Raise your hand if you’ve stayed diligent to your New Year’s resolutions!
No, really … I’ll wait.
While some of you are proudly throwing both hands in the air, ecstatic you’ve stuck to your guns thus far, I’m willing to wager that a large portion of you (*ahem* myself included) have fallen off just a bit (OK, maybe completely). Either way, get ready to get back on track or find the inspiration to stick to your goals for the remainder of the year.
June is here, and aside from being the start of the summer, it’s also the midway point of the year. As the temperature rises, and life slows down just a little bit, now is the perfect time to reflect on the goals or intentions you set at the beginning of 2012 and recommit yourself to the cause.
Back in January, many of us set out to improve our lives. Whether we intended to get healthier, save money, pursue a degree, or fall in love, we set goals or charted our visions for the year. Because we love our readers (and because I can always use a reminder myself), I’ve compiled a list of 20 things that can help us all achieve our goals this year. Even if you’ve been slippin’, it’s not too late!
Career: Despite the rough economy, you can still be successful in your chosen career if you follow a few simple tips.
Tip #1: Go Back to School. Even if you hate your day job, going back to school — even part time — can garner a huge return on investment. Check out community colleges to brush up on or add new skills to your repertoire without breaking the bank.
Tip #2: Read Up. If you can’t afford to take college courses, or if you just don’t want to sit in a classroom, one easy way to make yourself more marketable is by learning a new skill. Hit the bookstore or library and teach yourself some new tricks.
Tip #3: Find a Mentor. Want to break into a certain field, but don’t have the skills? Find a mentor and ask if you can shadow her (or be her assistant). Even if you don’t get paid for working with her, the experience, her knowledge, and the connections you will build will be worth more than any entry-level gig.
Tip #4: Network Like a Pro. Because being successful is not only about what you know, but also who you know, networking is a must. From company-sponsored happy hours that net you a little face time with the higher-ups, to professional organization mixers, you should always be open (and prepared) to shine in front of those who can make or break your career. Keep the convo light, but professional, and always keep business cards on hand.
Health: We’ve all heard the statistics: Americans are getting unhealthier by the year. Whether you’re thin or on the thicker side, being healthy is essential to a happier, longer life.
Tip #1: Stay Active. If hitting the gym isn’t your thing, find other (fun!) ways to stay active. Perhaps try kickboxing, hiking, or jogging, or dance your way to great health by taking Zumba, African, or Salsa dancing classes. Bottom line, the faster you find something you love to do, the more likely you will be to stick to it. Now move it!
Tip #2:: Eat to Live. I know, I know, food can taste oh so delicious, especially after a stressful day. However, using food to satisfy your emotional needs is a recipe for disaster (and extra pounds!). Remember to use food for what it was designed for — fuel. Limit emotional eating, and when you do sit down for a meal, make it an experience. Pick the freshest meats, vegetables, and cheeses and enjoy every bite.
Tip #3: Get a Checkup. When was the last time you got physical … with your doctor? Although some may skimp on their yearly exams, making sure you see your doctor regularly (and not just when you’re sick) will help you stay healthy and prevent any number of ailments that may creep up. Make it easy on yourself; schedule annual checkups on or near your birthday so you’ll never forget them again.
Tip #4: Get Some Rest. Let’s get something straight: You cannot function on four hours a sleep a night and still look and feel fabulous. As a matter of fact, not getting enough sleep can contribute to myriad health issues, like, weight gain, a lowered sex drive, decreased immunity, and depression. So grab your sleep mask, your lavender oil, and comfy pillow and get at least eight hours of sleep per night.
Family & Friends: There’s something about knowing you have people who have your back that makes life so much easier.
Tip #1: Reach Out. Staying in touch with those you love can be difficult if you’ve moved away. But even if you haven’t, work, school, and other commitments can sometimes get in the way of spending quality time with the fam. Before too many of your parents or little brother’s calls go unanswered, try to schedule a set time to reach out and say hello. If you live across country, services like Google Talk, Tango, and Skype can keep you connected.
