business · career · health · life curation · luxury · reading list · travel · writing

The First Three Steps: 2021 Goals

A few days ago, I mentioned on a blog post that I would list out my first three steps for each of my big goals for 2021. This will help me to stay focused on completing the little things, which eventually will result in me accomplishing the big things that I have planned for myself.

So, here’s my follow-up, because we all know how important accountability is. My first three steps for each of the goals that I have for 2021:

  • Publish 5 books
    • Step 1 – Set a daily timer to remind myself to work on my writing
    • Step 2 – Make a weekly word goal
    • Step 3 – Select the titles for the books I’m working on this year
  • Lose 15 lbs
    • Step 1 – Figure out my starting weight
    • Step 2 – Confirm what kind of weight loss services are available through my doctor’s office
    • Step 3 – Make an updated yoga playlist on my YouTube
  • Manifest 3 international trips
    • Step 1 – Make a list of ideal trip locations
    • Step 2 – Create a “dream trip” piggy jar
    • Step 3 – Start learning a few key phrases in the languages spoken in the countries I’d like to visit
  • Earn 6 figures from my businesses
    • Step 1 – Review the coaching session that I participated in, that had ideas for increasing my revenue
    • Step 2 – Make a playlist of podcast episodes featuring people in the same industry as me
    • Step 3 – Create a list of potential promotional opportunities
  • Read 100+ books
    • Step 1 – Make a list of the first 33 books I want to read
    • Step 2 – Schedule book review posts for the first 6 months of the year
    • Step 3 – Place my first ten books by my bedside, so I can reach them easily
  • Luxury purchases – an item from Hermes, a pair of Christian Louboutin shoes, a pair of Sophia Webster shoes, and a pair of Ralph & Russo shoes
    • Step 1 – Select the actual items from each company that I want
    • Step 2 – Confirm whether the items can be purchased from local retailers
    • Step 3 – Designate a “Luxe Items” piggy bank/savings account
  • Cure my fibromyalgia (as I mentioned in my last Fibro Friday post)
    • Step 1 – Research the stories of people that were able to reverse their fibromyalgia diagnosis
    • Step 2 – Relisten to herbalism/naturopath podcasts that have recommendations for treating fibro
    • Step 3 – Make a list of local naturopaths that may be able to help me on my journey

I’m keeping my target simple: I’ll only take one or two steps a day. That sets me up to finish my three steps for each goal within 21 days at most. So, in 21 days, I’ll share whether I did all of the steps above (I’m pretty sure I can do it all LOL), as well as my next three steps for each goal. Of course, at some point, outlining the next three steps of a goal may not be applicable, but I’ll do it as long as it is logical and helpful to accomplishing my goals.

Have you tried writing out the next three steps for any of your goals? If so, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

writing

Writers Wednesdays – How to Stop Self-Sabotage

Welcome back to Writers Wednesdays! How is your writing coming along? Probably a little (or a lot) better than mine! I made up for slacking over the past week by knocking out a whopping 100 words in a weekend.

No, you did not misread that. I completed one hundred words in a weekend. And that’s ALL I could manage to write. I had family visiting (not too many members: gotta stay safe!) so I didn’t have a lot of time to devote to my writing. I’ve since made up for it over the past couple of days, clocking about 1,000 words per day. However, this still puts me behind schedule.

With that being said, I know a little about self sabotage. I often find myself throwing monkey wrenches into my own plans. Sometimes, the delays are due to health issues, but other times, it’s that mental “block” that exists when you have a big goal that feels gargantuan.

You know the ‘block’: it looks a lot like writer’s block, or procrastination, or an overloaded schedule. Whatever form the block takes, it can ruin your grand plans if you let it.

So the important question to ask is, HOW can you stop self sabotage?

For me, getting to the root of my self sabotage always starts with examining my emotions. Asking myself, “How am I feeling?” usually reveals the biggest clues behind the “block”. When I feel depressed, I usually experience writer’s block, or lack of inspiration. When I’m feeling anxious, I generally procrastinate. And when I feel fear, I overload my schedule with activities so that I don’t have the time to write.

