From Resolutions to a Lifestyle Change

blossomingbutterfly

I had the awesome opportunity to be on Vanessa Bell Calloway’s show, “That’s So Very Vanessa,” ( http://www.blogtalkradio.com/vanessabellcalloway/2013/12/29/a-new-year-a-new-you) where we discussed how to stick to New Year Resolutions. What follows is a comprehensive write-up outlining how you can go from making resolutions to implementing a lasting lifestyle change!

 

Around this time every year, we are inundated with those who resolve to make some life-altering changes with the incoming of the New Year and without fail; the resolutions become obsolete by the end of February. Any change worth making must be accompanied by a shift in one’s lifestyle, becoming a natural occurrence of your everyday routine. The following outlines the steps to take if you are serious about making positive changes in your life.

Before embarking on what items on which you need to improve, you must first ask yourself why you want to make the change and the answers to the questions must be substantial and not just surface, shallow reasons.  Asking yourself why allows you to set the intention that serves as the foundation on which your lifestyle change will be grounded.

  1. Write down your “why” and decide that nothing and no one will stop you from accomplishing this goal.

2.  Write down your big, overall long-term goals. These are the types of things that      will take you a significant amount of time to complete.

3.  Write down the small, short-term goals that will guide you in executing your            long-term goals (each goal you set must have a bigger purpose).

4.  Write out your daily plan/schedule. Outline what you will do each day that will      aide you in fulfilling your life’s goals. Make sure the items on this list are            reasonable and realistic.

~There is power in writing, as it allows you to become personally invested in the process, in addition to serving as an accountability tool.  It also serves as a sense of pride as you complete each item on your list. Remain flexible and know that you can always make changes to your lists as needed. Make sure your goals and plan are placed in a prominent place in your home and/or work so that you can see them each day.~

5.   Have a contingency plan. Expect obstacles and have a plan in place to       overcome them. Having a plan will stop you from giving up whenever a setback occurs. Success is the result of conquering your obstacles.

6.   Confront your demons. Many times we give up on goals because we don’t want to face the thoughts that have held us back. Our thoughts have been programmed within us and are manifested through our actions by way of poor decision making. Therefore, our actions have created our unfavorable circumstances. When you’ve faced your short comings, it’s important to figure why and from where you developed this series of beliefs. Typically they come from our childhood, family, friends, or have developed from a traumatic experience or a series of repeated disappointments in life. Confronting, acknowledging and embracing your demons is the first step in conquering them. Be honest with yourself during this process.

7.   Replace your demons. Put positive thoughts where the negative ones exist. Forgive yourself and others of everything bad that has happened to you. Forgiveness frees you and releases you from the bondage that has held you back. Instead of running away from the things and people that have hurt you, run toward the things you want to leave as your legacy.

8.  Surround yourself with people who have a similar mind set and want the same things out of life as you. Those who are fully committed to themselves and their success and have a healthy dose of discipline will be a great support system for you.

9.   Invest in professional help. It’s healthy to have unbiased, trained help-someone who has no preconceived notions of you and is there solely to help you achieve all you desire out of life. Companies invest in their employees to improve so they can better fulfill their roles, with a goal of increasing the business’ bottom line. Why not take the time to invest in your personal brand, making improvements that will help your personal bottom line?

10.   Put a reward system in place. Affirming yourself daily will empower you to continue to work towards your goals in life. As you accomplish each task, reward yourself with something you enjoy doing.

 

Giving in to the automatic habit of making New Year’s resolution without fully acknowledging that real, significant change is a process that occurs over time will set you up for failure. If you are serious about improving, commit to making a lifestyle change, so that from month to month and year to year you are merely amending your goals lists.   Remember to always be kind to yourself, as each day is an opportunity to get it right. Don’t give up on yourself because you deserve the very best!

 

Sincerely,

Shanika

 

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Reflections of Honor

Lately I have been reflecting, looking at from where I’ve come, where I am now, and where I want to be in the future. Not surprisingly, I recently celebrated another birthday, an opportune time for reflection, but this year was a little bit different because a short time before my birthday I received some disturbing news. This news should not have been disturbing, as it’s something I suspected, but because I allowed myself to deflect from the situation, I consequently never dealt with the issues head on.