Tip #2: Schedule a Girl’s Night. There’s nothing like connecting with the homies to help you ease some stress. Although it may be hard to coordinate schedules, having a girl’s night or weekend is the perfect way to reconnect with those that have your back. You may not be able to hang like you used to, but getting love from your friends will give you the umph you need to power through the difficult times.
Tip #3: Reunite. Summertime is here, and you know what that means: family reunions! Yes they may be far, and even a bit pricey, but getting together with your extended family, seeing your grandma from down South or your cousins from the coast will not only be a blast, but it will also help you reconnect with your roots.
Tip #4: Get Bookish. Happy hour shouldn’t be the only time you see your friends. If you’re looking for different ways to hang with your girls, try starting a book club. Not only will you have a great time, but you might also expand your circle (and your mind) as you devour a few good books.
Love: What did Billy D say in Mahogany? Success is nothing if you have no one to share it with? Well, for those of you who are single yet ready to love, try these tips and maybe you’ll be cupcaking in no time.
Tip #1: Get Rid of the Baggage. Erykah had it correct. If your bags ain’t Louis V., let ’em go, let ’em go, let ’em go. Nothing prevents you from being in love like holding onto the bitterness, anger, and hurt your last partner left in his wake. If you’re serious about getting boo’d up this year (or the next), you must lay your bags down.
Tip #2: Ditch the Space Fillers. Sure no one likes to be lonely, however, if you’re really on a quest for love, you have to make room for what’s to come. Drop the folks who are just keeping you company “in the meantime” and free up your time (and heart) for the one you’ll fall in love with.
Tip #3: Date Yourself. Don’t wait for Mr. or Ms. Right to come along before you try a new restaurant or go on that dream vacation. While you keep your eyes open for “the one,” get to know yourself. Make a list of things you want to do with your future boo, and try them yourself. While you’re hiking up Mt. Baldy, or on the plane ready to skydive, you might meet someone who’s doing the same.
Tip #4: Ask Him Out. Yes, rejection is scary, but sometimes we have to make the first move. You cannot complain about not meeting Mr. Right if all you do is watch from the sidelines. So if you’ve been eyeing a man for sometime, try doing more than dropping hints. Be up front and ask him out. What’s the worst that could happen?
Self: It’s time to get a little selfish. So much of our time is often spent working for, caring for, or helping others. Remember that before you can be there for others, you have to be there for yourself. Don’t ever forget to put yourself first.
Tip #1: Take It Easy. How many times have you been so busy you’ve forgotten to eat, gotten the proper amount of rest, or had enough time just to relax? No matter how crazy your schedule may be, you must carve out some time to take it easy. Whether it’s scheduling a monthly massage or just soaking in a hot bath instead of rushing through a shower, taking some time for yourself is essential for both your mental and physical health.
Tip #2: Meditate. Whether you call it prayer, meditation, or getting in touch with the universe, remember to take a few minutes each day to center yourself and reflect on your life. Instead of using this quiet time to run your to-do list through your head, use it to reflect on what you are thankful for. Despite whatever may be happening in your life, it’s always a good idea to focus on the positive. It will not only help you remember that you’ve got a lot going for yourself, it might also give you the motivation to keep pushing.
Tip #3: Kill the Negative Talk. Ever looked in the mirror and complained about your big butt or tiny breasts or tight eyes or man hands? Stop it. Although there may be things we’d like to change about ourselves, constantly harping on our imperfections or shortcomings will do little to help how we feel. Instead of picking yourself apart, the next time you look in the mirror tell yourself how beautiful, awesome, or smart you are. After a while, you’ll start to believe it and act accordingly.
Tip #4: Celebrate Your Victories. Got a promotion at work? Dropped 20 pounds? Passed your LSAT? Landed your first “real” job? Celebrate! Don’t ever let an important moment go by unacknowledged. Even if your celebration consists of something as small as a red velvet cupcake from Sprinkles or as large as a trip to Jamaica, don’t forget to give yourself props for accomplishing one of your goals.
Achieving your goals can be difficult, but once you reach your set objectives you’ll feel powerful, accomplished, and ready to do even more.