Monday Notes: A New Way to Create Resolutions for the New Year

Every year since I was about ten-years-old, I’ve made New Year’s resolutions. Goals have ranged from losing a specific amount of weight to attaining jobs in my field. But last year, I resolved differently.

For 2018, I resolved to remember five concepts. I typed them out and hung them on my mirror to recite daily.

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#1: Anything is possible. Instead of being tied to a pre-determined outcome (e.g., I will appear on Jacksonville’s morning show to discuss The Unhappy Wife), I focused on believing that anything is possible. This turned out to be helpful. I had no idea that the editor of an anthology I’m apart of would ask me to represent the book via Tampa’s morning talk show. Nor did I conceive that I would be asked to participate in a book reading in Boston. With this reminder, I was open to any possibility, not just one that I thought was best for me. And it seemed to work.

#2: What you see is a manifestation of your thoughts, beliefs, and emotions. I’d learned long ago that however you feel on the inside will show up in your daily life. If you feel sh*tty, then your home, job, and other activities will reflect sh*tty circumstances. However, two things you absolutely can control are your emotions and your thoughts. With this resolution, I vowed to pay more attention to when I was excited and fulfilled. For example, though presenting my work isn’t new to me, when I attended a national conference in April, I admitted to myself that no matter where I’m employed, I’m a scholar and I enjoy this part of working in the field. Several months later, I was asked to chair a special interest group for a different national conference.

#3: Take nothing personally (AKA Agreement #2). This was the hardest but most useful for me. Many times things will occur and I tend to personalize it as if someone was trying purposefully to hurt my feelings. This surfaced when Dwight and I visited his parents. On their wall, is a six-foot blanketed image of his brother and his family hanging on the living room wall. How could I have personalized this? Well, immediately I was a bit jealous. And with that feeling, I became mad as if his brother intentionally made and sent his own father this gift to not only poo-poo on us, but also to one up our family. I’m not proud of this feeling, but it happened. I talked myself out of these made-up emotions and realized that his brother did what he wanted to do for his father. This had nothing to do with me.

#4: Be positive. This is self-explanatory, I think. But I will add this: Don’t be a Negative Norman. Think positive thoughts prior to entering a situation. I promise this will affect the way you see the actual event. In essence, don’t just hope for the best; actually see the best outcome.

new_year_2019#5: Follow your instinct. My intuition about people and circumstances is very strong. But sometimes I still second-guess those feelings and engage with others whom I should’ve left alone long ago. This resolution reminded me to follow my gut when people showed me who they were, whether it was the umpteenth or the second time. I stopped asking friends and family if they thought the person’s actions were disrespectful or uncalled for. I stopped needing second opinions about how I felt when interacting with others. Instead, I made decisions healthy for me. This resulted in de-friending a former high-school boyfriend from social media, pulling back from a one-sided friendship, and creating clear boundaries with my newfound biological family.

These 2018 resolutions worked best for me and I’ll continue with them in 2019. Nowadays, people tend to denigrate resolutions, but not me. Tell me if you still create resolutions/goals at the beginning or any part of the year. Are they more concrete than what I’ve described? Is this process history for you?

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Inspiring Image #54: Let’s Get to Work!

I know. I know. You can begin renewing yourself at any point. But for those of you who begin with a new year, now’s the time! It’s a new year, so it’s time for renewal, revisioning and re-purposing ourselves! Cheers to you as you either get to work, or continue the work!

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Happy Halloween and Good Luck w/NaNoWriMo!

raven-988218_1280Happy Halloween Everyone! That is, if you celebrate that type of thing. As for me and my house…just kidding. Halloween is fun. I will probably pass out candy because I LOVE seeing little kids in their costumes. 👻🍬👀

 

 

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AND…Good Luck to all of you participating in NaNoWriMo! I hope you meet all of your November writing goals 🤓✍🏾️📖

Six Ways to Maintain your Goals

By K E Garland and Mek

2016It’s a new year! You’re ready and rearing to go with several resolutions. There’s just one problem. How will you maintain them? Whether you’re a traditional New Year’s resolutionist, or a general goal-setter, Mek and I are sharing six ways to maintain those goals. Each is a method that we personally use. We hope these help as you’re re-shape life.

Visualize your goals: Visualizing successful outcomes of goals is a powerful tool. To begin with, take some time to imagine how your life will positively shift once you’ve achieved the goal. Is it health, wealth, more fun, a de-cluttered house? If you have a tangible outcome that is clear in your mind’s eye, then you’ve partially accomplished it. Furthermore, envisioning benefits will give it added weight, increasing your desire to stick to it.

