Stages of change

We talked yesterday about setting intentions and not necessarily sticking with them. You all know that I like microwave growth. When I set out to do something I want the “new me” to emerge quickly. If I decide I’m drinking 70oz of water a day, I want to do that now! Change doesn’t work that way. My therapist told me about the stages of change when I was becoming frustrated when I slipped back into old habits.

TherapistAid.com via Pintrest

Check out the guide above because it has been very helpful.

What stage of change are you in? Are you thinking about changing but haven’t made any moves yet? Have you started to make changes but nothing has really stuck? When I thought about what stage I was in, at the moment I was in the relapse phase. I don’t want you to get hung up on the words relapse. Its not necessarily a bad thing, especially if the change you are trying to make doesn’t involve anything dangerous. For example, I have been working on not over extending myself, that means being able to say no and not just doing things because I feel obligated. When I notice my calendar has started to get full again and I don’t want it to be then I have relapsed. Or if I say I’m not going to get on social media for 21 days, then I binge Twitter and Instagram when the insurrection happens, I relapsed.

Unfortunately, for many missing the mark is a part of the change process.

Sorry Kirby Howell Baptiste GIF by CBS All Access
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Sometimes you have to go through the relapse process several times before you are able to make the change stick. I think the relapse phase is important it shows you can not make the change on your own. It is a good reminder that you not only need God’s help but possibly an accountability partner to help you stick to what you want to do and check on you to make sure you don’t get off track.

Halle Berry Help GIF by Kidnap Movie
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The best goal I kept in 2020 was insuring that I posted every Friday. The main reason I kept that goal because I asked my friends to hold me accountable. I didn’t want to let them down. You also need community to help you with your goals but we will talk about that more next week.

If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Ecclesiastes 4:10

Look at the chart and determine where you are in the change process. Remember to give yourself grace and if you need help find someone you trust, and ask them.

Lessons from 2020

2020 is finally ending. Thank goodness! It wasn’t a bad year but I am glad that it is almost over. It has been interesting year for sure. I definitely learned a lot about myself and about other people. Here are some of the lessons that I learned.

Let go of things that don’t serve me, perfectionism and overthinking, just to name a few.

I am enough.

You can definitely have too much of a good thing.

Pour into people that pour into me.

It’s ok to say no.

I’m not responsible for the choices that anyone else makes.

Self care is not selfish.

Perfectionism is a form of procrastination.

Healing and growth are not linear.

Read the directions on hair and skincare products. It can be helpful.

Trying new things is good even if you suck at it.

Feel my feelings.

Feelings aren’t bad or good, they just are.

Shame is a tool of the devil to keep you from reaching your full potential.

Lean not on my own understanding.

I can break generational curses.

I don’t have to do everything. I can ask for help.

Reflection

The word I’m focusing on this week is reflection. 2020 was supposed to be the year of clarity. I remember everybody being so hype about 2020 coming, year of completion, year of clarity. Did those things happen for you? When I asked myself that question I had to say yes they did. 2020 did a lot of things for me that I certainly wasn’t expecting. I didn’t roll into the year feeling great. I didn’t feel grounded, I felt like I was just floating by trying to keep my head above water.

I went back and read my old journal from the beginning of this year and I had a lot of goals which I did end up accomplishing most of them. After reading my old journal, the biggest thing I noticed was that I felt a disconnect from God. I wasn’t feeling his presence. My emotions were very up and down. I also wasn’t going to church as much as I should and I wasn’t doing any bible study. I changed those things in the second half of 2020 for sure.

That’s the beauty in writing things down. January-March (pre-Covid) feels so long ago. I definitely feel differently about it now then I did when I was in it. While I felt a little lost going into 2020, by the time the end of December got here, I recognized I needed to make changes going into 2020. I wrote down all the things I wanted to do and I eventually did them. It just didn’t seem like they were happening fast enough. I didn’t really start implementing the changes I wanted to do until April 2020. I was forced to change because of Covid but it was for my good. Quality takes time.

I also made a vision board and found scripture to match up with the goals that I had. It was super helpful.

As we finally! finish up 2020 this is the time to reflect on what you have done and prepare for what you are doing next.

