead A More Purposed & Fulfilled Year

2020 was about repair. 2021 is for intentional joy.

Inspiration

For many of us, 2020 was the most intense year we've ever lived. Talk about the roller coaster of events: from the pandemic, losing loved ones, jobs, police brutality making headline news and continuous protesting, to an intense ass election year, and finally having a Black and South Asian woman Vice President! Just thinking it through now, 2020 has been a wild year to navigate everyone's emotions and mental headspace. So many people lost their professions that they've been practicing for years and had to learn to pursue other professions just to get by. If there is one thing 2020 has taught us is that we need to be flexible with how life goes; everything doesn't always happen on our clock, and that's OK – God has something better for us to pursue in the meantime.

Adaptability is a trait that everyone has had to pick up one way or another due to life's circumstances. This year has brought so many people together and finally open to reconciliation. If there is one thing 2020 has shown me is to be patient and be intentional. In lieu of this, I've decided to opt for intention-setting in 2021 versus goal-setting. While every goal might not be checked off, the intentionality behind the way I hope to navigate the year ahead will always remain, which in a lot of ways feels more impactful. Keep reading to learn more about the intentions I'm setting for mental health, career, and love in 2021.

Mental Health intentions for 2021

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I don't know about y'all, but my mental health was the most affected in 2020. It's such an odd feeling to have no real control of setting up your future because things keep changing, events keep canceling, and it's such a weird recession that some industries are thriving, and others are failing excessively. Our top tier intention this year is stabilizing our mental; however, that may look like.

If meditating or breathing techniques for 15 minutes a day relieves stress for you, make time for it, don't put it on the back burner. Journaling is a great way to organize and analyze your emotions, get that morning or evening workout in at home; I'm sure we've all set up a little home gym by now. If you haven't sought therapy prior, maybe now is a great time to start.

Mental health professions have recorded this year being a huge increase in anxiety and depression, and many insurances have lowered co-pays or made it free so more people can access therapy.

Career intentions for 2021

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I'm sure 2020 has equipped everyone with new skill sets and being more open-minded on their career intentions. This year has taught us not to put all of our eggs in one basket because we don't know how things will pan out, so you could be working one job, but how are you growing your wealth in other areas? Recessions are one of the best seasons to start boosting your financial literacy, flipping and buying homes, investing in stocks, bonds, paying off debt, etc. I know we would all love to have more social events in our lives right now, but this is a season of diligence, act smarter with less versus having more.

It's a great time for creatives of all areas to start that business they have been dreaming of; small businesses are thriving, especially in the Black market when society finally realized we don't have to just invest in one Black brand; we can invest in several other ones – after all, we aren't a monolith, we all have something different to offer. If you want that promotion, start seeking those online classes or resources to build your skill sets to perform at a higher level at your job.

Just cause life is out of whack right now, don't lose focus, set your intentions, and leave room for grace but stay disciplined with achieving your goals.

Love intentions for 2021

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Everyone, this is a season of reconciliation in every loving relationship, whether it's platonic or romantic. This is a time frame for all of us where we have to learn to forgive our loved ones and talk through things no matter how painful it is. If there is one thing COVID has taught us, no one knows their time, and life is very precious – give people their flowers while they're alive. We have to learn to meet each other where we are versus where we want people to be.

Love is everything but selfish; it's selfless. The more we set our intentions on healing, the more we can enjoy each other's company and the less stress we have from avoiding one another. Put your pride aside to work things out with your significant other, family member, or friends you haven't spoken to in months; it's not worth the fight.

None of us knows what 2021 has to offer us, but we have to stay present and focus on being grateful for what we have now because it could be so much worse. We're so used to having so much; it makes us unfortunate to be fulfilled with the little we do have. We still can't fill our entire year with plans, but we could take it day by day and appreciate what we can do to bring us happiness in the meantime. Life isn't supposed to be predictable, so we have to learn to keep adjusting to make the best of this season based on the doors opened to us now.

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Featured image by RF._.studio on Pexels

Five Things To Know Before Becoming A Dog Mom

This post is in partnership with Blue Buffalo.

So you’re thinking about becoming a dog mom? We love that for you! Having a happy, furry friend to greet you at the door each day, cuddle up on the couch with, and keep you in touch with the great outdoors is one of life’s greatest joys. And that’s before we get into all the cute puppy outfits there are to buy! But there are some key and non-negotiable things to know and consider before saying yes to bringing home a fur baby.