Taking inventory of how your emotions manifest into particular behaviors will probably reveal some patterns for you, too.

After examining the emotion, I address it. For depression, more sunlight, upping my self care, and immersing myself in creative and artistic media (old Hollywood movies, art museums, music from around the world) usually does the trick. Not to mention, I have a great book by Ginie Sayles, titled, “Writer’s Block is a Crock”. I often use that to help me through those tough times. Anxiety is remedied by slowing down and being more intentional, (again) upping my self care, getting back into my yoga practice, and breathing deeply. For fear, I’ll admit: I don’t have a remedy that I can self-administer. I usually rely on a kick-in-the-pants from a well-meaning friend.

One of my favorite books for overcoming writer’s block

Fear is always the toughest one for me to manage. It isn’t fear of criticism, so much as it is fear of not being able to create a work that I’m proud of. I fear that I will write a mediocre text. And if there’s one thing I detest, it’s mediocrity.

Fortunately, I have great friends that encourage me to make my work better. They give specific examples of how it can be better. Then they trust me to make up my own mind, either to accept or reject their advice. I’ve done both, and I’ve been pleased with the outcome each time. They don’t take it personal if I choose a different strategy. But because they have great perspectives, I rarely discard their advice.

So fear is one that I’m still working on, to be honest with you. That’s what I’m experiencing right now. That’s why I made meals from scratch, two days in a row, during the time that I should have been writing. But recognizing the emotion is the first step. And I’m relying on my friends to help me through it. If you don’t have a trusted counsel to help you with things like this, I advise you build that group NOW. I promise you won’t regret it.

That’s it for today. I hope you all are well. I’ll talk to you tomorrow.

*This post contains affiliate links.

reading list · writing

Writers Wednesdays – The Power of a Brain Dump

Welcome to another edition of Writers Wednesdays! I think this topic will be especially helpful to the writers that have a ton of ideas but can’t quite make sense of them all (or, that struggle to organize their thoughts).

Here’s a little story: this past weekend, I had every intention of writing at least 50k words (I know, ambitious). But I figured I could do it because I’m a little crazy and I love big goals. And, I planned to use voice typing to help me get the ideas out when I tired of typing by hand. It all sounded so easy . . .

Then I had a few visitors (extended family) drop by on Saturday. And they stayed FAR longer than normal. When they left, I was too sleepy to write. It was worth it, since I had a good time with them. But it took away a chunk of my writing time.

Then Sunday came and I realized I had tons of clothes to wash and put away, dinner to prepare, overall home tidying to do, items to put in my shed, etc.,. My to-do list was overwhelming. It looked like I wouldn’t have any time to write.

But I got the idea to voice type as I folded clothes. That one decision allowed me to get 800 words out of my head and into print. It was a lot less than the 50k, but it sure beat 0 words. It wasn’t very well structured, but it was a brain dump that allowed me to get a few ideas out, and I can always mold my thoughts later. The important thing was to just WRITE: I’ll worry about the editing later.

***************

When you decide that you want to be a writer (part time or full time) you quickly realize that every other thing that you have to do magically becomes urgent and need attention during your designated writing time (that is, if you have actually scheduled a writing time). It’s almost inevitable (Murphy’s law and all that jazz).

If you find it difficult to reach your daily writing goals, I recommend that you pull up a Google Doc or Microsoft Word document, turn on the voice typing feature, and talk out your ideas while you do another task (like folding clothes, washing dishes, or cooking). That way, you can just “dump” the ideas instead of waiting for free time to type.

Clearing your mind via a brain dump can really help you become more efficient in other ways. Once I finished doing my voice typing, I could concentrate more on the tasks at hand. Doing a brain dump helped me feel more accomplished, and that motivated me to take care of my other tasks.

Do you ever do brain dumps when writing? I’d love to hear more about your process in the comments below!

career · writing

My Company Has Been Featured in Trusty Wellness!

