As the year rolls to an end, as it custom for me, I take time to reflect on battles won, blessings received, friends made, and the impact I have had on those around me. Most importantly, I take time to go through the junk I may have accumulated during the course of the year – the conference programme I’m still holding on to five months later, the pair of shoes I know I won’t wear ever again because they just made my feet sore, the non-directional associations I may have built and the habits I developed against better judgement.
What I have come to realize is that during the course of every year, we accumulate things – the things we need, the things we want, and the things other people tell us we should have – habits included. Some people tell us to be more dramatic in our approach when we want to confront someone who has hurt us (like we need to pull one of those cheaters show confrontations to prove we are not stupid); some people tell us we need to be more mellow in how we talk about our dreams, and of course others deposit the seed of self-doubt in us by pointing out the things we are not so great at. Whatever the case may be, the fact remains that we accumulate a lot of stuff- the necessary and the unnecessary, and it is important to shed some of the weight if we intend to win in the New Year.
So the big question remains: which weight should we lose and which should we keep? Like a Caribbean woman who is in love with her curves, we must know that while the stomach fat (figuratively speaking) has to go, the butt has to be nicely rounded, breasts perky and hips protruding. To win in 2017, I advise that you leave these behind.
#1 Self-doubt: I can write you a book about self-doubt and how crippling it is, because I have experienced it. Many people seem to stand firm, but one negative word from a person they believe is better than they are sends them into the pit of doubt, and causes them to forget about the pursuit they were so passionate about. If that’s you, it is time to reawaken the zeal and come back with a bang. Whatever anyone has said is not the final say. You may not be as good as they are, but you surely would not get there by giving up. Get up, dust yourself off and ease back into the path of your dream.
#2 Ex-shadowing: Like my darling Lipglossmaffia (check out her blog here) has been saying on Twitter recently, leave your exes alone! Stop attending their weddings, checking them out on Facebook, trying to learn more about their new girl, and trying to figure out how you can make them miserable. The relationship has ended. It is over. They have chosen to be with someone else; trust me, they probably did you a favor. Stop shadowing your ex everywhere. Let your ex be happy. Focus on what lies ahead because ahead is where your happiness is. Ahead is the only place to go. Stop standing still; stop looking back; stop watering the seed of bitterness. Move on.
#3 The leaf-on-a-lake mentality: Have you ever seen a leaf on a flowing lake? It goes wherever the lake goes. It is pushed in the direction of the lake irrespective of what the destination of the lake is. This is what many people have become in 2016, and are planning to continue with in 2017 – swayed by the opinions of friends, frenemies, colleagues, and even strangers, simply because they want to be accepted. If you cannot be accepted as you are by those you spend time with, you need new company. Sure, they are positive tweaks that can be made to your personality based on constructive conversations with friends; but that should not lead to a mob mentality. Don’t accept something is right because everyone around you says to. Don’t give up simply because the popular opinion is that you are about to tread a difficult path. The popular opinion is not necessarily the right one or the wise one for that matter. Be woke for your own sake. Don’t let others tell you how your life should play out.
#4 Gossip: There was a time in my life when I thought it was impossible to have conversations with my female friends without some juicy malicious gossip on the menu where we could tell everything we knew and make jest of whoever served themselves up as gossip-meat. Growing up however, I realized there are TONS of things to discuss without engaging in any form of gossip. I have spent a lot of time with my female buddies this year, and most of our discussions have circled around work, life, our aspirations, fashion, projects we are busy with, our fears, our pain, reassurance in God’s love, funny events, and the things that irk us. It made me realize I’d grown beyond petty; so grown that I am not bothered by any gossip where I’m the subject. I don’t even get pissed. If it’s true, I simply tell the messenger “Oh yea I did that” and I keep sipping my red wine, my daiquiri or anything that happens to tickle my taste buds that day. Leave gossip behind. It will do you a whole lot of good. It is such an unnecessary weight to carry with you, and even worse, it is a huge distraction from your own life. Discussing someone else’s drama while you don’t know what you will make of yourself in 2017? Leave that BS behind. You are not gossip girl.
