Think long-term when planning for a brighter future. Try not to get complacent with the gratifications from your short-term success. A common mistake made during the process of setting goals and executing them is getting caught up in the now – meaning, the moment when we start to see improvements or when things are going good, we often think that is enough; causing us to bask in the moment for too long and to lose sight of the remaining part of the process/journey.
Short-term success is typically something that satisfies the current circumstances and generally isn’t enough to sustain long-term. This type of success is usually short lived until the good is not so good anymore. In order to reach your end goal, you have to keep building on every short-term milestone and success you achieve. Don’t short-change yourself by quitting too soon and thinking your most recent accomplishment is enough to sustain long-term. You would only be doing yourself and your future a disservice. This is why it is extremely important that we do not lose sight of our end goal.
When I initially set out to achieve my goals, I, too, had short-term success and victories that improved my circumstances in many ways (i.e. more financial stability, less stress, and things were becoming somewhat easier), but I knew that these semi-improvements, alone, weren’t enough to make things more permanent. I had to keep going with the rest of the process in order to make my future whole. So do you!
This brings us to the end of the current blog series, but the key takeaways are:
Imagine if you became the vision that you saw when you were thinking of what success looks like for your future. Picture yourself in that futuristic moment. The mere thought of it should be enticing enough to make you want to go after it. But, first, you must get mentally prepared for the journey. An important step of the process is to change your mindset. You must have the mindset of working harder, making sacrifices, and becoming more resilient than ever before.
Setting goals and executing them is not as easy as it looks on paper. There are a lot of changes you will face during the process – some good and some not so good. The key is to not give up. As you are defining your goals, also identify ways to measure your progress. Keep track so you’re not aiming in the dark, so to speak. Always keep your end goal in mind throughout your journey.
Prepare yourself as much as possible for challenges you will face ahead. There more you are prepared, the better you will be able to get through them.
Your lifestyle will change, pretty much, while you are working toward your goals. As I mentioned previously; some good, some not so good. And sometimes, the “not so good” changes are actually good for you. You may not be able to see the “good” in the moment, but you’ll later realize that it played a part in your success. Some of the lifestyle changes you may have to make include, but are not limited to:
Another important step in the process - don’t beat yourself up if you get off task or fail. This will happen and it is normal. The key in this case is what?? You go it! Never give up! I can’t stress enough how important this step is in the process of achieving your goals.
One more critical step in the process - reward yourself! Each milestone you achieve is success and warrants a reward. Treat yourself to your favorite restaurant or to something you enjoy.
Goal setting is a powerful process for thinking about your ideal future, and for motivating yourself to turn your vision into a reality. Gain that momentum and don’t stop!
The first half of the MarchMomentum series focused on managing your emotions. (If you haven’t read it, feel free to check my previous blog posts.) Now we are moving on to the act of goal setting.
Goal-setting is an integral, important part in living out our dreams. Goals can be divided into short-term or long-term.
Each goal will have a separate, different purpose, but its main intent and purpose is to achieve something in an organized and structured way.
Begin with home base areas if you need a starting point: education, career, daily personal goals (i.e. wake up, go to the gym, eat at least one green vegetable, the little things that add up), Financial, Relationships, etc.
My starting point was finishing high school on time, with an above average GPA. I had a lot of responsibilities while in high school that could have easily taken me off course. I became pregnant in my 9th grade year, and my circumstances at home were unstable. Most of my friends and young girls in my community were also teen mothers who had either dropped out of school or attended infrequently. I didn’t want that to become my story, so I had to set goals and standards in order to avoid going down the same path.
The goals that I set for myself had to be attainable and realistic. I had to be careful not to set goals that were too high and potentially cause me to burn out or give up. With all the things I had going on in my life as an adolescent mother, living in a dysfunctional household, being raised by a single-parent who was battling substance abuse - I could barely see what was in front of me.
My goals consisted of making the best out of my current circumstances. Completing high school on time with a healthy GPA was my primary focus, in addition to parenting my kid. In effort to achieve this, I had to:
Once I completed high school and enrolled in college, my goals changed, but were similar in a way. During college, I also worked, so my goals consisted of getting a job with a company that could provide an opportunity for me to apply my degree. In effort to achieve this, I had to:
The key to my success consists of learning from my failures, staying focused, and living life one goal at a time.
Acknowledge your reality and assess the nature of the situation or circumstances.
We have to learn to accept those things we cannot change, and focus, instead, on how to cope with them daily. Acknowledging the problem helps us deal proactively with less-than-ideal situations and make the best of them.
Here are three practical suggestions that you can apply to help you through challenging times.
