As I stayed awake for the first time in years and watched the ball drop on New Year’s Eve, I welcomed 2018 with open arms and a gigantic, warm embrace. I was happy to see it like a long lost friend. I then crawled into bed next to my baby boy, wrapped my arms around his sleeping body and whispered in his ear, “I believe in you.” And every night since then, right before he dozes off or while he’s bouncing up and down on the bed trying to avoid sleep, I say those same words. I want him to always have affirmation that I believe in who he is – whoever that is and whatever he decides to become. I’ll support him wholeheartedly and despite not being able to give him the life I had envisioned, the life I will give him will still be beautiful.
I’ve decided I should repeat those same words to myself this year. I should break off a little bit of that confidence I have for him and snag some for myself. These last couple years haven’t been my finest. In fact, I’ll just say it, they’ve been the absolute crappiest possible. Now don’t start feeling sorry for me. I’m not saying that to label myself a victim or garner sympathy. I’m simply saying because I’ve had a really tough couple of years in my personal life and with my business and with my self-confidence, 2018 is an opportunity for me to grow through those experiences and come out a better version of myself.
In order to make those improvements, I’ve set 5 realistic goals for myself this year. In the past I’ve adapted the “set it and forget it” philosophy to resolutions. I documented them but that’s about has far as I got. So this year I really spent time reflecting on what areas I want to change and what realistic expectations I could set for myself so these goals become a part of my daily routine and not just words buried in a blog. The 5 goals I’ve set for myself for 2018 are all rooted in making the choice to take the chance to change my life.
- Spend Wisely
This goal has two parts – time and money.
Spend my time wisely and with people who value and appreciate it. Spend my time doing things that are adventurous and challenging and motivating. Spend my time feeding my soul and my emotional health. Time is non-refundable so I plan to use it with intention.
I’m a spender and definitely not a saver. I’m reckless and thoughtless with money. This is a huge goal for me this year. Pay off all of my debt. Invest in my future. Save for Coven. Live within my means. Focus on needs and not wants. Make a budget, stick to said budget and put in the time and effort to maintain it.
- Be a Joy Seeker
Aren’t we surrounded by enough negatively on a daily basis? With the 24-hour news channels and the Facebook rants and the blowing horns and the constant whining over this or that, negativity penetrates us from all angles at all hours of the day. I’m electing this year to train my mind to see the good in every situation. Maybe this means I have to spend less time on social media or maybe it means I have to unfollow certain people who make me feel inadequate. I have enough Prince Johns in my life trying to rob me of joy that I don’t need to willingly subscribe to negatively through social media or friends. Your vibe attracts your tribe and mine is going to powerfully positive.
- 250-Day Challenge
I started routinely working out in September of last year. I quickly became addicted and discovered it was a pleasant escape for me. Let’s face it, I’ve known my entire life the benefits to working out. But there’s something more convincing when a lady in a white lab coat with a stethoscope highly recommends it for your mental well-being. I’m challenging myself this year to work out at least 250 days out of the year. It’s roughly 4 – 5 times a week which is completely doable. There’s something really exciting and challenging about seeing the number 250 as a high yet obtainable goal.
- Practice Discipline
Gross. Who likes discipline? Coven surely doesn’t. Hence the tantrums he throws when he’s told he can’t walk on top of my laptop. In addition to the items listed above, it was very easy for me to identify the areas I need to exert discipline.Waking with Intention
This means I wake myself up and it isn’t Coven waking me. I wake up and drink water to hydrate. I wake up and don’t immediately check my phone. I wake up with a prayer of gratitude. I wake up setting up my day for success.
Blog + Social Media
Social media is a necessary evil for running a business. I did a really poor job of keeping it updated last year. Maintaining my social accounts doesn’t mean I use the outlets as ways to kill time or fill voids. It doesn’t mean I’m on my phone during a conversation with a friend or while playing with Coven. It does mean I schedule posts and keep followers up to speed on what’s going on in my life regularly.
Emails + Voicemails
Another necessary evil. And a rat race. Just when you feel like you’ve caught up, you get behind. I’m making a conservative effort this year to stay on top of my emails and improve my response time. I won’t compromise my family time or mental health over it, but I will try to do better. And I’ll listen to voicemails even though I despise them.
Church + Prayers
I started going to a new church last August and thoroughly enjoyed each and every service. I want Coven to grow up in church like I did so this year is all about continuing those habits I started last year and growing on them. Morning prayers, prayers before meals and bedtime prayers are all set to become second nature this year as I work really hard to instill values and build positive character traits within Coven and myself.
Drink More Water and Less Soda
I’m not a fool. I know I will never give up soda completely. But my goal is to cut back. And where I cut back, replenish with water. This is another habit I started late last year and I hope to improve. I’ve given myself an allowance of three sodas per week. I removed the entire supply of Sun Drop from my fridge and only left three with a sticky note of the date. I’ve vowed to order water at restaurants instead of soda and then put the money I would have spent on soda into savings. (Killing two birds with one stone!) Instead of drinking soda regularly, I’ll now use it a reward for accomplishing some of the above goals.
- Do Good
I am so blessed. Even when in the valley of life, I am fortunate. I am breathing. I have a beautiful, healthy son. I have a business that didn’t crash and burn even though I neglected it. I have my health and I know that today, I won’t go without my basic needs. I don’t have a game plan for how or when I’ll volunteer or what good deeds I’ll complete. I just know it’s an important avenue I need to explore this year in order to feel like a contributing member to society. Don’t get me wrong, I love my career. I love helping people plan their wedding and then watch those plans come to fruition on their special day. But my heart and soul is yearning for something deeper and something more meaningful and impactful.
I’m ready to make some magic this year and evolve from my stage as a hibernating caterpillar and emerge a butterfly. 2018, bring it on.