#5 Comparison: The temptation to compare is so strong that simply telling you to stop comparing is not going to cut it. You must compare; by all means, do. But make sure you are comparing yourself with yourself. Where were you yesterday? Where are you now? Where are you heading? Have you moved from where you were yesterday in terms of emotional, psychological, and relational maturity? Even if you have only moved an inch, kudos to you! Now, focus on moving your desired amount of inches, centimetres, metres, or even kilometres in 2017. YOUR DESIRED AMOUNT, not Pete’s or Sally’s – Yours. This is a one-man race.
#6 High-maintenance relationships and friendships: Many people are pulled back from where they should really be because of high-maintenance relationships and friends. When I tell people that I see some of my closest buddies only once a month, they look surprised. Some people assume I am a recluse (don’t make me laugh). I learned years ago to not entertain high-maintenance relationships that are more of anchors than they are sails. The ‘you haven’t checked on me in two days’ friends, the ‘are we still friends? We only meet up once a month’ friends, the ones who are insecure when they hear your big dreams and make it seem like you are trying to relegate them to the background, the ‘I’m not ready to move ahead just yet and you shouldn’t move ahead without me’ relationships… whatever they are, leave them in 2016. You need to invest your time in productive circles and projects, and you need people who will support you, remain in your life and understand that you moving ahead in 2017 does not mean you are leaving them behind or cutting them off.
#7 The door-mat mentality: Just like the leaf-on-a-lake mentality, many people have the doormat mentality too. Sometimes it is from a place of love for the people around us. We tolerate their excesses and let them get away with things that upset us because we want to preserve the friendship or relationship. Believe me when I say the friendship will not last anyway, so you might as well leave it. Whatever you compromise yourself to keep, you will eventually lose, so don’t sell yourself short. Speak up, rock the boat. If things fall apart, let them look for another doormat. Recently, I read a quote on twitter that said:
“You can lie flat on the ground for people to walk all over you and they will still complain you are not flat enough”
If that doesn’t tell you anything, I don’t know what will.
#8 The need for external validation: Social media followers, number of likes on instagram, number of comments on facebook pictures… if any of these things make you feel valid in this world, honey, you need to wake up from your dream. I have been shocked in so many ways in 2016 by the extent people go to gain followers – nude pictures, fake stories, unnecessarily mean comments… the whole nine yards. News flash! The only validation you need is you. You need to love yourself first; without self-love, you can be reduced to a speck of dust by a targeted comment from a perfectly positioned person. Always remember: If you live for the compliments of others, you will one day die from their criticism.
#9 Aimless movements: These days, I see many people take pride in telling others how busy they are. The most common comment I have heard this year is “I am so busy”, and when I ask “with what?” I get a rambling of sorts that tells me ‘shucks this person is busy! But not really busy with a goal in mind”. I will admit that used to be me – busy chasing ten hens at once and hoping to catch all ten even though they are running in different directions. This is what I call aimless movements. Leave this in 2016. Define the goals you want to achieve in 2017! Don’t spend the whole year being busy and at the end, no one, including you can pinpoint what you were busy with. Define the goals; make sure they are realistic and chase after them. Make sure you don’t get distracted by the occasional bandwagon that’s heading nowhere in particular.
#10 Fear: I can tell you a thousand and one stories about fear – from when I left home to live in a foreign country at 16 to when I unknowingly enrolled myself at a University where everyone spoke a language I’d never heard, to the many adventures I have had in my life with the fear of failure always tugging at the corner of my heart. Fear does not leave, but you can choose to leave it behind. Fear does not say “Oh I chilled with Sandra in 2016, now I’m going to go chill with Lillian in 2017”. You will always be afraid but whatever you want to do, do it afraid (Like Joyce Meyer says). Remember fear is not a huge body builder that can beat you up and throw you off a cliff into an ocean where your body will never be discovered. Fear is an instinct that seeks to preserve you just as you are – no risks taken, no rewards received. Fear ensures that you stand still. Leave fear behind in 2016. Choose to do whatever you have set your mind to do. Have you seen people sky-diving from a plane for the first time? Do you think they are not afraid? They definitely are, but they do it anyway. They jump off the plane afraid. In 2017, take your big leaps afraid! The joy that comes after is AMAZING!
Wish you an amazing 2017 ahead. Thank you for reading motivation springs this year. Next year will be bigger and better. You are loved. XOXO