The great thing about change is that you don’t have to wait until the New Year to do it. You can start right now, today. Even if you only move a centimeter in the right direction. Its movement, it counts.

Ways to go from planning to action

I hear a lot of people who talk about they read something good in a book, or heard it on a podcast or YouTube video but they don’t know how to execute it in real life. It can seem overwhelming when you have learned a lot of information but you are unsure how to implement it. Here is a list of things to try. The list is long so you can figure out what works best for you, it may be on thing or a combination. Keep trying until something sticks!

Write it down-Hearing something is not always enough. Jot a note in your phone, in a journal, somewhere you can reference back. Your brain remembers things better when you write them down.

Do one thing at a time– You probably hear good stuff all the time. You can’t do all the things, at the same time. Pick one good thing you heard and see if it works.

Carve out time with yourself -How busy are you? Have you set assign time to get things done? Are you exhausted after work? What changes do you need to make to give yourself more free time?

citrus and style: How to Make Time for Yourself in College
Citrus and Style

Change your thought process– even if you have started and stopped before, believe that this time will be different. You are different. You are coming at this with renewed energy and focus.

Treat yourself how you would treat a friend-Give yourself a break. Remember you are doing the best you can.

Set timers/alarms on your phone-this is a great way to get an external reminder. I set an alarm on my phone for 3pm everyday to write. I don’t need it anymore but it was great in helping me establish a routine.

Put post its up in your house or car to remind yourself of the things you learned

Make a Note to Do Great Things! — The Memo
Being Mary Jane

Get rid of distractions-Set blocks on your phone for notifications. I put my Instagram and Facebook on a timer and when my time is up thats it. My friend just completely deletes the app off her phone. Whatever it takes.

Get to the root of the problem what are you afraid of?

The fear of success and the fear of judgement are REAL — Brigitte Linford

Only person stopping you is you. Do you think that it won’t Really happen? Is what you want Gods plan or yours? You may need to double check. Do it despite how you feel, the more you do it you’ll start to get used to it.

The key thing with all these strategies is being intentional. Its waking up everyday and deciding that I am going to do better than the day before. You already did the first part which is the research. You were able to look into resources, that’s a good thing. Celebrate that small win. Now you just have to do the next step. The harder step, which is putting in the work. I believe in you. You got this!

inspiring red carpet GIF
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Do you need to say anything?

Sensible people control their temper; they earn respect by overlooking wrongs.
Proverbs 19:11 NLT
I know this is something I need to work on. I never thought I was a sensitive person and I still don’t think so. My hormones are definitely all over the place considering I just had a baby, a little over 30 days ago. I think people forget that. I probably am more sensitive and I already think too much so the last few weeks have been challenging. I was pretty upset with family members for certain comments they have made or jokes. I didn’t know what to do or how to handle it and then this scripture popped in my reading. I felt like I was hit with a ton of bricks.

fight punch GIF by Harlem Globetrotters
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God doesn’t believe in confrontation all the time. Everything you are thinking doesn’t need to be said. There is something to be said about letting things go. I have never seen this verse in the bible before but I understand the sentiment. It takes a big person to let things go. It’s like turning the other cheek in an argument which is much harder for me because I used to like to argue.

This scripture is also good to keep in mind when we are thinking about being a good partner. My husband often reminds me that I don’t need to say what I’m thinking. I’m getting better. Now if I could only control my face. One thing at time Lord, one thing at a time.

Straight Face GIF by memecandy
a common facial expression I make. Giphy.com
Say What Excuse Me GIF by Election 2020
another one of my faves. Giphy.com

Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.
Colossians 3:13 NLT

Update: I wrote the above words about a year and a half ago. I still agree with this sentiment. Probably even more so now then I did a year ago. I have been working on controlling my tongue, not only monitoring what I say but also how I say it. I know this is something that I am going to need constantly work on. My mouth often moves a lot faster than my brain. I am better than I was in high school or college but I know I can do better.

I think now more than ever we need to be careful of what we are saying and how we are saying it. Everyone seems to be ultra aware and ready to pick a fight over anything. I am not saying to not stand up for injustice. I am also not saying to question peoples intentions. I am saying to pick and choose your battles. Especially with your loved ones. Our patience always seems the shortest with the people who know us the best.

