In the wake of the new year many of us ponder the notions and anticipations of what can we do to be better. If you’re like me, a continuous learner, one who is constantly looking for avenues that are more gratifying as well as instrumental to self-improvement, then you too find yourself faced with this idea. The question is posited by whether or not one should set a so-called new year’s resolution. How many times, have I pledged to begin the year by the resolve 1) to get healthier 2) to exercise more, 3) to eat better, 4) drink more water, 5) gain control over my finances, 6) become debt free, oh and the latest is, 7) I will have multiple streams of income in 2021! Hey, and the list goes on and on. If you can relate to any of these proclamations, then you like me, have said, to hell with the resolutions, I will pledge just to do better this year. Seems we don’t want to waste time with needless resolutions, they never work anyhow, or do they? I’ll leave that thought right there.
I vaguely recall my thoughts at the beginning of 2020, I was ever so cautious as to say it was “THE” year for new beginnings as most said it would be, just the same as I was hesitant to proclaim, “I will be glad when 2020 is over”. Afterall, I’m a realist, I had sense enough to know and understand we had no way of fathoming what was to come in the days ahead. Sure 2020 was met with some seemingly unsurmountable challenges, let me be clear, death of family and friends was all around us and formidably so. In fact, 2020 was life shattering and life altering for almost everyone I know.
2020 was a year we won’t ever forget. As someone so near and dear to me always phrases, “who would have ever thunk it?!” I don’t know about you, but prior to the corona virus, I could not have imagined living in a pandemic in my wildest dreams. Yet if you’re alive, like me, we did live through, we survived and we made it. Yes, it was hard, it was unreal, it was like a dream. In fact, more than that, nightmare-ish. But like bad dreams, we shake ourselves awake, we get up, and we get passed it, we navigated through it.
So back to my original thought of better days ahead and how to get there. If the last year hasn’t taught us anything, we know for sure we can live without some things. So, how about we consider this, look at the present, embrace it, cherish it. We can begin by doing that of which we have control over. So, what does that mean specifically? I narrowed it down to six key focal points.
· Develop a relationship with a power higher than yourself. For me that power is God. There was absolutely no way, I couldn’t have made it without the help of God. There were so many times I had to pray and talk God to remain sane.
· Change your mindset. Learn to be intentional about your purpose, goals, and thoughts. Focus on what you want to accomplish, then set goals and be mindful of how to get there. Stay true to yourself and recognize immediately the triggers that set you off track. Stay on course.
· Set clear boundaries for yourself. Oftentimes, I fail at this, I do so much for others that I lose sight of what I should be doing for myself, when you set boundaries you are simply saying this is what I will and will not put up with. Learn to say no and mean it, do not allow bullying of any kind from anyone. Bullying is when someone attempts to persuade you into doing something against your principles or beliefs by means of intimidation, strength, or power. Recognize it for what it is and guard yourself.
· Determine a vision for your life. Realize your friends / family are not your fans, when you get focused on your goals and what you want out of life, don’t get upset when your family and friends are not there to support you. There are support groups you can join that share the same vision as you, choose to join them and be great! You’ll be much happier you did. Also, don’t be so quick to cut good friends off when they upset you or don’t see things your way, try to take a step back, look at the man in the mirror and understand your role in the scenario, what’s best for you, may not be what’s best for them. Know this, there is always more than one way to do a thing. It doesn’t always have to be your way!
· Remember the proverb. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try, again. This simply means, if you fail, don’t give up, keep trying. My daddy used to say, “nothing beats a failure, but a try.” Maya Angelou said, “…then nothing beats a trial but a failure. Give it everything you’ve got.” You don’t have to be in competition with anyone. Real life is not Facebook, put in the work, you’ll get there, it’s not the quantity of ‘likes’ you get rather it’s the quality of the work. So, put in the work.
· Be patient and kind. Now that goes a long way and says a lot. Be mindful of how you treat others. Exude gratitude for what is. Recognize your negative triggers, if/when you find yourself in tense situations don’t be afraid to hit your emotional mental pause button and take a time out. You don’t have to respond to negative emotions. You can control your reactions, it takes practice, but you can do it.
Afterall, you don’t want to say or do something you can’t take back from the universe, losing a good family member or friend is not worth it. God made us all uniquely different, if you think something is off with someone, guess what, I’m sure they think the same about me and you.
All in all, there are better days ahead, and the Bible teaches us that this too shall pass. This message is by no means meant to be a Bible study; however, my thoughts do come from my frame of reference and of course the Bible is a part of my upbringing and my overall being as a human. Inasmuch as these thoughts and points are mine, and do not encompass all aspects of which principles to live by to attain better days, they are a point of reference in which to start. Better days is a mindset of which I do believe will come.