Dominate Your Decade With These Simple Mindset Shifts
As soon as the ball dropped at midnight, my Twitter timeline was filled with "THIS IS MY YEAR" declarations. And could I blame them? A new year always signifies a fresh start and an exciting revamp of our biggest ambitions and goals. But if you're anything like me, it can be hard to stick to the things we set out to accomplish after the clock strikes 12.
OK, let me be real. I hardly ever complete the long list of big dreams I imagine up.
I hate to admit it, but I'm the queen of abandoning those resolutions after declaring them to the world in January. New gym membership? Stopped going. Starting that business idea? Got distracted. Every time I vowed to make a huge life change, I often self-sabotaged. If everyone would be honest, we would agree that New Year goals can put on a lot of unnecessary pressure. It's stressful and so overwhelming. This year, I knew that I wanted things to be different. I wanted to see results, and push past the things that had been holding me back for the longest.
This is the year to stop dabbling in and out of consistency and finally lay a foundation for your success in the new decade. I believe that the more we work on becoming the women we dream to be through our small, everyday actions, the closer our goals and dreams will appear.
You can write goals down all day, but if you don't follow through with actions then they will always just be dreams. If you struggle to commit to yourself, maybe this is also the year for you to trade a lengthy notebook of goals for a practical vision of who you want to become.
If you are ready to level up your mindset in the new decade, here are seven simple changes to help you truly dominate your decade and transform your life:
Choose A Word For The Year
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Through life's ups and downs, it can be very easy to be distracted or discouraged from going after your dreams and leveling up. I decided that in order to keep me excited about what the new year would bring, I would choose one word that would declare how I envisioned it to unfold.
In order for this to truly work, you must get still and ask yourself what word do you want to guide how you envision this year? Reflecting on your past struggles or looking for a common theme between your new goals will help guide this. Personally, I usually pair my word with a Bible verse, song, or inspirational quote that I can post around to keep me motivated. This helps me stay grounded when I start to get distracted. Words of the year help us to speak life into who we want to become.
Face Your Fears
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A huge reason that many of us feel stuck is solely out of fear. For some, it could be fear of the unknown; for others, it could be the fear of success and losing people we love. Regardless, fear holds a lot of people back from going all in on their yearly goals.
If this is something you struggle with, try doing actionable activities that can help you work that fear muscle. For example, many people try skydiving to push past the thought of fear. For others, it could be giving a speech, taking a dance class, or even going on a date. But by doing an actionable activity that helps you to push past fear, it will help you to keep moving through your goals when you get overwhelmed, distracted, or afraid to keep going.
Honor Your Personal Space
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We've all been there, staring at piles of clothes that hold bad college memories, books that we are going to get to "someday", papers from the last decade, or old comforter sets that are cheap and worn. Our home space should be one of the most relaxing places we have in our lives but oftentimes it creates the opposite emotions. In fact, studies have revealed that when women specifically stay in a messy space, stress hormones increase, and they often feel unsettled.
The truth is, it is hard for us to get comfortable with our inner selves when our outside world is upside down with stuff or we come home to rooms that don't inspire us. We fall into mundane tasks that leave us complacent and distracted but not fulfilled. Quarterly, try decluttering your closet, looking to YouTube for design makeover ideas, or even light a candle to shift the mood.
Commit To Being In The Moment
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I began therapy last year and one thing that I learned is that I am obsessed with predictability. I will step out and try most things if I know that I will succeed at them. This mentality has created a pattern of fear-based decisions, which often leads to quitting a goal or not trying it at all. This year, I decided to challenge myself to go with the flow, only focusing on the tasks of the day.
Although extremely difficult, when you decide to live in the moment, it forces you to be present and trust that each step you take will reveal your next. Living more in the moment will allow you to connect deeper with others, enjoy experiences more intensely, keep you grateful, and invite more special moments into your life.
Revamp Your Appearance And Style
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It is hard to show up as your best self when you don't feel like your best self. Regularly, we only reserve getting dolled up for special occasions or when we know we will be seen. I realized that if I wanted to live my best and attract success into my life, I must show up as the woman that I one day want to be. Challenge yourself to put more effort into taking care of yourself and how you present yourself to others.
I've done this personally, by creating a Pinterest board with all my celeb fashion inspirations. This could also be through finding a tailor to fit your clothing, adding bolder colors into your wardrobe, scanning a thrift store for cute finds, or even trying a new hairstyle. When you show up confident like a boss, people will have no choice but to be attracted to your energy. But make sure you are also working on the inner confidence too.
Quiet The Noise With A Solocation
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Instead of listing out a bunch of popular goals that you've seen on Instagram, make it your mission to take a relaxing solocation. Solo trips are amazing to recharge and get still to listen to what your soul truly wants to say. It is often in those moments that I get a creative idea or revelation about something I have been struggling with that I didn't see before. With a crazy world of constant scrolling through social media, our lives are filled with noise that is competing for our attention. This can distract us of what we truly want to go after.
Recently, I took a quick solocation to the mountains using Getaway House, which are tiny cabins in the woods. It was totally out of my comfort zone, but I was brought to tears by all the things my soul spoke to me in the stillness of the night. Whether across the country or a simple hotel room in your own city, take some time to truly listen to who you want to become in 2020 and beyond.