The next time your MIL questions the cleanliness of your house or your grandpa says you look fat, or your husband asks you a question he Knows the answer to, think before you respond.

60 days is plenty of time

I stole this from my friend, who stole it from Instagram.

My friend dropped this in the group chat the other day and it was great reminder. Even though we are at the end of the year doesn’t mean God can’t show out. Its funny in our human mind it feels like there isn’t enough time left to start something new or break a bad habit or let something go. Not true.

New living translation.

With that in mind, I decided to pull out the vision board I made at the beginning of the year.

my vision board.

Did you make a vision board this year? Do you still look it at? If not pull it out. Now is a good time to evaluate and see the progress you are making on your vision. I completely understand that this year probably looks nothing like you had originally planned it to be. That’s ok. This is a great time to make adjustments if you need to.

One thing I plan on doing with my vision board before the year is over, is finding scriptures to match the pictures and phrases I cut out. I believe it helps to have a biblical backing that way you know what you want is confirmed in the word.

I also need to tweak some things I put on there. I was in a different headspace back in January/February then now. This is ok. We are not people who are meant to be static, change is fluid. We aren’t locked in to anything.

I have something easier for you if you don’t feel like making a vision board. I wrote out a prayer and then I found a scripture to match my prayer. Having that scripture to go along with my prayer helps me when I feel like what I am praying for isn’t happening or its moving slow. Having the scripture as the foundation lets me know that what I am asking for is in God’s will because it is in his word. For the word of God will not fail. Luke 1:37


Prayer

We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better. We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy, always thanking the Father. He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to his people, who live in the light. Colossians 1:9-12 NLT https://bible.com/bible/116/col.1.12.NLT

God please give me wisdom to be a good wife, mom and leader. Help me instead of taking on my friends problems pray for them more. Help me count my blessings and be thankful for everything I have. Help me not compare my life to anyone else’s. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Unlearning

One thing I’ve picked up during this odd year of 2020 is unlearning.

What have you had to unlearn? For me it’s been a lot. I used some of these thought processes for protection to make sure I wouldn’t get hurt. Im learning to be more vulnerable, to trust more, and I realize I don’t need to think this way anymore.

1. Everything is not what it seems. Sometimes our perceptions are wrong. We are making decisions based on limited knowledge, our bias, our feelings. All those things could potentially not be right. Keeping this in the back of my mind has helped me look at things from all angles before making a decision.

2. Everything is not black or white or even gray. I was very much a person who thought things were one way or not. No shade but, it is what it is. In the this world of COVID-19 I’ve learned things are not always one way or another. There could be a third option that I never even considered.

Voting Michelle Obama GIF by Joe Biden
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3. Everyone doesn’t have to move at the same pace. I used to think I was behind everybody in spiritual knowledge, in having kids, fancy careers. However I have to remind myself that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. God put me in this place. It’s not a race. I’m not competing with anyone, not even myself. There are no timelines or schedules because God’s timing is always perfect.

4. What works for you, may not work for me. This is another small thing but changing my thinking has been huge. The first thing that made me think of this is the natural hair movement. You can watch tons of tutorials and it still not turn out right. Follow someone’s regimen to the letter and still not get the changes you were expecting. What worked for them may not work for me. That can be applied to just about anything in life.

5. People aren’t judging me. People aren’t looking at me. Or even thinking about me. Folks are more concerned about themselves than they are with what I’m doing, wearing etc. Letting this go allows me to live more free.

6. Its never too late. For anything. Ever. The older you get the more people start to tell you your too old for this or that. Not true. It’s never too late. If your good, it’s going to come through in what you do. You want to make a career switch? Do it! You want to move out of state? Do it! Nothing is holding you back but you.

These lessons have been huge. They may seem like simple changes but they represent gigantic changes in mindset. As we get to the last quarter of the year think about how you might need to change your mindset. Its never too late.

Its my birthday!

33 years I have been rotating around the sun. I don’t feel 33 years old. I am not sure what that is supposed to feel like. I don’t feel as old as the people I knew were this age when I was younger.

