By Ebony S. Muhammad
[Publisher’s Note: This piece was originally featured in The Session Magazine]
“There’s nothing in creation that was made without purpose. God has never created anything that is mediocre. Everything that God has created is marked with excellence”.
–Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan
What is our current outlook on life and our purpose in life? Our approach to anything, including the New Year, should inspire deep reflection on where we are, where we would like to be and how to reach that destination with the expectation of success and excellence.
Usually the New Year is filled with plans of party-hopping, drinks, an endless supply of food, out of town guests, and resolutions we make over and over again just to satisfy or gratify ourselves in effort to compensate for what we did not do during the previous 11 months. We justify and fool ourselves into thinking that the unattainable goal we set for ourselves is in fact doable, yet, at the moment we realize it’s not we pacifying ourselves with words such as, “I started off good”, “I’ll pick it back up again next week”, or “I’ll try it again next year”.
This type of approach imposes undue pressure and stress on the mind, making one to believe less of oneself or beat self down with guilt and negative thinking and feelings of inadequacy. Therefore, how do we get our mind ready for the New Year? How do we discover our “New Beginning” and actually thrive in the goals we set for ourselves? Below are three sure ways to get the ball rolling!
Creative Visualization AKA Vision Boards: I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “If you can see it, you can achieve it”. Simply stated, a vision board is a visual aid and collection of photos and/or words that mirror the goals and as well as achievement of those goals, usually on poster board. Vision Boards can cost as little as $5 to make. Method: According to what you believe your purpose in life is, the goals you wish to attain or the change you would like to make, write them all out on a piece of paper. Then, collect all of the old newspapers or magazines and choose the best image that resembles each goal and cut them out, placing them to the side. Next, on the piece of poster board (you can choose the size that suites you best) arrange each photo to your liking. You can be as creative as you like, using color markers, glitter, bold letters, etc. Lastly, after gluing all of the your images, hang your vision board where it can been seen frequently. Yes, it’s just that simple. Your goals will now stay on the forefront of your mind, enhancing your mood, motivation to achieve each goal and pure joy as soon as you achieve each goal, whether it’s personal or professional goals!
Be Honest with YOURSELF: The key to preparing your mind for the New Year is to be very honest with yourself, about yourself. If your goal is to look like Beyonce in 3 months, yet, you’re 150 pounds heavier, your goal may first be to snack less and make healthier decisions with meals. Incorporate moderate walking or exercise into your routine. To take it even further, find out why you’re snacking in the first place. Some people overeat or snack due to boredom. If that’s the case, learn a new skill; language, musical instrument, etc. I’ve heard the saying, “An idle mind is the devil’s playground”. Being idle can definitely lead to being uninspired, unfulfilled and ultimately unhappy. Many people are emotional eaters. In this case, get to the root of that emotion and deal honestly with it, while visualizing your end goal.
Most often our goals aren’t reached because the end goal requires a lifestyle change first, which if not approached realistically can be discouraging. Then the uphill road becomes a mountain, thus, causing us to abort the process revisiting our shortcomings at the next New Year. See yourself in a very honest light; notating all of your strengths as well as weakness. Zoom in on what you wish to eliminate and what you would like to amplify. The only person who needs to see this is yourself, however, inviting a trustworthy person or persons can definitely give you a boost of confidence and support, which can lend to your success when you encounter a struggle.
Forgive Yourself and Others: Very often we carry a lot of our emotional baggage from one year to the next. We hold ourselves, as well as others, hostage to feelings of guilt, shame, failure and fear due to a past event or circumstance. We find ourselves frozen in time constantly thinking about it; the what ifs, the would have, should have or could haves as well as holding grudges for an action someone else made knowingly or unknowingly that caused us a great deal of pain. More than likely they’ve moved on unless we’re in the position of reminding them by holding it over their head.
I love the song “Big Girls” by Salt-N-Pepa, which is a wonderful piece to realign your mind to think more positively about self and the trials one experiences in life. “Big Girls” is not indicative of physical size, but of an attitude and mentality that’s heavy, in a good way. One of the lines in the song says, “Break the chains and shake the past”. More often than we may realize, we replay events, words, and situations over and over again our minds. This will surely stunt your New Year mindset if you’re floating about in the previous year or somewhere in your high school years thinking about who hurt you.
On the other end, we hold ourselves hostage to what we may have done to someone else, especially if they’re no longer alive. It’s difficult to shake that feeling of guilt when we know we’re in the wrong. Even if the person we hurt is no longer alive, we can certainly use it as a learning experience with those who are in our lives currently. The more we reflect on our actions towards others, the more we’ll consider how we go forth and how we think of ourselves.
Now is our chance to have the New Year we’ve been waiting for; to be the new person with a new way of thinking. This is our moment to throw away mediocre ways and embrace excellence. #POW