Seek A Therapist
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Although therapy has become more normalized in our community, there are still so many women of color that believe something must be extremely wrong to drive them to counseling. Having a therapist has not only allowed me to go deeper in my mental blocks but has provided me with practical steps to get past the things that stop me from moving forward.
When finding a therapist, I really wanted to make sure they were female, black and Christian. Helpful sites like Psychology Today and Therapy for Black Girls helped me to narrow down my options and choose a therapist that I love. Outside counsel is amazing for helping you decide what to focus on and deal with to move forward.
In the end, a new year and a new decade is what you make it. A goal is simply a wish without the decision to see it through. Whether you choose a goal from this list or find some amazing ones of your own, decide to commit to growing deeper, loving yourself harder, and pushing yourself further past your biggest roadblocks. It's time to dominate your decade.
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Alaina is a Las Vegas freelance writer and founder of the website GlowSZN, a post-grad survival blog for the lit and educated. Embracing the raggedy moments of adulthood, she is always looking to push the narrative of growth in God, becoming financially free and owning your truth in your 20's. You can follow her on Instagram or Twitter at @hotlaina_.
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.
Imma tell y’all what — it seems like not one week goes by when I don’t see some sort of so-called term that has me like, “What in the world?” For instance, when I first stumbled upon “self-partnering,” honestly, I laughed. Then shared it with some other single people as well as married folks I know. And I kid you not, every individual was like, “What the heck does that mean?” When I told them that it was yet, one more way to seemingly define single living, basically everyone’s follow-up was, “Oh, brother.”
Why can’t (more) singles just be single and be okay with that? Good Lord. Why does there need to be some sort of relational play-on-words to make it sound like we’re with someone — even if we’re not?
Now masterdating? Even though it’s not even close to being a “real” word, it’s something that also brought a laugh outta me — although it was then followed by a genuine smile. The laugh because I almost immediately caught the play-on-words. The smile was due to the intention behind it all.
If you’re not familiar with what masterdating is and you’re curious about why you should even care, take a few moments to at least skim through what it’s about and why I think participating, as a single person, is a pretty cool (and effective) concept.
Masturdate: a date w oneself
What’s Masterdating All About?
Masterdating. Okay, so let the word marinate for just a moment. What does it sound like? Yeah…exactly. And since a huge part of masturbation centers around self-pleasure, it’s cool to explore how “self-dating” could produce similar (as far as pleasure is concerned in a broader sense) results. Because masterdating is all about spending quality time with yourself, pampering yourself, treating yourself— and yes, taking yourself out on dates.
Any of you who may think that masterdating is a consolation prize — and a pitiful one at that — for not being able to go out with another human being or get that dream $200 first date that social media was all in a tizzy about last year (bookmark that) — personally, I think that you’re the demographic who needs to try out masterdating first and the most. Why? Off top, I’ll share my three good reasons.
3 Reasons To Strongly Consider Masterdating
1. It’s an intimate way to get to know yourself better. I’ve been working with couples for a pretty long time at this point and if there’s a pattern that I see arise, OFTEN, it’s that two people are oftentimes so busy trying to “find their person” that they didn’t even know who they were. As a direct result, they found themselves in a relationship with someone who only complemented the “kiddie pool version” of who they were.
That’s why it can be so beneficial to spend time getting to know yourself on the “deep end” of things: what makes you tick, what your passions are, what you want most out of life, what are your interests beyond obvious things — and masterdating can help you to discover all of this. Whether it’s traveling alone or taking out a weekend to drink some wine and journal, the more you get to know yourself, the clearer you’ll be about who complements you on a romantic and friendship level.
2. It will definitely help to boost your confidence levels. I guess since I’m an ambivert, I don’t really get why people freak out at the mere thought of going to a restaurant or movie alone. Personally, I think it requires a helluva lot more energy and gumption to wait around and plan stuff with other people (#Elmoshrug). However, whether you’re an introvert, extrovert, or ambivert, there’s no way around the fact that the more comfortable you get with doing things alone, the more your confidence levels will increase — no, soar — because of it.
One article that I read on the topic said that doing things alone can make you more creative, improve your mental health, and help you to be totally okay with being alone (so that you’re not “needy” for other people’s attention). A psychotherapist from a New York Times article on the benefits of spending time alone said, “Getting better at identifying moments when we need solitude to recharge and reflect can help us better handle negative emotions and experiences, like stress and burnout.” And when you’re able to stare negativity in its face without flinching, how could that not make you bolder, more self-secure, and hopeful about your life?
3. It will teach you to value your time more effectively. In every facet of your world, you’re gonna operate from a healthier place if you’re operating from a “full cup” rather than an empty one. When it comes to this topic, think about it — if you’re constantly waiting on someone to call you to go out or wishing for a dream date with some guy, all you’re doing is wasting precious time that you could be spending taking a cooking class or hell, hiring a chef to make you dinner at your own home.