I am excited for 33. I pray that this year is truly my best year yet. I say that every year and then the end of that year comes and I don’t necessarily feel that way. I told someone the other day that even year birthdays have not be great for me, so I hope this year is better. My 30th birthday was not great. I didn’t do anything to celebrate and tried to through something together last minute that wasn’t representative of my awesome party throwing skills. I don’t have an issue getting older. I still look like I am in college and I know this to be true because I work with high school students and there isn’t a day that doesn’t go by that someone is mistaking me for a student.

My biggest issue with birthdays is that they are a reminder of all the things that I still need to get done. I don’t feel that way so much this year. I finally have been obdienet to all the things God wanted me to do. That right there just takes a weight off my shoulders. I still don’t have a baby but for the most part I am ok with that. I am working on TRUST. That is what God wants me to do.

I have a great trip planned for my birthday this year which I am excited about. A girls trip and trip with my husband. Right now I am currently in Toronto living it up.

32 is was not as bad as I initially thought it was. I made a list in April of all things I wanted before the summer was over I had those things. I would have never imagined that it would happen so quickly and with little intervention from me. God set those things in motion. I grew a lot last year, not necessarily because I wanted to, but because I had too. It has made me better though. My blog has grown. My writing has gotten better and I have taken additional steps to grow in my craft. I am a creative. Who would have thought?!

 

It’s not you, its me

Such a cliche right? I know but cliches are well known for a reason. It definitely fits my situation.

I have been pretty M.I.A most of the winter and spring. I usually hideout during the winter just because it’s cold and get over that post holiday hump but this year was different.

So many people had awesome things going on around me, new babies, new jobs, new houses and we didn’t have anything new happening. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing or surprising. We have been cruising in a good space for a while, we have found a good rhythm. Its hard to admit you are jealous or envious of your friends or family or coworkers. I don’t want to use the word envious or jealous because those are usually described as negative emotions. It’s more I’m happy for you and sad for me. Nobody wants that kind of energy at their birthday party, housewarming, BBQ, etc. I never want to be a Debbie Downee when I go somewhere so I just decided to stay away. That probably wasnt the best way to do it but hey we do what we know.

I know somebody who has had to watch other people around her have kids for years and she has been nothing but supportive. She is older than me so maybe it takes years to grow to that level of maturity. I admire that because I definitely couldn’t do it. I am not there yet but I’m working on it. God is making it more and more uncomfortable to be in this box. I haven’t been to a baby shower in years but now the people having babies are getting closer and closer to me. No choice but to go. I’m also trying to grow. I know I should be doing better, it is just hard.

The next time you haven’t heard from someone you care about in a while, reach out. I appreciate all the invites I got even though I wasn’t going.

The biggest reason now that’s holding me back from jumping back into the fray of where I used to hang out is because I don’t want to explain what I have been doing or why I wasn’t around.

That’s probably selfish of me. Would you feel like you wanted an explanation? Would you accept its not you, it’s me?

Not in crisis

I felt like at the beginning of the year I was always talking to God about something and he was talking to me. I felt like there were some things he wanted me to work on and I was definitely going through a pruning phase. I do not feel like that now. I don’t know if the devil is messing with me because things are going really well. I have still been doing all the things I normally do for the most part. I was sick all last week, so I didn’t do much reading or writing because it physically hurt to do so. I have caught up on my Bible in a year plan. Thankfully I wasn’t too far behind. Something seems like its missing though. Don’t get me wrong, nothing is wrong just something seems off. Things on paper are great but I feel distant from God.

I know as always that is not him that moved but me. I know that I have to be intentional about keeping the fire in our relationship going. I know also not to trust my feelings because feelings will lead you astray. I don’t want my relationship with God to be me moving from crisis to another. I want to continually feel his presence. If I think hard enough I am sure there are some things I am supposed to be doing that I have not done. Not many though. Thank goodness! I have been down that road before and it can be a miserable one. I also know I have been spending a lot of scrolling through Instagram. It was the only thing I could really do on the internet while I was sick. It was mindless and took no effort. I am going to make some tweaks and see how I feel next. My creative juices don’t seem to be flowing as much either which is why I haven’t been writing. I am going to write a separate post about that.

Do you ever feel just a little off? If you do, how did you get over it?