Way to ensure you stick to your goals in the coming year

Every eve of a New Year, you pull out your smartphone (or pen and paper for our boomers) and write down some goals you want to achieve in the coming year. It may be to be more active, to start a new career, save more money, or even to start a new hobby. Sometimes, we can accomplish these goals, and other times not so much. Some of these resolutions may be a tad unrealistic and that makes it difficult to stick to them. We end up giving up in the first few months into the new year and hope to try again next year. However, this becomes an ongoing cycle of making resolutions and breaking them year after year. Be kind to yourself when this happens. Below are a few tips to help you break the cycle and stick to the resolutions you make.
Be Realistic:

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One way to ensure you stick to your resolutions will be to set realistic ones. For instance, if your plan is to quit your 9 – 5 job and be self-employed, you have to make sure you have set up the foundation to do so. I find it best to write out a plan as to how the particular goal will be accomplished. Having SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-sensitive) goals is a sure way to do so. Being realistic also means having a realistic time-frame to accomplish your goals. If the goal is to go to graduate school in the fall, starting preparations in a few months to the deadline may not be realistic because there is a lot that goes into applying. If you plan ahead, you would have plenty of time to prep for any examination needed as well as the application processes. Some of the goals may need to be broken down into subsets to accomplish them. This would ensure that you are not overwhelming yourself with so much, and you have a good amount of time to accomplish your goal. If you want to pay off your debt and build credit, a good way to go about it is using the Snowball Effect.
Keep it simple:

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Resolutions are great but it does not have to be extravagant and complicated. The simpler it is, the easier it will be to accomplish. For instance, if a healthy lifestyle is your resolution for the year, you don’t necessarily have to cut out everything that you love to eat. It can be as simple as enjoying what you love but in moderation or introducing substitutes. If chocolates are your guilty pleasure, you can substitute milk chocolate for dark chocolate, which is a healthier option. Instead of soda, you can opt for flavored sparkling water. It contains fewer calories and you would still have the little fizzles you enjoy. If being more active is the goal you are looking to accomplish, keep it simple. A gym membership is great. However, if you want a cost-effective option, social media sites such as Pinterest, Instagram and Youtube are great resources. Sometimes we sign up for gym memberships and barely use them. You do not have to spend a ton of money on work out gear, clothing, and equipment. If you want to start investing, you do not need to buy stock work $1000 per share. You can start doing your research and start with stocks that don’t cost as much. A great place to start research on investing is https://www.nerdwallet.com. As the saying goes, Rome was not built overnight, so take it easy. One step at a time.
Be Proactive:

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Being proactive means you should have a plan on ways to achieve the resolutions on your list. If your resolution is to go start a master’s program this year, you should have a plan on how to attain this goal. It could be calling the schools you are interested in and to get more information on the program you want. It can be prepping for the GREs and schedule for the examination. Planning out your resolution in advance makes it easier to accomplish and less stressful as well. It also helps to keep you motivated on those difficult days.
Use productivity tools:

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In this age of technology, there’s an app for everything. If financial wellness and stability is your resolution, you can use budgeting tools to accomplish this goal. This would help you keep track of your expenses and hold you accountable as well. I personally love the app Mint (https://www.mint.com) but there are numerous apps available to suit everyone’s needs. If keeping track of your schedule is on your resolution, investing in a planner can be useful. A budget-friendly option would be to use your phone’s calendar to set a reminder a day or even a few hours before an appointment. There are so many apps out there for almost anything and they are mostly free. Take advantage of them!
Celebrate your achievements:

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Sticking to New Year’s resolutions can be hard. If your goal is to be more active, remember to celebrate that extra 5 minutes you stayed on the treadmill today or waking up 15 minutes early to do those dreadful burpees. It may seem very minute but even the small victories should be celebrated because it means you are still pushing through and moving forward. Be proud of yourself because you are one step closer to achieving your goal. Don’t give up, you’ve got this!!

Ghana’s Year of Return

The Year 2019 was dubbed The Year of Return. This was an initiative of the Ghanaian government; an open invitation to all diasporans of African descent, and anyone interested in visiting the African continent, but particularly Ghana. It was trending all year long, on multiple social media platforms. Many people who have already visited Ghana shared their experiences on social media and already plan to return during the upcoming holiday season. The Year of return, 2019, marked 400 years of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in Jamestown, Virginia. As President Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo-Addo said, “In the year 2019, we open our arms even wider to welcome home our brothers and sisters in what will become a birthright journey home for the global African family.” The invitation also encouraged African diasporans to obtain citizenship if they want. There had been reports of about 200 and more Ghanaian citizenship claimed by diasporans. A lot of diasporans have already made the journey back home. The journey has been different for each and every one of them; some have found it to be a spiritual and enlightening awakening.

This documentary by BBC Africa gives a picture of how it feels coming to the motherland. Now you know we cannot talk about the Year of Return without talking about the history that led to this land-marked occasion.

