11 Affirmations to End the Year With

As the year begins to rapidly come to an end, I felt like keeping things light and share some end of the year affirmations that I've found. We have to keep that same energy that we had at the beginning of the year despite how difficult it may feel.

  • I am grateful
  • I release worry from my mind, body and soul ( found here )
  • Today I did my best ( found here )
  • I am centered and focused ( found here )
  • I am committed to the kind of life I envision ( found here )
  • i am at peace. I am loved ( found here )
  • I welcome and embrace all lessons today ( found here )
  • The right people are searching me out - Joel Osteen
  • new opportunities, new levels are in my future - Joel Osteen
  • Divine connections are coming my way - Joel Osteen
  • I am safe ( found here )

That's it! Short and sweet. I know it is all too easy to put a lot of pressure on ourselves to finish the year strong. We begin to race the calendar. As much as I want you to keep that same New Year spirit over the next few weeks. It is more important to me that you do not burn out or beat yourself up.

What are some of your affirmations? Which ones will you be using from this list?

Getting Through Creative Blocks

This month we’ll be talking about “creative funks” also known as creative blocks. 99U lists the following 7 types of creative blocks.  

  1. Mental - where you get trapped by your own thinking. You’re so locked into a familiar way of looking at the world that you fail to see other options.
  2. Emotional - aced with the unknown, you may be scared of what you’ll discover or reveal about yourself.
  3. Work habits that don’t work -  you’re just trying to work in a way that isn’t compatible with your creative process
  4. Personal problems -  it’s hard to concentrate if you’re getting divorced/ dealing with toddlers/battling an addiction/falling out with your best friend/grieving someone special/moving house/locked in a dispute with a neighbor.
  5. Poverty - this is not limited to finances, could be time poor, knowledge poor, poor network, short of equipment
  6. Overwhelm - You’ve taken on too many commitments, you have too many great ideas, or you’re overwhelmed by the sheer volume of incoming demands and information.
  7. Communication breakdown - sometimes you get blocked by phantoms — merely imagining your work being booed by audiences and mauled by the critics. And sometimes this happens for real and you have to deal with it.

Using this list I can acknowledge that the two blocks I often experience are emotional barriers and work habits that don’t work.  I as of lately I have been feeling as if I’m losing my skills and I anticipate my drawings not turning out how I imagined them to and I would have wasted time trying and failing. I often set myself up mentally to discourage me from even trying. As far as working habits that do not work, between my commute to and from work, actually working  and podcasting, it has been very challenging for me to be as consistent with my art as I would like. I procrastinate a lot. 

I'm currently in a creative block and I’m pushing myself out of it. One of the first things I did to help me to start moving past this was acknowledging my feeling or lack of feelings and call them by name.  This prevents me from lying to myself and helps me to hold myself accountable. Here are 99U’s solutions for each block

  1. Mental - you need to change your mind
  2. Emotional - need to face the worst 
  3. Work habits hay don’t work - take a step back and look at how you’re working and where the pain points are
  4. Personal Problems - Solve the problem or find a way to cope. Maybe taking a short term break. Helpful to treat your work as refuge.
  5. Poverty - Either you save up time/ money or other resources or try to achieve as much as possible with what you have
  6. Overwhelm - time to cut down, start saying "no" put ideas in folder called "back burner", block off down time
  7.  Communication breakdown - beef up your influencing marketing or networking skills.

For the month of October I decided to take part in a 31 day, daily art challenge called #Inktober. All you have to do is post a sketch or drawing everyday and use the hashtag. For the last few years the creator has provided a prompt. Si I've been following that to push myself out of this creative funk. Even if I miss a day I double up and I'm only a few days shy of completing the challenge. Outside of that I was gifted a story prompt book where combining 3 cards you are to make a story based on what they say. For instance card1 " after many failed attempts, card 2 "a tin man" card 3 "buys a bicycle". So using these three things you have to create a story. This has helped me to think creatively as well. I've challenged myself to write at least 2 stories a month from this book. If you're a writer, photographer or just about anything I'm sure there's probably a challenge or "prompt" for you to help get back to where you need to be.