I’m so excited to share this special milestone with you all! I recently was interviewed by Trusty Wellness, a local blog that highlights small businesses in my city. My journal company was one of the featured highlights last week!

Gratuitous photo of moi

I shared in a previous post when my first book was endorsed by one of my favorite authors (and a personal inspiration to me) Ginie Sayles. I love these moments because each endorsement offers another opportunity for my work to reach someone that needs it most. And that’s what really matters: connecting to people that can use the tools that I design.

Writing is my passion, and I love sharing that passion with others, ESPECIALLY when it comes to journaling. So to be featured in this publication is truly an honor. I hope that this connects me to additional members of my “soul tribe”.

That’s my post for today: just a little something that I was proud to share. I hope you all will check out the article and give Trusty Wellness some love! Until tomorrow, take care.

writing

Writers Wednesdays – Choosing a Topic

Hi everyone! Last week, I mentioned that I had something special coming . . . And here it is!

I’m doing a writing challenge (so far, I’m the only participant!) for the next few months. Since one of my New Year goals is to publish 5 books in this year, I knew that I’d need to make writing a more permanent part of my routine. Going forward, each Wednesday will be Writers Wednesday, where I will discuss a different topic related to the book that I’m working on at that time.

This week, I’m discussing the importance of choosing a topic- or, rather, letting a topic choose YOU. It’s funny: whenever I decide to write a book, I am careful to allow inspiration to take me to the topic that I should develop. Whenever I try to overstep inspiration and “force” a book idea, I end up giving up before I can finish. I need the initial fire of inspiration to help me identify topics that will hold my interest from start to finish.

If you find it hard to finish a book that you’re writing, it may be helpful to examine whether the topic truly interests you and feels inspired, or if it’s a topic that you chose because it seemed logical (for instance, writing a book about cooking because you’re a chef). Sometimes, “logical” topics are uninspired and end up taking a lot longer to complete than topics that somehow “find you”: these subjects aren’t necessarily your current area of expertise, but you still feel compelled to write about them. When you rely on your emotions moreso than your reasoning mind, you’re probably operating from inspiration.

Now, don’t get me wrong: it’s possible to choose a book topic using logic and feel inspired while writing it. But if you find that you’re losing interest before you can complete your manuscript, you’re probably “forcing” your writing, which takes the joy out of the process. Learn to listen to inspiration so that you can enjoy your writing as you complete your book.

I selected my topic for my current book, and I will start writing today. I’m excited to see where this process leads me! I’ll give you all more details next week, but until then, take care.

fitness · health · life curation · luxury · reading list · travel · writing

New Year, New Goals

To commemorate this new year, I want to share some of the intentions that I’ve set for 2021.

Over the past few years, my goals have felt a little lackluster, so I’m excited to share some goals that really light me up! I looked at several areas of my life, and I pinpointed what changes I need to make in order to make those areas of my life feel more balanced and abundant.

So, without further ado, here are my 2021 goals:

  • Publish 5 books
  • Lose 15 lbs
  • Manifest 3 international trips
  • Earn 6 figures from my businesses
  • Read 100+ books
  • Luxury purchases – an item from Hermes, a pair of Christian Louboutin shoes, a pair of Sophia Webster shoes, and a pair of Ralph & Russo shoes
  • Cure my fibromyalgia (as I mentioned in my last Fibro Friday post)

I discuss my goals further in this video, along with why I’m not creating a vision board this year (I’ve created one every year since 2014 or 2015). I usually don’t make my videos this long, but I needed this amount of time to discuss all of the things I’m planning for my YouTube channel as well as for this blog. Enjoy, and I’ll talk to you all tomorrow!

life curation · Uncategorized · writing

Something Special Coming Next Week . . .

Hi friends! If you have been following this blog for some time, then you know that I treasure New Years Day, and it is, hands down, one of my favorite times of year. I’ve always gotten such a kick out of setting resolutions and working toward my dreams throughout the year.

