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Dominate Your Decade With These Simple Mindset Shifts

Get past the empty resolutions and commit to your glow up with these tips.

Inspiration

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.

Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here and check out the related reads below:

10 Habits You Should Break Before The New Year Arrives

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

5 Ways To Reset Yourself For The New Year

Try This New Year's Resolution Alternative

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You may not know her by Elisabeth Ovesen – writer and host of the love, sex and relationships advice podcast Asking for a Friend. But you definitely know her other alter ego, Karrine Steffans, the New York Times best-selling author who lit up the literary and entertainment world when she released what she called a “tell some” memoir, Confessions of a Video Vixen.

Her 2005 barn-burning book gave an inside look at the seemingly glamorous world of being a video vixen in the ‘90s and early 2000s, and exposed the industry’s culture of abuse, intimidation, and misogyny years before the Me Too Movement hit the mainstream. Her follow-up books, The Vixen Diaries (2007) and The Vixen Manual: How To Find, Seduce And Keep The Man You Want (2009) all topped the New York Times best-seller list. After a long social media break, she's back. xoNecole caught up with Ovesen about the impact of her groundbreaking book, what life is like for her now, and why she was never “before her time”– everyone else was just late to the revolution.

xoNecole: Tell me about your new podcast Asking for a Friend with Elisabeth Ovesen and how that came about.

Elisabeth Ovesen: I have a friend who is over [at Blavity] and he just asked me if I wanted to do something with him. And that's just kinda how it happened. It wasn't like some big master plan. Somebody over there was like, “Hey, we need content. We want to do this podcast. Can you do it?” And I was like, “Sure.” And that's that. That was around the holidays and so we started working on it.

xoNecole: Your life and work seem incredibly different from when you first broke out on the scene. Can you talk a bit about the change in your career and how your life is now?

EO: Not that different. I mean my life is very different, of course, but my work isn't really that different. My life is different, of course, because I'm 43. My career started when I was in my 20s, so we're looking at almost 20 years since the beginning of my career. So, naturally life has changed a lot since then.

I don’t think my career has changed a whole lot – not as far as my writing is concerned, and my stream of consciousness with my writing, and my concerns and the subject matter hasn’t changed much. I've always written about interpersonal relationships, sexual shame, male ego fragility, respectability politics – things like that. I always put myself in the center of that to make those points, which I think were greatly missed when I first started writing. I think that society has changed quite a bit. People are more aware. People tell me a lot that I have always been “before my time.” I was writing about things before other people were talking about that; I was concerned about things before my generation seemed to be concerned about things. I wasn't “before my time.” I think it just seems that way to people who are late to the revolution, you know what I mean?

I retired from publishing in 2015, which was always the plan to do 10 years and retire. I was retired from my pen name and just from the business in general in 2015, I could focus on my business, my education and other things, my family. I came back to writing in 2020 over at Medium. The same friend that got me into the podcast, actually as the vice president of content over at Medium and was like, “Hey, we need some content.” I guess I’m his go-to content creator.

xoNecole: Can you expound on why you went back to your birth name versus your stage name?

EO: No, it was nothing to expound upon. I mean, writers have pen names. That’s like asking Diddy, why did he go by Sean? I didn't go back. I've always used that. Nobody was paying attention. I've never not been myself. Karrine Steffans wrote a certain kind of book for a certain kind of audience. She was invented for the urban audience, particularly. She was never meant to live more than 10 years. I have other pen names as well. I write under several names. So, the other ones are just nobody's business right now. Different pen names write different things. And Elisabeth isn’t my real name either. So you'll never know who I really am and you’ll never know what my real name is, because part of being a writer is, for me at least, keeping some sort of anonymity. Anything I do in entertainment is going to amass quite a bit because who I am as a person in my private life isn't the same a lot of times as who I am publicly.

xoNecole: I want to go back to when you published Confessions of a Video Vixen. We are now in this time where people are reevaluating how the media mistreated women in the spotlight in the 2000s, namely women like Britney Spears. So I’d be interested to hear how you feel about that period of your life and how you were treated by the media?