I think between these two exercises I'll be making progress and back into a creative mindset again. I do not put too much pressure on myself by setting really ambitious goals. I'm trying to succeed and I know I'm liable to make falling short feel like a bigger thing than it it. For others maybe instead of a 30/31 day challenge try 3 days, 5 days, 7 then work your way up. You you want to push yourself out of your comfort zone however you have to get comfortable again in your zone, that takes some grace and being kind to yourself.

How do you get through creative blocks? 

Resources

Photography Challenges | Writing Challenges | Art Challenges

 

 

Self Lovin

This month’s Motivation was came to me as we were recording our upcoming episode “ Pretty Hurts”. The episode was inspired by Beyonce’s song and we talked a lot about body image and how we perceive ourselves. If you know me you should know that I am a huge advocate for self love and self care and that is why I wanted to highlight a few self love/ self care influencers. 

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First influencer is Alex Elle. I discovered her Tumblr a years ago and was immediately drawn into her writing. I also follow her on Twitter where she shares a lot of affirmations and Instagram where she has migrated her moments of transparency for others. She is an author and has a few books out that I'll link at the end of this post. Her writing creates a space that Black women can find comfort in, however it is not to be consumed exclusively by Black women. Alex shares journal and aspiration challenges across her social media platforms and has a podcast "hey, girl" where she talks with people that inspire her. I chose to share Alex because I've saved a few of her affirmations and have hung them up as well as participated in her challenges and I deeply appreciate the vulnerability in her writing. 


Next up is Francheska aka HeyFranHey.  Fran is one of the OG natural & wellness youtubers. I discovered her on Tumblr as well. Every post of hers that came up on my dashboard were super informative and simplistic I was like "let me just follow this chick and see what she is about." I briefly met her about 5 years ago at a "Those Girls are Wild" event here in NYC. Since then I've watched Fran become a significant digital influencer all while contributing to inform her growing tribe on all things wellness. She Cohosts a wellness podcast called " The Friendzone" where they discuss various topics to promote mental health and awareness. Like Alex she shares journal prompts, reflections and various exercises for the listeners to do. Fran is such a giving person that shares so much information, resources, products and knowledge, I continue to learn a lot from her. Fran is like THE definition of self care. 


Lastly, I have forever friend in my head Andrea Lewis. I've been a fan of Andrea since her Degrassi days and when I came across her tumblr I was ecstatic (clearly Tumblr was the plug). I then learned that she and a friend had a youtube channel series called "Those Girls are Wild". I loved it. They were just like my friends. Whenever they had events in NYC I made sure to attend. Since then Andrea as grown to create 2 webseries "Black Actress" and "Beyond Complicated". With all of this going on she also launched a more personal youtube series " Self Love Saturdays". As you can imagine every Saturday she drops a gem for us. I strongly advice watching these three videos if you are starting your self love journey. If you're further along in your journey then maybe these can be a jumpstart for you . 


- Resources -

Alex Elle

Website: alexelle.com

Instagram | Twitter | Podcast | Blog

HeyFranHey

Website: heyfranhey.com

Instagram | Twitter | Podcast | YouTube

Andrea Lewis

Website: missandrealewis.com

Instagram | Twitter  | YouTube


- Reflections -

  1. What does "self love" & "self care" look to you?
  2. How do you practice each?
  3. What are some ares you can be show more love & care to yourself?

That's Me, Ms. 20 Something

Like many others I have been listening to Sza's CTRL album non stop since she released it. Although it is hard for me to pick a favorite or top 3 or 5, with my birthday approaching there is one song that amplifies my usual birthday reflections and that is "20 Something"

In short Sza shares on this song that she hasn’t “accomplished” things that she probably should have by now as well as expressing concerns of losing friends and life after one’s 20s

I love that my birthday falls at this point of the year. It provides me with a mid calendar check in. This month’s motivation I will be reflecting on this last year as well as setting out some intentions for my new year ahead.  

What have been the high and low points of the past year?

Highs - Hands down traveling to Greece & Costa Rica. Two beautiful places where I grew as a person and gained a deeper understanding of self. I met my new baby cousin, we had a successful podcast event.

Lows - experienced some lows in dating that took me out of character a few times. I also experienced health complications and a few family scares.

What kind of maturity or experience have you gained throughout the year?