Seriously, there are levels to this. I’ve been at the lowest level of #BeStill. There’s been plenty of times where I’ve almost lost my cool. It has taken growth and maturity for me to learn to exercise patience and control. By trial and error, I’ve learned that being reactive doesn’t always get me the outcome I was hoping for. I can’t change or control something that is out of my reach. Sometimes, all it takes is for us to #BeStill while nature takes its course. Whatever is destined for us will be for us. In the meantime, we should focus on the things that we can change, which is striving to be better while our blessing is in the making. When that blessing arrives, we will be in a better state to receive it.
Being still will actually help your momentum.
What are your triggers? For me, my triggers have mostly been reminders of my past. I would become extremely sad and melancholy when I’d see children and families living similar to the way I did growing up with addictive parents. To see children and youth in such conditions where their appearance told their story – lack basic necessities, poor, neglected, parents with substances abuse problems, emotionally drained, sad, hurt, lacking positive role models, hunger, wishing for better, feeling less than others, embarrassed, in need of love and affection from their parents, etc.
Another trigger of mine was seeing other girls with their fathers. This was always painful while I was growing up—and still is to this day, sometimes. Watching fathers and their daughters on television can sometimes be a sore spot that would make me extremely sad and wishful. As a child, and even still as an adult, I dreamt about feeling the comfort of my father’s arms around me and holding me tight.
One of the songs Beyoncé sings is a tribute to her father, Daddy. Such beautiful lyrics—who would have thought they could be so painful to hear. I would torture myself listening to the song, over and over. I was living vicariously through that song.
These particular triggers of mine often led me to a doom loop that I made reference to in part 1 of this blog series. I’d find myself weeping uncontrollably or in an extremely sad, emotional state as I reflect on my past.
The more we are aware of our emotions, the more successful we’ll be at managing and overcoming them.
Reflect on the situation or circumstances causing you to become emotional - talk about it with someone - write about it in a journal or diary. It actually works. Writing became a form of therapy for me. Getting out on paper how if felt allowed me to see things from a different lens than it did when I internalized my feelings. I was able to see in front of me how various events from my past were affecting my future. This allowed me to put my emotions in check so they didn’t cause me to go into deep depression or worse.
If we don’t get ahead of our emotions by recognizing them early on, we may
find that we’re constantly reactive instead of proactive, thus having to spend time to correct or undo what we may not have done under normal circumstances. Let’s aim to improve ourselves, while improving our situations.
#MindOverMatter. Emotions play an enormous part of any and everything we do. It’s a cycle of sorts leading to the next behavior. We feel sad, so we don’t want to get out of bed – that leads to a doom loop in our heads about being in this state forever – which leads to not eating or overeating – which leads to self-doubt and insecurity – and so on, and so forth.
This six-part series will focus on chapters seven and four (yes, in that order) of the Life in its Rawest Form Companion Workbook.
So how do we effectively manage our emotions? Having and using the right tools and resources is essential in this quest. I didn’t always deal with my emotions effectively, sometimes resulting in an unfavorable outcome.
Here are 5 ways to help you when you’re emotional, but first, just know that it is okay to have emotions or to become emotional at times. In fact, you should be concerned if you weren't. The key is controlling and managing your emotions effectively in effort to minimize unfavorable outcomes.
Him… (Page 157 of Life In Its Rawest Form) and not the “Him” you may be thinking.
Having my son as a teen, I had to grow up fast. In the first post, part 1 of the current #SelfLove series, I discussed not knowing what love I was looking for in life and in my relationships. I was confused by the things that were going on in my life and around me. Having my son, although I was only 14 years old when I carried him in my belly, helped mold me and not only did I have to love myself, but he was an extension of me. Before he was brought into the world I realized I had to adopt an entire new understanding of the love I needed. He was and is LOVE. He has opened my eyes to seeing the love I deserve. True, unconditional love.
Thanks to this epiphany, I am able to see love more clearer now. No more #Foggylove. I have somewhat of an example and foundation to build from. The love I feel and have for my son (complete joy and happiness) is in some ways the love I want overall for myself and with anyone else. This clarity has prevented me from making the same choices I've made in past relationships that I talk about in post 1 of this #Selflove series, when I didn't have a good sense of the type of love that I was looking to gain from the relationship.
I want to encourage you to be whole and happy with yourself, so that you're open to recognizing and receiving the love you deserve. #SenseofSelf #SelfLove
Why waste precious time on something we feel isn’t going to grow? #FailedLove
My approach in the past for overcoming a failed relationship was, if I could overcome the letdown and disappointment caused by two of the most important people in my life (my parents), then it should be easier to overcome a failed relationship. Having this mentality worked for me and helped me to move on without thinking much about it.