However, 2020 was nothing like anything that we could have anticipated. Between the anxiety I experienced related to my fibromyalgia journey and the unpredictable situation created by the pandemic, I had neither the energy nor the motivation to work on any big goals. I mourned the loss of opportunity within 2020, but I look forward to better, brighter days in 2021.

In honor of the projects that I put on indefinite hold in 2020, and in recognition of the grand intentions that I’m setting for 2021, I will be undertaking one of the biggest, most special projects I’ve ever considered. And the best part of this project is that all of the basic information will be available starting next week, and the entire process will be documented on this blog. It’s so near and dear to me, that I’m keeping this one really close to my chest, at least until I announce it later this evening (at 6 PM EST) on Clubhouse. If you are on Clubhouse, you can add me – my handle is @bronzebutterfly . I’ll discuss my project there, during my weekly Conscious Creation chat, and I’ll give more details then.

If you aren’t on Clubhouse, or are reading this after 6 PM EST today, then just know that I will be posting the details on next Wednesday (January 6, 2021). I’m so excited that I can hardly stand it!

That’s it for today. I’ll either catch you on Clubhouse, or I will talk to you all tomorrow. Take care!

life curation · Uncategorized · writing

My Latest Projects

While taking a hiatus from this blog, I decided to delve into some other projects of interest. I decided that the best thing for me would be to figure out what lights me up, and to focus on doing that for a while, even if the joyful feeling faded quickly.

The point of the exercise wasn’t to find a long-term passion project, but to put my energy into whatever made me happy, so that I could be in a better mental space for future creation. As it turns out, this short-term projects were just what I needed to relight the spark in me. And, because I had the spark re-lit, some of these short-term projects will be around a lot longer than I initially thought.

For starters, I worked on revising a book that I originally released late last year. The book was (in my opinion) a fantastic workbook for creating lifestyle changes, but because I titled the book “2020 Vision”, I knew that it wouldn’t be a popular selection for 2021. So I changed the title to more accurately reflect the content, and thus “Create Your Vision” was born.

When I tell you all how proud I am of this book . . . It really was a labor of love. I poured my best intentions into this text. And my author’s proof was so pretty, I knew that it would give someone a lot of joy! If you’re interested in getting a copy for yourself, you can click here or on the photo above. I created 25 different covers for this book, so if you’d like to see another design, you can visit my shop at Bronze Butterfly Books, or my shop available through this blog (just click here).

Along with re-releasing my book, I got inspired to work on a series of books that address a need that I (and many other women) have. I’m keeping the details under wraps for now, as I flesh out the concept more and figure out if I will need collaborators on this project. I will be announcing more details soon, so look out for that.

During the past few weeks, I also started a YouTube channel. I’d been wanting to do this for a while, but I finally had the time and energy to start on it, and I’ve been loving it so far! It’s an extension of the ideals of this blog, and I’m very excited to share it with you. Here’s one of my favorite videos, where I share some easy ways to be more like the Duchess of Sussex herself, Meghan Markle.

So those were my major projects for the past couple of months, and it looks like these projects are becoming a permanent part of my life. I’m excited to see where these take me, though if I feel overwhelmed, I will have no problem reducing or eliminating these projects to help maintain a sense of balance in my life.

So that’s what I was up to while I was gone. I have a few other things in the works, but I’ll share those in the weeks to come. Until tomorrow, take care!

*This post contains affiliate links.

life curation · writing

The Key to Living Well

(This is the first of several reposted essays from my previous blog. I’m not sure if the hyperlinks still work, but I’ve kept them so that the essay makes sense. Also, this entry was initially written to encourage Black women to enhance their lives in any way possible, but I anticipate that some of these points will resonate even if you’re not a Black woman. Enjoy!)

Recently, I was brainstorming over ways to get my degree done faster during my morning drive to work. Well, somehow I started thinking about other people’s blogs, then I started thinking about Evia’s blog specifically, and how she implored black women to “increase their value.  I started thinking: How does a woman increase her value? How does she go from average to above average to excellent? Why is it important to increase your value? As I continued driving, it occurred to me: I have the answer! Eureka!