Indeed, waiting has two sides to it: when it’s in the form of patience, it is indeed a virtue, yet when it’s wrapped up in the notion that you’re not really living life unless you have an audience…it is totally working against you. Choose wisely.
10 Solo Date Ideas To Help You To “Master” Masterdating
So, what if you’re someone who has either never considered actually masterdating before or you don’t really know what to do beyond dinner and the movies? Here are a few ideas to consider:
1. Attend a workshop or masterclass that you’re interested in. If there’s something that you’ve always wanted to learn, sign up for a workshop or masterclass. The cool thing about this option is there are probably some in your city, as well as some that you can find online (like here) that are convenient and affordable.
2. Binge-read at a local coffee shop. Aside from their coziness and oftentimes inviting scents, I once read that a lot of us gravitate to coffee shops because we can be around people without having to actually socialize with them. So, if you want to “hang out” while still being able to enjoy a bit of solitude, take a book that you’ve been trying to finish to a local coffee shop, order your favorite latte, and sit in a big-ass comfy chair. Usually, you can sit there for hours, and the staff will be just fine with it (another bonus).
3. Have a spa day in the next town. You can never go wrong with a spa day. And while going with a friend can be fun, sometimes there’s too much talking transpiring to be able to fully chill out and relax. So, go off of the grid, get a change of scenery, and hit up a spa in the next city (or town). There are lots of studies out here supporting that day trips or “daycations” can actually be really good for your long-term health and well-being.
4. See a community play. Some of the best solo dates that I’ve ever been on consisted of taking in some of the local arts in my city. What’s really cool about this particular option is, oftentimes, they are extremely inexpensive, if not totally free of charge (in exchange for making a donation or putting money into a tip jar).
5. Plan a trip. Whenever people say something along the lines of, “If you don’t expect anything, you won’t be disappointed,” I know that they low-key have some (additional) healing to do from past disappointments. There’s simply too much intel out here to support that anticipation (of good stuff) makes us more motivated and optimistic, keeps our dopamine levels up, and makes life more exciting overall.
Since traveling alone is more cost-effective, gives you the freedom to do whatever you want (when you want), and increases the possibility of meeting new people and having new experiences on your journey — why not devote a day this weekend to planning a solo trip? All the way around, it’s good for you.
6. Try your hand at your own “$200 date.” Uh-huh. Roll your eyes if you want to, but it’s real easy to talk left about how a man should be able to just drop $200 like it’s nothing…until you actually try to do it. So yes, while taking yourself out on this type of date could serve as a bit of a reality check, it can also “scratch the itch” of waiting on some dude to do it for you. It’s also way less emotionally draining because, at least when you’re taking your own self out, it’s guaranteed that you’ll enjoy the company…right?
7. DIY some pampering. When you get a chance, check out “5 Reasons You Should Unapologetically Pamper Yourself,” “Want To Love On Yourself? Try These 10 Things At Home.,” “I’ve Got Some Ways For You To Start Pampering Your Soul,” and “When's The Last Time You Actually Pampered Your Vagina?” The bottom line here is pampering is all about, not mere self-maintenance; it’s all about treating yourself to levels of EXTREME SELF-INDULGENCE. So, if nothing else tickles your fancy on this list, at least consider doing that, chile.
8. Feed your creativity. Something that I used to be really good at is art. That said, one of my goddaughters is insanely talented, so she has reminded me to tap back into it. Also, a big part of what got me into the writing world is poetry; I actually used to be a house poet at a local spot. Sometimes, my best quality time moments with myself have been revisiting these creative sides of me — and this is definitely easier to do (and enjoy) alone.
9. Try some stargazing. When’s the last time you took a blanket into your backyard, laid down on it, and just stared at the stars for hours on end? While some say that stargazing can teach you to be mindful, others say that being in that form of nature reduces stress, while others believe that looking up at the universe at night can increase your attention span. All solid reasons to give it a shot, if you ask me.
10. DO. ABSOLUTELY. NOTHING. Let me tell you something that nobody will ever be able to make me feel bad about: doing absolutely nothing. I’ve got data to back me up. Good Housekeeping shares that doing nothing can help you decide how you want to respond or react to certain things. I like howThe Guardian says that taking this approach helps you to regain control of what you give your attention to.
TIME magazine says that it can ultimately make you more productive.BBC offers up that it can help you tap into your ingenuity.Henry Ford Health says that it can make you kinder and a better problem-solver. So, if you want to invest in yourself, do nothing sometimes.
Closing Thoughts from the Lovely Javicia Leslie
While some of y'all may know Javicia Leslie from being the former Batwoman, I discovered her back in the day from the indie series Chef Julian (and yes, "Julian" was right to say that "Mo" looks like Tatyana Ali...the real ones know). Sometimes I'll hop on her IG to see what she's got going on and this story popped up within a few hours of me penning this...so, I took it as hella confirmation.
TREAT YO SELF. WAIT FOR NO ONE.
WAIT FOR NO ONE. TREAT YO SELF.
RINSE AND REPEAT.
Sooo…what kind of masterdating plans do you have for this coming weekend? While going out with others has its perks, hanging out with yourself has a ton of ‘em too. Enjoy!
No…for real. ENJOY!
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