EO: What I said earlier. I think that much of society has evolved quite a bit. When you look back at that time, it was actually shocking how old-fashioned the thinking still was. How women were still treated and how they're still treated now. I mean, it hasn't changed completely. I think that especially for the audience, I think it was shocking for them to see a woman – a woman of color – not be sexually ashamed.

I hate being like other people. I don't want to do what anyone else is doing. I can't conform. I will not conform. I think in 2005 when Confessions was published, that attitude, especially about sex, was very upsetting. Number one, it was upsetting to the men, especially within urban and hip-hop culture, which is built on misogyny and thrives off of it to this day. And the women who protect these men, I think, you know, addressing a demographic that is rooted in trauma that is rooted in sexual shame, trauma, slavery of all kinds, including slavery of the mind – I think it triggered a lot of people to see a Black woman be free in this way.

I think it said a lot about the people who were upset by it. And then there were some in “crossover media,” a lot of white folks were upset too, not gonna lie. But to see it from Black women – Tyra Banks was really upset [when she interviewed me about Confessions in 2005]. Oprah wasn't mad [when she interviewed me]. As long as Oprah wasn’t mad, I was good. I didn't care what anybody else had to say. Oprah was amazing. So, watching Black women defend men, and Black women who had a platform, defend the sexual blackmailing of men: “If you don't do this with me, you won't get this job”; “If you don't do this in my trailer, you're going to have to leave the set”– these are things that I dealt with.

I just happened to be the kind of woman who, because I was a single mother raising my child all by myself and never got any help at all – which I still don't. Like, I'm 24 in college – not a cheap college either – one of the best colleges in the country, and I'm still taking care of him all by myself as a 21-year-old, 20-year-old, young, single mother with no family and no support – I wasn’t about to say no to something that could help me feed my son for a month or two or three.

xoNecole: We are in this post-Me Too climate where women in Hollywood have come forward to talk about the powerful men who have abused them. In the music industry in particular, it seems nearly impossible for any substantive change or movement to take place within music. It's only now after three decades of allegations that R. Kelly has finally been convicted and other men like Russell Simmons continue to roam free despite the multiple allegations against him. Why do you think it's hard for the music industry to face its reckoning?

EO: That's not the music industry, that's urban music. That’s just Black folks who make music and nobody cares about that. That's the thing; nobody cares...Nobody cares. It's not the music industry. It's just an "urban" thing. And when I say "urban," I say that in quotations. Literally, it’s a Black thing, where nobody gives a shit what Black people do to Black people. And Russell didn't go on unchecked, he just had enough money to keep it quiet. But you know, anytime you're dealing with Black women being disrespected, especially by Black men, nobody gives a shit.

And Black people don't police themselves so it doesn't matter. Why should anybody care? And Black women don't care. They'll buy an R. Kelly album right now. They’ll stream that shit right now. They don’t care. So, nobody cares. Nobody cares. And if you're not going to police yourself, then nobody's ever going to care.

xoNecole: Do you have any regrets about anything you wrote or perhaps something you may have omitted?

EO: Absolutely not. No. There's nothing that I wish I would've gone back and said to myself, no. I don’t think at 20-something years old, I'm supposed to understand every little thing. I don't think the 20-something-year-old woman is supposed to understand the world and know exactly what she's doing. I think that one of my biggest regrets, which isn't my regret, but a regret, is that I didn't have better parents. Because a 20-something only knows what she knows based on what she’s seen and what she’s been taught and what she’s told. I had shitty parents and a horrible family. Just terrible. These people had no business having children. None of them. And a lot of our families are like that. And we may pass down those familial curses.

*This interview has been edited and condensed

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Feature image courtesy of Elisabeth Ovesen

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