This woman looks like she knows how to reach her goals!

The short answer is this: figure out what is important to you, then plan on how to excel in that area. There’s more, of course, to this, and I plan to go into it fully throughout my blog. “How to increase your value” is going to be the main theme here on this blog. That’s what I’ve always wanted my writing to be about: becoming a better version of ourselves. I’m going to give you a little teaser for what’s to come:

Why is it important to increase your value?

Value is both objective and subjective: value can be recognized in almost anything, but what is valuable to each person is an individual choice. Value is an awesome thing, in that it can be added and not easily taken away. We all want to be valued and to have valuable people in our most intimate circle. It’s easy to see why value is important.

However, increasing our value is a different thing, and can be very confusing. Black women, in particular, have an interesting history and shared culture when it comes to increasing our value: many of us come from communities that tell us to become more valuable in very specific ways: go to school, have a great career, and give generously to the church and community of origin. However, when we attain a certain amount of value markers, we can find ourselves feeling very lonesome. We hope and expect those in our circle of friends and family to be attaining greater value as well, but oftentimes this journey to higher value is a solo mission. In our community, there is a sad conditioning going on: this very community encourages Black women to be as valuable as we can, but to simultaneously lower our expectations and standards when interacting with others in the community.

We are encouraged to marry any ol’ man, even if he isn’t high quality, just for the sake of procreating and “building up the community”. We are expected to “upgrade” everyone that we meet, while never expected anyone to pour back into us (talk about non-reciprocity!). We are encouraged to live in dangerous physical settings around “our” people, because moving to a safer neighborhood makes us “snobs”. We discouraged from speaking intelligibly because we “sound White” when we do. We’re given the greenlight to have children even if we are woefully unprepared for them (religiosity is a huge factor in this) and we are criticized when we expect our coparents to contribute financially to the care of the children. We are encouraged to make spectacles of ourselves for the sake of “keeping it real”, and we are told that unhealthy eating habits are fine since being “thick” should be our goal (I have slim friends who were teased mercilessly for not having curves, despite being healthy and normal in all other aspects).

Confusing, huh? How can one expect a valuable person to keep their expectations and standards low? Unfortunately, some have fallen victim to this trap and did everything to become valuable yet squander their resources on a community that doesn’t not provide anything in return – not even safety and a measure of unity. (This comes to an important point: VALUE SHOULD NOT BE WASTED. Not on an individual, not on a community, not within a society. Even after becoming our most valuable, Black women should use their value where it is appreciated and can benefit them. More about this in an upcoming post.)

The good news? Once a person is valuable, the individual can escape whatever toxic or nonreciprocal environment she is in. The most important point is: VALUE IS FREEDOM. Valuable individuals can leave harmful situations and select/create healthier environments. Valuable individuals are welcome additions in most communities: it won’t be hard for a valuable person to be welcomed into a social construct, so long as the person holds value for those within that construct. Increased value is increased freedom: the ability to choose from more environments and more favorable circumstances. That is why increasing one’s value is so important.

life curation · writing

Revising and Republishing My Essays

I think I’ve mentioned it previously, but in case I haven’t, I used to write on my (now defunct) personal blog several years ago. I discussed a variety of topics, but my main focus was life improvement. In short, that blog was a bit of a precursor to this one.

A couple of weeks ago, I talked to to one of my good friends of several years. She specifically mentioned some of my writing and how she wishes that she could view those essays again. As a special favor to her (and because I think that some of those essays have aged VERY well), I will be revising and republishing my essays over here.

I’m excited to revisit the topics that used to interest me, and I’m eager to share those discussions over here! What will really be fun is reflecting on the actions that I planned to take back then and comparing those intentions to the things that I’m currently experiencing. I can comfortably say that I followed a lot of my own advice and those decisions have paid off for me.

Look out for those revised essays starting next week. Also, if you have any topics that you would like to see discussed on this blog, please don’t hesitate to let me know!