I have had to really pick and choose my battles this year. I had to practice speaking up for myself in the moment as well as discernment. Though I felt that I always owned my actions this past year I really had others hold me accountable for my actions in ways that forced me to reflect on my communication habits and how to be better. 

What are your intentions for next year?

My main intention is to not settle for anything thats half assed. I don’t want to half ass anything and I don’t want to keep that vibe. Im ready to push my art back out there and to let it drive me for a bit. 

In various ways I thought I would be a bit farther than I am now, that I would have had certain experiences by now and that I would’ve obtained certain things by now that I haven’t The “lack” of these things trips me up often, SPECIALLY around my birthday however I know that for the most part this is apart of being a 20 Something. 

Below you can check out Sza’s song and reflect on some questions as a mid year check in. Thanks! 


Reflections

  • Where has the time gone? What have you spent the most time doing?
  • Are you living up to your potential?
  • How does another year sound?
  • What are your intentions for next year?
  • What would I like to have happen in my life between now and my next birthday?

When Things Don't Go As Planned

I'm not sure if I'm a type A or B personality or if there are even more letters to it than those. I'm not sure if it is a "cancer" thing, an INFJ or some other kind of personality identifying thing. I'm a planner. A lot of my friends are also planners and my mother is a "just in case something happens you should be prepared" kind of woman. This is a double sided sword of a trait to have. In our recent episodes with Candace of Little Miss Entertainment podcast I shared the contrast of my college expectation to its reality as well as my expectations for post college life and how it actually turned out. Even in my last Mo•tivation post I shared how my expectations for the healing retreat differed from what I experienced.


My mom has raised me to be PROACTIVE instead of REACTIVE. One of the slogans for being a girl scout is to "Be Prepared". When it comes to writing Mo•tivation I always draft and outline and finesse the structure. I usually have 3, 6, 9 month goals as well as 1yrs, 3yr and 5 yr goals. I sound a little excessive right? Maybe? I like to have a general idea of where I'm going and I like to feel reassured that I have what I need to take me there or that I'm on track to acquire it along the way.


Most recently, I've been planning a trip since Nov 2016. I was working with a travel agent, and every few weeks sending out information to everyone I invited. This week I bought the plane tickets only to cancel them within the 24hr grace period. I concluded the trip had fallen apart. There are family things going on and to force this trip knowing some members would not be able to make it thus not being the trip I planned, I had to give it up. I had to accept that there were a lot of moving pieces that were not in my control. If I wanted to have the experience I wanted it was going to have to be at another time. I was sad and disappointed however I took the L.


Depending on how off track things end up going, I usually have some kind of meltdown or I shutdown and withdraw from communication for a bit. In these moments I try to breathe and remind myself that is in't the end of the world. This is not something easy to do but it helps me to at least focus my thoughts when I feel like I have too many swarming around. I went to my homegirl Google for some times to share with you on how to deal when things do not go as planned.

Here are a few reminderss from 18 Reminders You Need When Things Don’t Go Your Way

  • Flexibility in life is crucial.  Sometimes the best moments happen unplanned and the greatest regrets happen by not reaching exactly what was planned.

  • Unexpected events may create physical pain, but they do not in themselves create suffering.  Emotional resistance creates suffering.  Stress happens when your mind resists what is.  Thus, the only real problems in your life are your mind’s resistance to life as it unfolds.

  • Wonderful gifts are rarely wrapped the way we expect.

  • Life will inevitably surprise you again… in some unimaginable way.  So at the very least, don’t assume that you’re stuck with the way things are right now.  You aren’t.  Life changes every single moment, and so can you.

And here are some things to do to keep you going from When Things Don’t Go As Planned: Transform Disappointment into Action

  • Explore your original expectations surrounding the goal.
    • was this expectation realistic? Was it well thought out? What was motivating the desired outcome to begin with? Did we do the steps that one might reasonably expect to do to experience this desired outcome?
  • Make a decision.

    • continue on the same path despite outcome? change the path to get to desired outcome? change the outcome?

  • Install some new expectations.

    • ake sure we toss out the old expectations and replace them with new, updated, and perhaps more informed (or more realistic) versions.

Reflection

  1. How do you handle when things don't go as planned?
  2. What's one thing you used to do that you've stopped doing?
  3. What is one thing that you picked up that has been effective for you?