Monday Notes: New Paradigm…Old Mindset?

For the twenty-seven years that I had a relaxer, I’d been taught to only wash my hair once a week. Also, while using chemical treatments, I’d learned to be careful during workouts, in the shower, in the pool, and in the rain because if my hair were to get wet, then the style would most certainly be ruined, creating hours of beauty restoration.

However, in 2011, when I decided to wear my hair in its natural state, I found that wetting my hair wasn’t nearly as horrible an experience as it was with a perm. In fact, I learned that for my hair type, I had to wash it more often than once a week to maintain a “fresher” looking style. Water is good.

hairFor the first five years, I managed to wash my hair twice a week to maintain twist-outs. Since cutting it and wearing a wash-n-go style, my routine has increased to as much as every other day some weeks.

I’ve tried applying the old mindset with this new paradigm, sometimes waiting up to five days to shampoo and condition. You know what happened? It took me twice as long to detangle it. When I was done, there were clumps of hair everywhere, in the comb, on the shower curtain, and on the bathroom floor. And my head hurt. It was a mess.

That’s when it dawned on me: you can’t use yesterday’s mindset with a new framework.

img_5766We’re still in the season where people are considering a change and I think this message is critical. Many times we want to adopt a new practice, but we want to maintain the old way of doing things. We develop new relationships, but hang on to the ex in our DMs. We exercise, but still eat fast food three times a day. Or vice versa. We learn to eat healthier, but don’t make time to exercise. That doesn’t always work. New ways of living require new ways of thinking for comprehensive change to occur.

With that said, I know it’s not always easy to make behavioral shifts. Returning to an old mindset is simple because it’s been ingrained in our brain for so long. Maintaining a new discipline seems counterintuitive to what we’ve learned. But it can be done with a few small changes. For example, I think about where I have to be each week and then plan hair washing accordingly. If I have to leave by seven in the morning, then I plan to wash my hair the day before. This eliminates a stressful morning of hair maintenance, yet continues my natural hair practice.

The same can be said for other lifestyle changes. Maybe it’s too much for you to plan out every single meal or to wake at 5 AM every day to workout. But I bet you can plan one meal a day or find an enjoyable exercise at least once a week. Either way, a new mindset is possible.

What helpful tips can you share for maintaining lifestyle changes? How have you successfully shifted into a different paradigm? Have you ever found yourself sliding back into an old mindset while trying to change? If so, what did you do to get back on track?

Let’s help one another create a new mindset that matches our new paradigms.

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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The Ultimate Inside Job: You

Royalty Free Image
Royalty Free Image

Spiritual growth is an inside job. That’s why I work on myself constantly. For me, inspiration stems from relationships and experiences within those relationships. For example, I’d noticed that people with the title mother oftentimes wrap their love in judgment. My mother-in-law, grandmother and stepmother have all, at some point passed judgment on something they thought was best…for me. Whether it’s getting my oldest daughter’s hair done more frequently, not moving around so much or engaging with my dad in ways someone else saw fit, each of these women have offered unsolicited advice about how I choose to live. Conversely, I’d inherited a few of these traits myself. My younger cousins claimed I was “too judgmental” and my own daughter once said I was so “judgy.” I probably was. What finally did it was a group conversation I had with a few friends. One thing led to another, and summer 2013, I decided to try and judge less.

It’s a lot harder than just saying it.

Think of judgment as a big box that encompasses many other things, such as superiority and arrogance. In order for me to stop passing judgment, I had to see myself as equal to everyone. I had to step down from my proverbial moral high ground and stop wagging my opinionated finger at others. We’re the same. I’m equal to the drug addicted, the shop-a-holic and the teenage mom. I’m not better than either of these people, thus I have zero right to judge their lives. If I’m feeling judgmental, then I remind myself of this: anyone, at any moment could judge what you’re doing or have done in your life. Who am I to pass judgment on anyone’s life or life choices?

Image. © 2016 K E Garland
Image. © 2016 K E Garland

My next project was learning to trust my intuition. I’ve always had a good sense of how I felt, but somewhere along the way, I’d stopped fully listening. That is until I read T.D. Jakes’ Instinct. My husband and I were having some rough times and I’d met a friend to vent. I didn’t know what to do. She suggested we read the book together. Though I’m not religious, I am open to new ideas, so I agreed. I was so inspired by this book that I attempted a Facebook group centered on the ideas. That was a flop. But my renewed sense of following my heart was not. Using one’s instinct means consciously living life and being mindful about those pesky feelings. You must be perceptive and pay attention to that thing in the pit of your stomach that’s warning you about where you are and who you’re with. Though Bishop Jakes situates the concept in a discussion about passion and purpose, he also touches on relationships. He describes how people grow, sometimes together and sometimes apart due to monotony. Either way, instinct can show you how to proceed. I’d decided then and there to be quiet so I could hear. I quit a job that was too far to drive, wrote a book of Kwotes, started a blog, and just celebrated my 19th year of marriage. I firmly believe intuition is an underrated tool that we all have.

The last principle is a result of my father’s death. So I’m still figuring it out and listening for answers. When my dad died, I needed a lot more compassion and care than I thought I would. Because I had been following my intuition, I was in tune with my emotions. I requested empathy from specific people. It didn’t matter though. Considerations from them didn’t flow like I thought they would. I was very confused. All this time I thought that compassion was an easy sentiment to provide. It turns out that I was mistaken. Compassion is made up of three parts: (1) putting yourself in another person’s place, (2) imagining what she or he might be feeling and (3) doing something considerate. That’s a lot to ask of anyone. It’s a challenge. It takes extra effort. As it turns out, it’s something that I shouldn’t have sought out. So I stopped. Instead, I began showing other people compassion. Like I said, this one is a work in progress but already I feel better being compassionate, rather than seeking it.

“I’m not perfect.” We use this phrase often. But what does it mean? Does it mean that you stay stuck in your imperfect self, while asking forgiveness for bad behavior and judging other people’s perceived imperfections? I don’t have a universal answer. But I do believe that we can all be better than we were yesterday if we try. How are you willing to be a better you? What advice would you add to this?

kwoted

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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