Get a fresh start for spring

30 03 2010

In the April issue of Essence, they give 40 ways to get a fresh start for spring. And yes, I know the official date of spring has come and gone, but I wanted to share a few with you because I think they’re helpful [hope you think so, too!]

Refuse to wait another day! Start small but start now. If you haven’t already, record goals for the remainder of the year.

Go on vice patrol. Life coach and clinical psychologist Pamela Thompson offers an exercise that can help you break bad habits and radically alter your perspective. “I often recomend spring-cleaning the heart and mind with a fast,” she says. That means for 21 days, her clients give up one or more of the following: complaints, gossip, sex outside of marriage, screens [including TV, movies and even their computer or Blackberry if they can manage it] and unnecessary spending. By the time you end the fast, she explains, you’ll reset your life. [I plan to try one of these in April; I’ll keep you posted.]

Forgive someone. Before we can push out new roots and shoots in our lives, we have to clear mental debris that can choke off our dreams. Often that means forgiving some people in your life, says motivational speaker Bessie A. Winn-Afeku, who runs an advocacy foundation promoting self-esteem in women and girls. “The last thing you want to do is enter a new phase of your life holding on to old grudges,” she says. Practicing forgiveness is one of the most powerful ways to achieve a clean slate.

Clear clutter. Surrounded by piles of magazines, junk mail, gifts you never use or clothes you never wear? “If you haven’t looked at an item in a year, get rid of it,” advises interior decorator Lisa Turner.

See your dreams in Technicolor. Hang a corkboard in your bedroom or study, and fill it with photos of what you desire. Aiming to get promoted? Add pics of successful sisters like Oprah and Michelle Obama. Fantasizing about a vacation? Post images of your ideal destination. [See how to make one in this post.]

Get your beauty sleep. It combats stress, boosts energy and optimism, wards off high blood pressure and diabetes and even primes your body to shed pounds more easily. So invest in some silky sheets and luxuriate in dreamland for eight hours every night.

Consider your circle. Sometimes we outgrow friendships, but how do you know when it’s time to walk? Psychologist Brenda Wade says let a friend go if she or he is unwilling or unable to treat you with respect or kindness, leaving you feeling hurt or wounded.

Expect miracles. “Even if what is taking place in your life at the moment seems negative, expect God to bring good out,” says Joyce Meyer, a leading practical Bible teacher.

Find your true passion. Stacey Tisdale, coauthor of “The True Cost of Happiness,” suggests adapting an approach from life planner George Kinder. Ask yourself these three questions: 1) If money were not an issue, what would you do with your life?; 2) If your doctor informed you that you’d live without physical distress but would die in 10 years, what changes would you make?; 3) If you just had 24 hours, left on earth, what would be your regrets?

Photo from: Getty Images

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Feel Good Fridays: How to stay motivated to achieve your goals

26 03 2010

I know first hand that it can be difficult to remain motivated when working towards a goal- sometimes I feel discouraged, overwhelmed or just plain tired; I’m sure you sometimes feel the same way.

Last week, I saw an article by Shine staff member, Sarah McColl, with six ways you can stay motivated so you can achieve your goals:

Be specific. On a sheet of paper, write your goal at the top in big letters. If your goal is to exercise more, don’t just write “Exercise more”; be as specific as possible. For instance, write things like making it to the gym three times a week or being able to run a half marathon in a few months. By making your goal as quantifiable as possible, you’ll know exactly when you’ve accomplished it.

Remember why you’re doing this in the first place. McColl says when the going gets tough, the tough remember the initial reasons they wanted to achieve something. So, underneath the goal you’ve written on that sheet of paper, write all the reasons you want to accomplish that particular goal. Using the “exercise more” example, maybe you want to look and feel good in your clothing or you want to tone your body. Make your list as thorough as possible so on those days when you don’t feel like working out, one of your reasons will get you going.

Assemble a personal cheer squad. When we were kids, we always looked up to somebody, whether it was a sports star, an actress or an older cousin. But as some of us get older, we stop looking up to others. However, it’s important to remember that adults need someone to aspire to as well; so, build a team of role models. They can be real individuals in your life, celebrities or other successful individuals in the limelight or fictional characters. When you don’t have much motivation, McColl suggests picturing your supporters gathered around you, cheering you on and pushing you to greater heights than you could ever achieve on your own.

Check out the other three tips: 6 ways to stay motivated so you can achieve your goals.