Keep your goals visible: Now that your goal is at the forefront of your mind, try posting it somewhere you can actually see it. For me, it’s my bathroom. I list each goal on a single sheet, print it out, laminate it and then stick it to my side of the mirror so I have to face them each and every day. Not as Type A as me? Create a digital note and make it the background for your cell phone, laptop or tablet. This will ensure that you consistently see what you’ve committed to doing.

Create mini-goals: Your goals are on your mind and on paper. Now, create mini-goals. Think of these as resolution subcategories. Did you promise yourself that this is the year you self-publish and market a book? What will it take to do this? Once you’ve determined the steps, then you’ll have your mini-goals. Here’s what they might look like:

  • Scout editors.
  • Create a blog.
  • Find someone to create a digital cover.
  • Read Stephen King’s On Writing.

Prioritizing your mini-goals is key. Reflect on which ones best serve to progress your major goals so that you can decide where to best use your time.

IMG_3334Determine Milestones: We know what some of you are thinking. Those mini-goals could be major goals. You’re right. Different resolutions require different timeframes. That time could be a year, three years or a decade. It depends on your overall objective and priorities. Either way, clear milestones will help you manage time, maintain focus, track your journey, and build in celebrations. In order to avoid burn out or let time pass you by, be realistic with your milestone dates. For example, if you know your schedule doesn’t allow for book reading, you might consider separating it into a chapter a month, thus allowing yourself an entire year. Also remember, milestone dates can differ for each mini-goal. Setting this timeline takes a little extra effort and research. But it will be worth it in the end once you’ve actualized your dream.

Seek out a support system: You didn’t think we wanted you to go at it alone, did you? Networks are very important. Therefore, share your goals with supportive people. Begin with individuals on a similar path. For example, if you want to write a mystery novel, then join the mystery-writing novel group at your local library. It is a great way to create a personal cheering squad of like-minded souls headed in the same direction. Sharing your goals with others will keep you accountable and add incentive to stick it out, with your personal integrity on display. These groups of people will also genuinely ask about your progress. If you’re unsure where to find an organization, then join an online group centered on the subject, or blog about your goal using relevant tags and categories.

Revise the goal: You’ve visualized. Your goals are posted. You have mini-goals with appropriate milestones. And your cheering squad is ready to help. Now what? Mek and I are both working women with families and other daily priorities. We understand that a lot can happen between January and March. Maybe you’ve switched careers. Perhaps you’ve moved into a different home. Either way, life events sometimes make it close to impossible to achieve the goals that you’ve set three months prior. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Instead, just reflect, and then revise the goal. This could mean that you’ve set up the blog but have found daily maintenance too taxing. It’s okay. Revise the goal! Instead, post once a week until time permits for more frequent blogging. Trust us. These are your goals; revisions are allowed.

Have you tried any of these? Would you add another? Let us know in the comment section. Best of luck for a happy, healthy and fruitful New Year realizing your dreams!

~kg and Mek

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Unleashing the Infinite Superpowers in Everyone (Free Writing Challenge)

“Create your own personal super hero alter ego and describe his or her day” ~ Finkelstein & Sons

I once told someone that I wanted to be like a 21st century Harriet Tubman. I wanted to free people from their own societal minds. So if I was a superhero, that’s exactly what I would do. I would go around and help people unleash their own special superpowers: the power of choice, the power of love and the power to accomplish whatever it is they set their minds to.

The power of choice means that you can never blame anyone else for your circumstances. If you don’t like where you’ve landed yourself, then choose to do something else. I guarantee eventually you’ll see a different outcome because you’ve made different decisions. The choice really is yours in every single moment.

“But I have no choice,” people often whine back to me.

My answer is pretty much the same each time; you can always choose to do something else. It might not be easy, but you do have alternatives. We all do.

Loving who you are at the core is also an invaluable superpower. It allows you the freedom to be you and, subsequently, also empowers you to love others for who they are. Realizing that you’re perfectly imperfect, yet still spiritually whole can be liberating. Once you understand this, then no judgments can affect you and you can also release the need to judge others. Think about it. If I love me for who I am, then who am I to judge you for who you are?

With my red cape waving behind me, and my super words flowing, my final goal would be to show people that they have the power to do whatever it is they set their minds to. I don’t intend to suggest that you can be anything in the world. Instead, I think of what my Grannie once said, “The only reason Obama is president is cause you’re not.” If you think of something and feel compelled to do that thing, then you can find a way to achieve it. Again, it might not be easy, but you can attain goals if you want to.