If having a pet is new to you, then naturally you might have tons of questions not only about how this new responsibility will transform your lifestyle, but also about how best to nurture your four-legged friend. Few things compare to the joy and companionship that a dog’s loyalty and love bring, but learning how to nurture and train them is a learning curve that requires equal parts preparation and patience. Once you find your rhythm, you and your furry new boo will form a bond that will add the brightest spark to your life.

If you ask any member of the canine crew you know, they’ll tell you they don't play about their babies! They’ll also probably give you a laundry list of things they wish they knew before bringing their new dog home for the first time. If you’re thinking about opening your doors to a new pup, there are a few things to prepare and assess. With the help of Blue Buffalo, a natural pet food brand trusted by millions of pet parents, we’ve rounded up five key things to know before joining the dog mom club.

1. Staying Active Is Key: Let’s keep it real — we all have days where we want nothing more than a 24-hour Netflix binge fest from the comfort of our couch. That’s especially true on a day where the weather is trash. We feel you on that. However, dog moms should make it a point to keep their pups active each day. Influencer Dynasti Hunt considers her Goldendoodle Aiden part of the family, and she loves to find creative ways to keep him moving rain or shine. “Aiden and I have realized the importance of staying active at home, even when the weather is bad outside,” says Dynasti, who loves spontaneous yoga and dance sessions with her adorable doggie.

2. Keep An Eye On Their Diets: Just like humans, our pals have to maintain a healthy, balanced diet in order to live long and quality lives. You might find it easy to tell what’s healthy to eat for yourself, but it can be a bit trickier to know the difference when it comes to pet food. Just because you see a product label with the words vegetarian, grain-free, or certified organic doesn’t automatically mean it’s the healthiest for your buddy at this particular stage in their life. Finding a trusted pet food brand like Blue Buffalo is key. They offer recipes for specific breed sizes, life stages, needs and preferences — this definitely comes in handy for picky eaters or dietary restrictions. For example, Aiden Da Doodle is allergic to chicken-based products, and thankfully BLUE allows Dynasti to choose from a variety of products that are formulated without chicken.

3: Use Treats Creatively: Are doggie treats the golden ticket to getting your pooch to act right? Yes, but they’re also good for so much more. Treats are great tools for positive reinforcement, whether you’re trying to potty train a young puppy or get them to learn tricks. Influencer Sauve Xavier, an Instagram comedian, who has gained over a million Instagram followers for his hilarious videos with his Dobermans Knox and Bear, says he plans clever scavenger hunts around his house as an incentive to keep his dogs active and challenged. Using BLUE Treats made with healthy ingredients, he’s able to dish out rewards without feeling guilty. Take it from the guy who can actually get his dog to help with chores.

4. Know That Planning Ahead Is Everything: If you are a first-time dog mom or thinking about becoming one, keeping your buddy on a schedule is going to be key. For example, potty-training puppies need to be walked every few hours so that you can keep the habit of going outside in and the possibility of them peeing on your precious rugs out. Most pets also need to be fed twice a day (morning and night.) What does this spell? Sacrifice. You’ll need to be present and arrive home in time to keep your dog’s routine going. So know that you won’t be able to indulge in spontaneous plans the way you might have before. This is most certainly a lifestyle change if you’re used to coming and going as you please, but the reward of raising a well-behaved pup is well worth it. You might also want to think about how you can recruit your partner, roommate, friends, or family to share in the responsibilities for those days when life happens and you’re ever in need of a little dog sitting help. You can also search the web for hired help if you’re in a pinch. Remember — it takes a village to raise a child (even a barking one)! Pro tip: Download the Buddies by Blue Buffalo app to get advice and tricks and plan for your pet parenthood adventures ahead.

5. Research Dog-Friendly Activities in Your Area: As you move about through life, you’ll find yourself looking for more and more dog-friendly places to go and things to do beyond just the local dog parks. Round up a list of bars, breweries, brunch spots, and shopping centers that welcome pups into their establishments. This will allow you to make the most of your days while being able to bring your pup along for the ride. It’ll also create opportunities for you to meet up with other dog moms and dads and arrange future play dates (or real dates with a fellow dog parent? Who knows)!

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