Dear future Jamie

23 03 2010

Last week, as I was reading blogs, I came across a post, dear future me from Rosetta, creator of {diary of a happy black woman}. In the post, Rosetta writes about how she has five goals she wants to achieve within the next month, so she sent a letter to her future self reflecting on how she wants to feel when the goals are accomplished.

To do this, Rosetta used a site called futureme.org. Basically, you write a letter to your future self (hence the name) describing how you want your life to be in a month or even a few years. The site emails the letter to you at the end of that time period. You can keep the letter private or public and anonymous.

I know firsthand that writing down your goals is one key to achieving them, so I’m going to do one of these letters for myself for six months from now- which would be in September. I think it’s a great idea, and I’m really interested in seeing the resutls.

Oh yeah, if I make my letter public, I’ll come back and post the link. You can do one, too at futureme.org.

Edited to add: So, I can’t find the link to my future letter on the site, so I’ll just post it here:

Dear future me,

I am sooo happy and grateful for all the things that I have accomplished in six months. It’s so crazy how things can happen when you let go of everyhing that’s been holding you back and just trust God.

I’m finally {consistently} making the amount of money I want through my career, which I absolutely love! I am inspiring and empowering women through my blog and column as well, and it’s a great feeling.

I’m also fit, healthy and toned; I work out five days a week, and I’m drinking more water and less soda. My finances are under control; I have a set budget for my life (and the wedding) that I can work with. I also have an amazing, new apartment!

Things are looking up, and my life is fabulous! I knew you could do it! : )





Spring cleaning your life

18 03 2010

As you all probably know, Saturday marks the beginning of Spring! If you’re like me, you can’t wait for some warmer weather (says the girl living inGeorgia). And since it’s a new season, spring is also a good time for cleaning not only your home, but your life, too.

I found this great post by Erica Diamond from Women on The Fence that gives tips to help you spring clean your life. A few of her tips:

Sweep out the old. We all have garbage in our lives we need to get rid of- bad habits, negative personality traits and toxic relationships, just to name a few. If you’ve been carrying around all this crap, it’s time to open the door, and sweep it out of your life!

Wash away procrastination. Do you constantly find yourself behind the 8 ball, trying to catch up and keep up? Plan ahead! No more putting off tomorrow what you can do today. Look your calendar and get organized. As you may very well know, procrastination leads to stress, and who needs added stress in their life? Stop waiting until the last minute for everything.

Dust off that attitude. Instead of complaining about what you don’t have, be grateful for what you do have. We’re all guilty of sometimes letting our attitudes get the best of us, but a positive attitude is a must. If you’re having a bad day, try taking a walk or doing something physical- that often helps you refocus. Most times, things don’t look as bad once you’ve regrouped.

Check out the rest of Diamond’s tips: Spring Cleaning.

Happy cleaning, chicas!

Photo from: nowsourcing.com





Do you have a five-year plan?

17 03 2010
5 year plan

What's your five-year plan?

As you might know, I’m a firm believer in having goals and plans for your future. One of my mottos? “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Now, I know life sometimes have other plans for us, but I still think planning is essential because it gives you something to reach for and lets you know how you’re progressing.

A couple of weeks ago, I was reading the forums on nappturality.com, and I came across a thread called, “What is your five year plan?”, and, of course, it got me thinking. Where do I see myself in five years? The questions the poster asked were:

Where do you see yourself in five years? When you close your eyes, what do you see? What have you achieved career-wise, spirtually and/or personally? How have you evolved as a person? How old are you now? What are you doing now to contribute to your five-year plan?

Let’s see…

How old am I now?

I’m 23, so I’ll be 28 in five years.

When I close my eyes, I see myself:

Happy, Successful, Loved, Loving (to name a few.)

What have I achieved career-wise, spiritually and/or personally? Some things I’ve achieved/how have I evolved:

  • I have a successful career as a copywriter & blogger
  • My DH (dear hubby) and I are financially stable
  • DH and I have a loving marriage (maybe a kid???)
  • I’ve started on my first book
  • I’m healthy, toned and in shape
  • I’m living outside of GA
  • My locs are semi-long (I don’t want them too long : )
  • I’m more spiritual (able to meditate for longer periods of time, I stay in the present, etc.)
  • I’m more patient, flexible, bold and cofident

What am I doing now to contribute to my five-year plan?

  • I work to have the career I want
  • I continuously work on my relationship with Chris
  • I try to motivate myself to workout a few days a week consistently (hey, it’s a struggle)
  • I try to take care of my hair more (that’s a struggle, too)
  • I attempt to meditate in the morning before I get out of bed
  • I try to go with the flow and be present wherever I am

Do you have a five-year plan (formal or informal?) Feel free to share (if you want) or if you’ve written a blog post about it, share the link!

