Eight Ways to Stick to Your New Years Resolutions

Keeping Up With Resolutions

This is the time of year when New Years Resolutions are forgotten and people resume their regularly scheduled shenanigan-filled schedules, but you can still win…if you want to. For years, I’ve been that person who would jump on the resolution bandwagon, fall off then beat myself up because I hate not seeing goals come to fruition, but eventually I started revamping how I did things and it seems to be working.

My problem was that I viewed resolutions like fads. Everyone set them and then forgot about them before first quarter ended. However, after some self-reflection I realized that seeing my resolutions as on-going goals–longterm and short–was a better way to set foundations for improvements that I wanted to make in my life. Instead of starting on January 1, I began applying ideas whenever the inspiration struck and started taking steps toward getting more involved in the process and not the instant gratification of the end result happening in the blink of an eye.  Solid progress is like a garden, you must be mindful and tender in fostering its growth.

Here are eight tips for making life improvements a reality.

1. Be Patient

I struggle with this one every day. There are so many things that I feel that I should have accomplished by my age that I haven’t, and I beat myself up about them a lot. I often have to reason with myself about the fact that some things take time and some things can be accomplished swiftly but it all takes strategy. In the meantime, it’s important to reflect on what you’ve already done, what you feel positive about and be grateful for those things. It can take the edge off you beating yourself up about what you lack.

I wish it were that simple because I am the queen of ripping myself to shreds but I promise to be better about showing gratitude this year.

 2. Focus on the Process

Get lost in the journey and don’t harp on the end result. Focusing on the ending is a fast track to frustration and therefore quitting prematurely, especially if you don’t see the type of progress that you’re looking for in a specific period of time. Take it slow, be present in the now but keep the finish line in the back of your mind. Even short term milestones can be rewarding.

3. Set Goals and Cultivate New Habits

Think of goals and intentions for your personal development (whether it’s career, family, etc) and develop realistic habits that can eventually and gradually become part of your every day life. Keep practicing until they become second nature.

4. Be Kind to Yourself

Don’t beat yourself up (once again, I should be taking my own advice). If you fail, try again and keep trying until you start to achieve success or until you reach a point where you think you should reassess what you want and what you should be doing in order to win.

5. Be Authentic  

When you’re  posting that selfie of  yourself in the mirror at the gym with hashtags like, #Gymflow and #beastmode, are you working out because you want to or because it’s the obligatory “I have to work off that holiday weight and show people that I go hard thing?” If it’s the latter then you’re only wasting your time with something that won’t fulfill you.

6. Stop Comparing Yourself

There’s a popular quote floating around that goes, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” I don’t know who said it but it’s so true. One of my goals moving forward is to force social media breaks on myself whenever I feel myself hating on someone who I think may not be as talented or who has what I think I should have or who I feel doesn’t deserve what they have. That is a toxic mode of operation. It drains your energy and redirects your focus toward building destructive habits, which means you don’t make any progress at all. Remember that people only post snippets of their lives on social media so it may seem overwhelmingly good or like their success happened overnight but in reality, you don’t know their whole story or journey. As far as people who seem less talented getting all the glory, even if you are smarter or faster or more creative, their reality isn’t going to change yours so put those tunnel vision glasses on and focus on your lane.

7. Don’t Share Everything

Sometimes all it takes is one naysayer who doesn’t get your vision or who has no visions of their own to convince you to be stagnant. These are the people who when you tell them you want to take up ballet say, “But you’ve never danced in your life?” or, you say you want to go to Japan and they reply with, “But what about the radiation? or “But you don’t speak Japanese.” That’s why you shouldn’t always share your intentions. It may be OK to share some but be mindful about what you reveal.

8. Try Again

You may have quit at the moment but if there’s something that you really want to accomplish then start again. Every day you wake up is a new opportunity to refresh and refocus.

That’s what I have for now but did I leave anything out? How do you keep yourself on track?

A Push For Faith: Unloading Last Year’s Baggage For a Better 2014

Marveling at the view from the London Eye

In retrospect, last year wasn’t bad. It was a rollercoaster–the past few years have been–but it was pretty good.


That was the first time I have admitted that fact and it felt damn good.

I have a problem with stealing my own joy by focusing on the negative and what I don’t have and what I want to happen now. It’s a character flaw that drags me down into the depths of depression. I spent last year, and the year before that being really depressed because my career isn’t flourishing. I have tried, for years, to establish myself as a multimedia journalist, and to eventually get paid to do what I love but it hasn’t worked out the way I dreamed for a variety of reasons. I have been laid off twice since 2009. I worked a lot of freelance gigs in between that stole my soul  because my ideas and talent weren’t respected but I needed checks and so I chased them and lowered my standards. I dealt with companies that didn’t want to pay me a decent enough wage to survive in New York, and companies that forced me to stalk them for my money and then I dealt with people who  treated me like a dog. A lot more people than I imagined just don’t give a shit about people’s feelings and I gave them my energy at my expense.