No. of Words = 379 (about 15 minutes)

I wrote this post prompted by Finkelstein & Sons nomination for the Free Writing Challenge. Irene and I met during Writing 101. She has a very down-to-earth, authentic style and I’m impressed that she often blogs in two languages (by the way, love the new layout). The Free Writing Challenge is an incentive amongst bloggers to promote and stimulate free writing, helping each other out with a prompt.

These are the rules:

Open an MS Word document (or Pages)

  1. Set a stopwatch or your mobile to five minutes or ten minutes, whichever challenge you think you can beat.
  2. Your topic is at the foot of this post.
  3. Fill the word doc with as many words as you want. Once you begin writing, do not stop.
  4. Do not cheat by going back and correcting spellings and grammar with spell check in MS Word (it is only meant for you to reflect on your own control of sensible thought flow and for you to reflect on your ability to write the right spelling and stick to grammar rules).
  5. You may or may not pay attention to punctuation and capitals. However, if you do, it would be best.
  6. At the end of your post, write down ‘No. of words = ______’ so that we would have an idea of how much you can write within that time frame.
  7. Do not forget to copy paste the entire passage on your blog post with a new topic for your nominees and copy paste these rules with your nominations (at least five bloggers).

My nominees are:

Your topic is: If you could live anywhere in the world, rent (mortgage)-free for one year, where would it be?

Can’t wait to read these!

One thing I know for sure

What I know for sure is that we are all connected.
What you are going through, I guarantee you someone else has already gone through it, or they are currently figuring it out.

I learned this out around 2008 when my husband was laid off from his job. Under normal circumstances an unexpected layoff wouldn’t have mattered. But these were not normal circumstances. Instead, I was finishing up coursework for a PhD and about to write and defend a prospectus for my research.

But I couldn’t.

Or so I thought. Being who I am, I sought a job with the county with which I used to teach. I asked a principal to hire me. She did. I became a School Instructional Coach.

Here, at this job is where I met someone who would be as influential to me as I was to her. Her name was Tarra Jones. At that time, the county was invested in Reading First and she was the elementary school’s Reading Coach.

Our desks faced one another. Literally. We sat in a huge room full of elementary leveled books and our desks kissed. If I was siting at my desk and she  at hers, we faced each other, eye to eye.

I thought it was interesting that I would be roomies with a preacher’s wife because I don’t believe in organized religion. My family was Methodist. As a teenager, I generally went to church. My mom was the Sunday school teacher and my dad was the youth coordinator, so to speak, but somewhere in between that and my facing this preacher’s wife, I stopped believing in organized religion.

Tarra Jones was an interesting co-worker. She wanted to act. She was a gifted singer. And she resonated song. If she wasn’t playing some song from her 1990’s boom box housed at the feet of her desk, then she was humming, singing or full-on belting out a tune from something.

For someone who works in quiet, this was disruptive, but more so, unexpected. Here was this grown woman singing and dancing and full of life. Here was a woman who was full of her purpose, sitting right in front of me. Our “office” was her stage. If I said I was sad, then she would sing a song about being sad. If it was Christmas, then the boom box and her voice resounded Christmas songs. She was clearly meant to sing.

I remember asking her, “If you believe so much in faith, then why don’t you step out on faith and become a singer? An actress?”

One day, Tarra did just that. She decided to audition for Dreamgirls. Of course, she got it. After hearing her prepare for the audition and rehearse for the musical, there was little doubt she would be a perfect “Effie” in the show. The musical was astounding. Her performance, I believe, is what sent it and her, over the top.

Fast forward to today, and as I write this she is preparing to act in Cotton Club Cabaret. In between, she’s played “Big Pearl” in The Buddy Holly Show, “Sofia” in The Color Purple, the “angel” in Black Nativity, and a host of other things that have showcased her passion and talent.

But this is what I want to leave you with. A year and a half later, I had to ask myself what I’d asked her. “If this is what you want to do, then why are you here?”

A year and a half later, I left that district-coaching job. A year and a half later, I conducted research, analyzed research and wrote research in order to complete my PhD. How my family and I made it is another blog entry. That we made it is a testament of how I stepped out on faith.

Tarra Jones always tells this story as if it is an impetus to her becoming who she is. However, the way I remember it was also a gentle nudge for me to become who I am. It is here that I learned that we are all connected; all we have to do is be present, listen and take heed.