Series Finale

As I begin to write this, I’m a little hesitant, because, you see, in the past, I’ve tried very hard to stay away from political and social issues when it comes to my blog posts. I’m not someone who pretends to have all of the answers, or even someone who pretends to know about everything that occurs in our country and world. What I’m realizing though, is that I can’t be expected to be silent, and then in turn, become outraged at the results of my silence and inaction. On this day – a day a friend of mine characterized as “…growing up in the [19]60’s…”, I am grieving. Not because Hillary Clinton lost (sorry Hillary supporters, I wasn’t on the #imwithher bandwagon…more so #imnotwithim), but because of what we were losing. No, I’m not talking about losing Barack Obama (that in itself is an essay for another time), but what we, as American people, have lost holistically.

escalator

Photo courtesy of gratisography.com

I look back over the last year or so, during the campaign, and I want to say that, above anything else, we lost our minds. More importantly though, we lost that false sense of security we were led to believe existed. Somehow, we lost our sense of reality of what has occurred in our country for hundreds of years. Oppression, hatred, misogyny, racism – we somehow have behaved like Columbus and claimed these things as new discoveries, blindly forgetting that they were already simmering below the surface. We lost the understanding that those prejudices and biases didn’t magically go away with the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Act was similar to how people with terminal cancer are treated. They’re given medicine to help ease the pain and suffering, but the cancer still remains, and unless there is a breakthrough, they won’t be healed.

snow-bridge

Photo courtesy of gratisography.com

Lately, there has been heavy discussion in many groups about the importance of organizing and mobilizing, and that is a beautiful thing. Because you see, we allowed our obsession with the Kardashians and the filtered world of social media to keep us uninformed and complacent. We’ve spent the last 50 years in this ocean of information that kept getting shallower and shallower with each passing decade, and now it’s barely deep enough to wade in. Even for the last four years, we remained apathetic and disconnected from reality, instead of remembering that we only had four years to focus on getting it right. I’m frightened that it has taken the election of the monster society created to snap out of it. And unfortunately, many people are still living in their land of Instagram likes and followers, unable (or unwilling) to face the fact that we’ve lost.

plants-in-window

Photo courtesy of gratisography.com

So what do we do now? How do we reverse this social media culture of information overload that has bred ineffective people who lack basic critical thinking skills? Is this the potentially catastrophic event that will cause people to turn off their phones and turn on their brains? Is this what begins to make us think, to read, to care? If you are not preparing for the next four years, then you shouldn’t complain about what occurs after it. If you are really outraged, if you are really disgusted, if you really care, then you have no choice but to take action. Now is the time we decide if the network is picking us up for another season, or if this is the end.

blue-sky-walls

Photo courtesy of gratisography.com

“The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people, but the silence over that by the good people.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Set Goals, Not Resolutions

One week of the new year down, and what have you accomplished? Many of us create beautiful vision boards that we tuck away and ignore all year. Some of us make elaborate lists with lofty goals that becoming more and more intimidating as the days fly by. Even more of us keep the ideas we have and things we want floating idly in our minds, with a silent promise of, “I’ll start tomorrow” lingering in the cobwebs. Did you know that almost all of the people (91%) who make resolutions never succeed at reaching their desired outcome? With a week down, have you thought about what side of that coin you’re going to land on?

man-eating-donut

I always tell people that I don’t make resolutions, and that’s the truth. Part of it is because I hate doing what other people are doing, but the bigger part is that I know that I’ll fail at them, because they’re just words. My daily goal is to always be better than who I was yesterday, and that encompasses not just my actions, but my internal growth meter. Of course, that is a pretty vague goal, so I follow-up that vagueness with brainstorming specific actions I need to take to meet my micro-goals that enable me to be a better version of myself.

curly-girl

Effective planning is probably the most integral part of my goal setting strategy, because honestly, how can you get to the end if you haven’t thought about the journey? You would never (hopefully) travel to a new place without doing some sort of research, and you’d more than likely pull out the maps app on your phone to help guide you to your destination. In order for your goals to be realistic and accessible, making a clear plan HAS to be your first step. Of course, I didn’t really think about this in the past. I would just go through my days, fitting things in on a whim or when I had what I considered to be a spare moment, and as a result, didn’t get much done. I’ve taken to planning out my week on Sundays, to make sure that I’m doing at least one thing per day to reach specific goals. It doesn’t have to be big, but it has to be consistent and with intent.

gorilla-computer

Consistency and intent are in the top five of my relationship priority list, but they’re also at the top of my goals planning. I always have grand ideas that seem impossible, but I’ve learned that working towards them daily is what brings them to fruition. I set aside time each and every day to work on a particular goal, and this set time is non-negotiable (save for emergencies). Even if I’m just reading something that relates to my goal, I make sure that there are no distractions and that the time is sacred. It may seem as if blocking out time is restrictive, and that we don’t have enough hours in the day, but how often do we start scrolling on social media (me) and look at the time and realize we’ve been doing it for 30+ minutes (also me)?! If you have at least 20 minutes a day, that’s enough to add a drop to your goal bucket.

bunny-reading-newspaper

Finally, accountability is a huge step for me, and one that keeps me on track. My friends and I will frequently share our goals with each other, and schedule routine check-ins to make sure we’re doing what we vowed to do. I talked about the steps towards your goals not having to be large, and this has resulted in a daily habit I share with my friends. We will text each other in the mornings with one to three micro-goals, and then follow-up in the evening to make sure we’ve accomplished them. One thing I hate is appearing unprepared or like I’m falling behind, so I make sure I’ve done whatever it is I said I’d do.

ducks

After the excitement of creating resolutions and goals has worn off, they can turn into pretty daunting things that are easy to cast to the side because they seem difficult, but they don’t have to be. Staying focused on your vision is the most important aspect of goal-setting, and can be easy if you plan smartly for it. One of my favorite books that discusses this in more detail is the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen R. Covey. For planning, I purchased the Passion Planner this year, and it has helped me plan my days down to the half hour. We’re only a week into the new year, and it’s not too late to focus on making this your best year yet. Don’t be the 91% who didn’t follow through.

 

 

Multi-Racial Misfit

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