Over time, I have grown mentally and psychologically and I’ve been able to deal internally with some of the things that affected the way I coped with specific circumstances in the past. I now have a different perspective on how I manage certain situations, #failedlove being one of them. I’ve learned that the healthier I am mentally and physically, the more I am able to see things from a healthier perspective and make better decisions. Dealing with the pain from my past helped me to get to a healthier mind state to make better decisions when dealing with circumstances that are more challenging...
For a while my life was consumed with finding love and companionship. I felt like I had to make up for lost time. When I started out on my journey of building a better life for my son and me, I put relationships on hold while I focused on being a mother, finishing college, and building a career. Establishing a serious relationship was just not in the cards for me during this time. After I finished Grad school, I felt like I needed to catch up, meaning find love. I had everything else, but that.
I don’t regret shifting my focus, because a better me means a better and healthier relationship. However, I realize now the importance of finding a good balance for the important things in life. Although my son, education, and success have always been my top priority, I’m proud to have finally gotten to a place now where I have a healthy balance for all the important things that matters to me, including #love.
Just when you think things couldn’t get any better… They don’t! That feeling of happiness, peace, and serenity when we began dating was suddenly gone. #FadingLove
I learned of his infidelities while I was pregnant with our son. It broke me. This wasn’t supposed to happen. He was a ray of light for me in my dark gloomy world at the time. He was a pleasant distraction to my life at home. It’s like we met at just the right time because things were chaos in my home and I didn’t know how much more I could endure before I ran off to escape. My mother’sdrug addiction had only gotten worse, and I was just in a foster home a year or so prior.
When he and I started dating, he became a breath of fresh air, so when this happened, it felt like a pretty hard blow to me physically and mentally. The hurt, the deceit, the disappointment—it all felt like I had been in this place before.
I made a decision to stay with him for the time being. I couldn’t raise my son under the circumstances at home, so I had to set all hurt and anger aside for my son’s sake, but his actions changed me and I was emotionally unavailable to him.
After a while, I moved on and dated someone else. We had known each other since we were kids, and we quickly grew fond of one another again. He ran the streets, had money, was “powerful”, but his success was not earned in a moral way.
Although I enjoyed being spoiled with lavish gifts and getting whatever I wanted, I didn’t want to risk my life for it, and condone ruining the lives of others. I also didn’t want to expose my son to such lifestyle, so I knew I had to make some changes.
I talked about changes with him, but his lifestyle caught up with him before change could happen, resulting in him being sentenced to 17 years in prison.
That experience taught me a valuable lesson. It had shown me the path not to take in life and helped me to appreciate the hard work I put in every day to make a better life for my son and me. Waking up to earn a legit living, going to college to further my education, and putting in the work to better myself is far greater than the fast, street life. I rest easy at night and I never have to worry about looking over my shoulders, expecting my life to be over at any given moment.
After reflecting on my experiences with love, I realize now that I may have been placing too many responsibilities and setting too high of expectations on my past relationships. I understand now that I may have been looking to the men in my life to fulfill a void that had been created by my parents, particularly my father. As I look back, I believe I was so broken up by my son’s father infidelities because my expectations of him ran deeper than him being just a companion to me. The pain I felt when I learned of his infidelities ran deeper than the average person suffering of a broken heart. It was pain of familiarity. One that I had been exposed to before. I realize now my pain just wasn’t about him and his actions, but about the feeling of abandonment, disappointment, neglect, and deceit. Everything that I had experienced from my father, or lack thereof.
In part 1 of the self-love blog series I talked about the misconception of love and how some people may seek love to make up for something that they’ve lacked at some point in their lives. I will be the first to admit – I’m one of those people. Looking back, I’m not sure I was looking for love for the right reasons. #FoggyLove - I had never gotten it from the one man who should have given it to me unconditionally and endlessly, my father. Knowing what I know now, I’m not sure if I knew then what true love was. Unfortunately, I was still longing for the love of my parents, so I’m not sure how capable I was previously of giving and receive true love. Subconsciously, I was expecting my relationships to fulfill that void.
Seeing other girls with their fathers was always painful while I was growing up—and still is occasionally. Who would have thought that a sight so beautiful (healthy father and daughter interaction) could cause someone hurt and pain? As I grew older, I suppressed my hopes and dreams of having this type of love and affection with my father. I learned to cope with the fact it wasn’t going to happen, resulting in me becoming more anxious to be loved by someone.
Early in my relationship with my son’s father, things were great. I was comfortable with him, I trusted him, he was also a great friend. I thought I found what I was looking for…. (to be continued in Part 3)