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The White Lion ~ This is the ship that took the first group of Africans away from their homes, lives, and identities to Jamestown, Virginia in 1619.

According to Historic Jamestown, the first enslaved Africans were Angolans. “The Africans who came to Virginia in 1619 had been taken from Angola in West Central Africa. They were captured in a series of wars that were part of much broader Portuguese hostilities against the Kongo and Ndongo kingdoms, and other states. These captives were then forced to march 100-200 miles to the coast to the major slave-trade port of Luanda. They were put on board the San Juan Bautista, which carried 350 captives bound for Vera Cruz, on the coast of Mexico, in the summer of 1619″. The slave ship, San Juan Bautista was then attacked by two English privateers; The White Lion and the Treasurer in the Gulf of Mexico and robbed 50-60 Africans. The two privateers sailed to Virginia towards the end of August where they began their slave trade. Upon arrival, they were stripped of their identity (name, language, and culture), branded like cattle and sold in exchange for food, in slave auctions. It was said that there were “20 and odd negros” on the slave ship. The conditions in which they were transported were horrible. Some ended up dying on that treacherous journey and were thrown overboard. In 1661, the state of Virginia passed a law that allowed all free persons the right to own slaves. This led to a significantly drastic alteration in the history of Africa and the African people. 400 years later, the impact of slavery is still visible in schools, workplaces, healthcare industries, financial institutions, and in the everyday lives of Africans and people of African descent all over the globe.

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By Richard C. Moore, 2010. Courtesy of Kathryn Knight. The San Juan Bautista’s battle against the two English corsairs, the Treasurer and the White Lion. “Angela” was one of several enslaved Africans brought to Virginia on the Treasurer

The Year of Return was meant to double as an acknowledgment of the history of slavery, and its effects, and to also provide an arena for the celebration and amalgamation of Ghanaian, West African and diasporan culture. There were many activities planned for this year-long celebration. Some of these activities included trips to the slave castles in the Central Region of Ghana, as this was one of the last places our African ancestors were, before being shipped to the Americas and the Caribbeans. There were many festivities such as Afrochella, regional festivals, concerts and so much more.

There are also popular tourist sites to visit such as the Kwame Nkrumah mausoleum, the Kakum canopy walk and slave castles and forts throughout the country. The official website for all planned events and program line-up is www.yearofreturn.com. There are a few Instagram pages with plenty of information on expectations and things to do in Ghana. A few of my favorites are www.instagram.com/ghanapeople www.instagram.com/iamhamamat and www.instagram.com/iam_adjeii Even though 2019 has ended, Ghana is still welcoming everyone to see and experience the beauty, culture, and people. The continuation of The Year of Return is dubbed Beyond the Return. There is still so much to enjoy and love about Ghana. The festivities and trips to tourist sites are still ongoing.

My advice is when you visit, try to immerse yourself in the culture as much as you can. Go to all the known places but find the hidden gems as well.
I hope you get to visit Ghana, explore its beautiful regions as well as other parts of the beautiful African continent.

This thing called life

Sometimes things may not go according to plan. It may all seem confusing and chaotic. You may want to give up, throw in the towel, etc. But that is the exact moment you have to keep going. Don’t worry darling, it will all make sense in the end. All the twist and turns will lead to you on the path you are meant to take. All the trials you are experiencing are prepping you for the rainbow at the end of this very long and dark tunnel. It will all be worth your while. In the end, you will have an amazing story to tell. I love you… x o

Be your own voice

It is okay to speak up for yourself. Do not delegate that task to anyone else. Who better to express what your are feeling than you? It may seem intimidating but it’s better to be your own voice than to have someone speak on your behalf. This way, the message you want to deliver is not misconstrued or misinterpreted. You are able to say exactly what you want to and exactly how you want to say it. Remember to be your own voice, speak up.

Am I an impostor?

I am at the point in my life where I feel the need for a career change, you know, something new and exciting. After successfully completing my bachelors, I started applying to jobs in the field of social sciences. I love research, particularly social science research. I have worked my butt off to gain experience and exposure through internships and mentorships with people in the field. This combined with all my other work experiences makes me a good candidate for most clinical research assistant jobs. 

However, there have been times I applied to jobs that match my qualifications yet I feel like I’m impersonating someone else or I don’t have the education and experience to even be considered. It is like there a teeny tiny voice in my head that keep making me doubt myself and my abilities. I actually self-sabotaged myself at a job interview without intending to. This is what Imposter Syndrome feels like. You feel you are not qualified to be in the space you are in or share the same space with certain people. You feel the people there belong but you don’t because you are pretending to be something you are not. It may seem irrational to some but it is very real to you.

Recently, I have become more aware of my feelings and certain things that may trigger some of my self-doubt on my part. If you ever felt this way can you share with me how you were able to overcome it? What are some measures you took to help with this situation? Below is a TedTalk video on Imposter Syndrome and some ways to combat it.