So like I normally do, I searched myself first to discover why this information upset me and I admitted to myself that I was upset because the other parties in this situation did not handle it the way I would have. Sounds selfish, however the way I would have handled it (and had been handling it until confronted) was in a way that honored each person involved, meaning I didn’t make any disparaging remarks and whenever someone attempted to make a negative remark, I would rephrase it and make the circumstances appear more positive than they were. This is typically how I deal. Very rarely do I play the role of victim in an attempt to make others look bad. I also see the glass as half full and if I am involved in something that includes people I care about, even when they have done something wrong; I do my best to put a positive spin because I know that everything is cyclical and if I was ever confronted with a similar situation or by one of the parties; I don’t want them to have the ability to say I was involved in feeding any negativity about them.

 

I feel like I’m rambling and I hope this make sense.

 

The bottom line is that when relationships go south and dissipate and it involves people I truly care about, even if we parted ways on a bad note; I refuse to say anything negative or entertain any negative comments made about these people, especially if they are not around to defend themselves or give their points of view. To me, that honors the time we were on good terms with one another. Handling situations as such feeds the integrity of the good times that were had. It also leaves the door open to reconnect and repair should paths cross again, given the cyclical nature of life.

 

So it hurt me when I found out that not only were negative remarks about me entertained by those I once held a close relationship with, but the remarks given were not even true. Lord knows I have not always handled situations the best or responded in a way that honored the relationship, so for me to grow to this point is a gigantic step forward in my becoming a better version of Shanika. However, my opinion of these people was so high that it threw me for a loop that they would outright lie on me. Sounds naive, I know.

 

Fast forward several days and I am blessed to see another birthday, which resulted in an outpouring of love. Through several birthday messages I received, I was able to see how far I have come and I was able to again reflect on what it means to be a friend and I became even more thankful for my relationships that have stood the test of time, distance, and disagreements. These relationships were able to withstand because we never hit below the belt, even during the worst arguments~arguments that often led to lapses in time when we would communicate with one another. Thankfully we were able to see that any hurtful remarks made or actions taken were a reflection of what the offender was going through or where he/she was at that point in their journey. It was never about the person/people that received the lashing. No one is perfect, however I am eternally grateful for those people who have always accepted me for me, forgiven me for my infractions, and valued our relationship enough not to allow it to be destroyed by negativity, lies and/or rumors.

 

In moving forward, I hope to continue to get better with how I treat those I call friend. I pray for forgiveness from and healing for anyone I’ve hurt. And I pray for continued growth of the relationships I have with friends who have proven to be true. I am definitely honored to have you as such.

 

God bless.

 

How Do I Know If You’re A True Friend?


There are probably a number of answers to this question, but in my opinion, the bottom line is one has to truly love and accept who they are, flaws and all, before they are able to be a true friend. You can’t love someone else if you don’t love yourself. And you can’t seek in a friend something that is not in you.

Whether we are speaking of romantic relationships and platonic friendships the same is always true. (DISCLAIMER: I use the term relationship as it relates to the relational interactions between people.) You can’t find someone else to complete what is lacking in you. That’s how we end up in dysfunctional, unfulfilling relationships which eventually lead to discord and bitterness.
You have to link yourself to persons who have the same beliefs as you. Similar foundational beliefs systems, when nurtured, can lead to long term satisfying relationships. Nevertheless, we are able to relate to persons whose belief systems differ as long as all parties are content in who they are and what they believe and are respectful of the fact that you believe something different.

This is where the term associate comes into play. An associate is instrumental in your development of self because you can understand and learn about yourself within their context, elevating you to a different level. With an associate, something will always be missing from the relationship, because they are usually only in our lives for a season, to teach us something. And they may come in and out of your life at very random moments in time.
Whether “true” is the word I would use to define who or how I am with the people in my life is tricky. I am what I want to receive from them. If I am going through a rough patch, I may not be the best friend in the world; however the love and appreciation I have for them is unwavering. Rough patches are tough, but real friends are able to bounce back from them. If you are finding yourself having the same disagreements with the same people over and over again, then it is time to evaluate their purpose in your life. Sometimes, because of similar interests (among other reasons), we hang on to people who were only meant to be in our lives for a season.
Do you want to know how you know I am your true friend? Because I will be willing to walk out of your life if I believed that would mean a lifetime of happiness for you. Friendship is not selfish.

That’s my definition of friendship:  tell me yours…

 

Living, Learning, Loving to Write and Writing to Live, Learn, & Love

Writing is therapy, this space is the couch, and we all rotate roles oscillating between therapist and client. Through openly expounding our thoughts, feelings, fears, wants, and needs are we able to connect through our similarities, instead of using differences divisively. Ultimately we grow into who we were created to be. So, put up your feet and share your insight. I’m all ears…..and eyes!