Write it down on real paper with a real pencil. And watch shit get real.

– Erykah Badu

I know, before you get at me like: “what words?” because I haven’t posted on the blog much this year, let me clarify: This year I poured a lot of words into other projects, and I honestly had a hard time formulating words to share with you here on this platform because I write about my life, and it was happening a lot faster than I can type. Plus, a lot of the things I experienced this year, either left me quite speechless, came out in spurts in poems (#saywaughsaidit), on my Instagram feed, or I shared them directly with the people who inspired those words.

But also, there were words I was consumed by. Words that I began to live by.

Last year, right before the countdown for 2015, I came across a post on Instagram from @KareemTaylor. He asked people to send him an email with a few goals they have in mind and he would send them suggestions on how to achieve them. I sent him the following 10 words:

  • Healthy
  • Fearless
  • Speaker
  • Financially Fit
  • Author
  • Spiritually Balanced
  • Motivator
  • Traveler
  • Role Model
  • Performer

 

I meditated on these words (I suck at meditating but I tried).

I wrote out his suggestions in my own handwriting to make it real.

I wrote them out again on index cards with actions to correspond with his suggestions and put it on my desk.

I carried a notebook with those words in my bag almost every day.

I tried and failed at achieving the ideals for all of these words A LOT!

There was the time I spent months in the gym lifting instead of doing cardio and ballooned to my highest weight with no muscle to show for it.

There were the many flight deals I looked at but never booked.

There was the time I had to push back the release of my first book twice.

There were more than enough days when my bank account looked more hit than fit.

There was the time I tried to be fearless by starting a YouTube channel. This was huge because I HATE being in front of the camera, I speak a mile a minute, and YouTube is a mean place where people make sport out of making fun of people.  I begged my sister to help me make my first video, and after over one hundred takes, all I got was a blooper reel. (See Below. Warning it’s not pretty. I am a writer. Like I said, I love keyboards and hate being in front of cameras. Maybe I’ll give it another shot this year with better lighting, a makeup/ hair person, and an actual topic.)

 

 

Now, as I’m watching everyone make their vision boards for next year, or making some moves before the clock strikes 12 at the beginning of the New Year, I find myself staring at those words again. I remember hating those words every time I thought I failed. I thought they were mocking me.  But I kept them displayed not as a motivation but as a reminder that I made a promise to myself to make changes.

And I did.

I can honestly say that I have made significant dents in each of the things I set out to achieve.

I am healthier.

As of now, I’ve been going to the gym, watching what I eat, and slowly but surely losing weight for 75 days straight.

I’m Financially Fit.

My financial muscle is getting some definition. I’m making “gains” as my bodybuilder friends would say.  I’m going into the New Year with a bank account that’s not quite empty. That’s an achievement after buying Christmas gifts for a big family, and paying all of my bills.

I’m an Author.

My book came out, and I fall in love with it every time I open the pages.

I’m a Traveler.

I didn’t travel across the ocean this year but I crossed many ponds, potholes, and puddles while putting hundreds of miles on the boyfriend’s car during road trips every weekend.  (Yes, I got a boyfriend this year. This was the first year that a man wasn’t on the list and I actually got one. Ha! More on that in later posts.)

I’m a Performer and Speaker.

I was asked to be a reader at an amazing event, and I performed my poetry on several stages.

I’m a Motivator and Role Model.

I didn’t achieve this online with YouTube but I did face-to-face with my students who I’ve taught dance, Taekwondo, and Theater/Creative Writing throughout the school year.

I’m Spiritually Balanced.

You read the line about meditation above. I’m working on it. But I also started attending church once in a while, which I haven’t done in years. Most importantly, I’m taking time to watch the signs around me, and listen to words that float in between human silences.

I’m Fearless.

Simply because I attempted to succeed at all of the above. I was and still am terrified of everything on this list.

The best thing about these words are they are actionable. They are not mantras, they are goals. They are ongoing goals. I don’t plan to change any of them for my focus for the upcoming year because I’m a work in progress. Goals have tiers. And because of them there are less tears when I look back and way more hope when I look forward.

(Well, I’ll add one more word: Filmmaker. Stay tuned for that.)


 

Final words: I just want to send some gratitude to Kareem Taylor. This post is not an endorsement but a thank you for being a pivotal part in each of the steps I took to enhance every aspect of my life this year. He wrote a book this year too, and I enjoyed it. Feel free to check it out.

 

 

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