A lot of my identity was tied up in being able to get paid doing what I love but the reality of what was happening with work and in my industry (which has tanked tremendously) crushed me. I also compared myself to other people who were seemingly achieving the type of progress that I wanted to see for myself. It made me feel worse…and useless.

I still struggle with that sadness but in retrospect, I realize I had no business working on anything but myself because I was dealing with PTSD from past job experiences. Job PTSD is really a thing, according to my therapist. I’m tenacious, so even though I knew I needed to work on healing, I still didn’t let go. Last year, when I was isolated in a city where I really didn’t have a network or familiarity, and my husband was working all the time (he’d leave at about 9:30 am and I was lucky if I saw him by 11 pm) and becoming a different person because the job he had drained his soul, I fell into such a dark place that I got to the point where getting out of bed was a struggle. It was scary.

People who have never been seriously depressed usually don’t understand what that feels like. The best way I can describe it is that I was possessed by an invisible but palpable entity that wanted me to die. If you’re familiar with Harry Potter, then think about the dementors.

I finally got serious about finding happiness after my therapist suggested being evaluated by a psychiatrist for medication.  I couldn’t bring myself to getting on anti-depressants so I needed to get over myself. It wasn’t as easy as it sounded–I still struggle–but I started with thinking about the things that make me happy. Aside from family and friends, there was pole dancing. It was all I had in my isolation and it gave me a sense of normalcy, so that’s how I started passing my time after not having poled in several months since relocating.

Pole dancing lead to Pilates and doing more H.I.I.T. and strength training, and learning about Ashtanga yoga, which I plan to tackle seriously eventually. I also mustered the courage to post my pole pics on Instagram. I did my first Ayesha. My form was off but I celebrated because I hit a milestone that used to seem impossible.

Pole Dancing Ayesha

When I wasn’t poling I was working on my novel that I had been working on for over a year. It was taking me forever to finish because of work obligations but I finally completed the rough draft. Now it’s time for me to get a presentable draft together to pitch to potential literary agents.

I quit a job that I hated because it was more of the same of what I had been going through years prior, but not before I was able to save up for travel goals that I had for 2013.

My first goal was to pay for a New Orleans trip to the Essence Festival, where I spent time with the hubby, and even saw friends and family from New York. A couple of months later, I went to London with my mother (it was initially going to be a solo trip but my mom expressed interest in going), which was another goal and then two months after that I went to Barbados. I saw three friends get married and the hubby got a job that allowed us to move back to NYC.

New Orleans
New Orleans
Barbados Oistin's
Oistins Fish Fry, Barbados
Abbey Road Zebra Crossing
Crossing Abbey Road With Mum =0)

Being back in New York has made me happier but being in the midst of where my industry lives and not being where I want to be is still a struggle. With that, I realize a new set of tests has begun. Living in Chicago allowed me to reflect on my life from the past few years and I realize that it’s important that I build on the lessons that the universe has been trying to teach me in order  to move forward.

My career approach will be different. I don’t know how just yet but I’m thinking about it and I have to be OK with that. I must be nicer to myself by nurturing activities and thoughts that make me happy. I will stop comparing myself to other people because I only know my journey. I have to stop letting other people’s behavior drain me especially because 99% of their behavior has to do with them and not me. That doesn’t mean that I have to be a doormat but I also don’t have to fight everyone, including myself. It’s OK to relax and not get caught up in that no sleep hustle culture because unplugging is necessary. I must see everything through. I am impatient and when I don’t see the results that I want when I want then I give up. I also lack faith and have a general cynicism toward my life because it’s a defense and coping mechanism that I have developed. It was easier to expect the worst rather than be blindsided by hurt and more disappointment. I’m not afraid of disappointment. I just got so used to it that I made it second nature and I got tired of wondering if the right doors would ever open.

But having faith is important.

Even through the struggles, my life seems to fall into place when it needs to but I don’t trust the process. I’ve been leading with my ego and emotions but it’s more important to focus on abundance, gratitude and the process during the journey. It’s easy to write that and to say it but hard for me to put it in practice.

So, for 2014, I intend to keep myself busy and happy by focusing on what I’m passionate about and being consistent on the path that was meant for me.