Photo from: budgettourplanner.blogspot.com





Feel Good Fridays: Creating your vision

12 03 2010

My vision board: 2010

A great way to visualize what you want in life is by creating a vision board. What’s a vision board, you  ask? It’s a collage of words and/or photos that symbolize what your vision for your life.

Here are some reasons why you should create a vision board (From “9 reasons why you should create a vision board“).

  1. It enables you to connect to the essence of who you are and what you stand for.
  2. It can be an inspiration for the choices you make and enable you to make decisions from your heart and soul, rather than your head.
  3. You can connect with what you really want rather than what you think you should do or believe is the best thing to do.
  4. It enables you to tap into your creativity to design your life how you want it to be.
  5. It can increase clarity around what you want in your life.
  6. It can be an inspiration to keep going under adversity.
  7. It can help break a mood or lift your spirits.
  8. It enables you to see when you are disconnected from your true self and being driven by external factors or the ego.
  9. It can help you reconnect and refocus to your goals and dreams, as well as who you are at your core.

Check out my post, What’s your vision? ,to see how to make a vision board.





Women & Friendships: Can’t we all get along?

11 03 2010

This week’s question dealt with women and friendships. It’s a topic I find important, and something I’ve been wanting to discuss.

Of course, I think this issue matters (or I wouldn’t have posted about it). But you may be wondering why it matters. It’s important to me because I’m a huge proponent of women supporting women. But like I’ve said a few times, I don’t think all women can- or even should- try to befriend other women necessarily, and obviously, we won’t get along all the time. I do, however, think we could be a little more supportive of one another.

There are several reasons why some women can’t get along, and one is the media. Women being in competition with one another and fighting is pretty much the only woman-to-woman interaction we see on TV nowadays. Just think about reality TV shows: “The Bachelor,” “A Basement Affair,” “America’s Next Top Model,” “For the Love of Ray J,” “Real Housewives of Wherever” and the list goes on and on.

Katrina Bell McDonald, associate professor at John Hopskins University and author of “Embracing Sisterhood: Class, Identity, and Contemporary Black Women,” believes the discord between black women in particular “goes back to the self-fulfilling aspects of seeing images of ourselves being depicted as vipers, as backstabbers, as that bitch.”

McDonald says this affects young black women more because they have a “particularly difficult task in forming and maintaining a positive sense of self.” She says younger women frequently observe these images to see how they should act.

And, of course, there is the issue of men. Phyllis Chesler, professor emerita and author of “Woman’s Inhumanity to Woman,” says that this problem in particular is huge and bigger than any one of us.

“We’ve internalized sexism [the notion that men are of superior value], and it applies in every area,” she says.

So, how can we fix this?

Work on ourselves. If you find that you have issues with other women like being jealous or not liking a woman for no reason, figure out why you feel the way you do. Are you happy with your life? Do you have some insecurities? You have to deal with your issues.

Realize that not every woman is out to get you. I know a lot of us believe that every woman is out to steal our job, man or whatever the case may be, but that’s simply not true- I mean, yes, some women (AND men) do this, but not all of us. Learn to stop passing judgement on anyone you don’t know; remember, if you exude positivity, positivity will come back.

Appreciate the women in your life and treat all women you encounter with respect. It’s the least you can do.

Like Angela Burt-Murray wrote in “Essence” last April: “If we can cherish and accept our sisters as often as we would want to be cherished and accepted, we will go a long way in setting a new tone in our often-fractured relationships.”

The following, “The Sister Accord,” was written by Sonia Jackson Miles, a corporate executive, writer and inspirational speaker. Maybe you can use it in your life and pass it along!

I resolve to establish an agreement with ALL of my sisters- whether they are strong or weak, rich or poor, educated at Harvard or 17th Street, working in the C-suite or cleaning it. Whether they be independent or leaning and depending, confident or lacking self-esteem, fighting back or being abused and misused, I will uphold this commitment to my sisters.

I Resolve To…

  • Be honest and truthful
  • Be supportive of your dreams and aspirations
  • Be forgiving
  • Be loving and kind
  • Be thoughtful with my words- ensuring that our every encounter and conversation is uplifting
  • Remain loyal and faithful to our friendship
  • Remain your shelter in the time of storms- your confidante
  • Refrain from judging
  • Refrain from negative thoughts and words about you

Because…

  • You are my sister
  • The time is now- are children are depending on us
  • We have so much work to do.

Source: Essence, Photo from: gettyimages.com