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So who’s with me?
My personal progressI had several intentions at the beginning of the year – namely to lose weight and incorporate healthy eating habits into my life, take my business and blog to the next level – become my own boss, write an ebook for Motivated Sista, start a committed relationship, and improve my cooking skills. I was supposed to focus on weight loss first, but that was the goal that fell by the wayside. I feel that I’m in a good place with growing my blog audience and learning effective ways to generate enough income from other online ventures to become my own boss. I made several Sunday dinners to improve my cooking skills. And I’ve been slowly and surely working on my ebook.
But I didn’t make much headway with regard to changing my eating habits, working out more or dating. It was easy to make excuses for not going to the gym, blaming my lack of progress on having issues with my car, or not knowing what to eat to be healthy, on and on. The excuses don’t really matter, its how I react to the realization that I’ve been making them that’s important.
One huge setback I had was during the snow storm we had back in February. I indulged myself in vacation-mode thinking during that time, to my detriment. The difference between a vacation and those days we had off is that when you’re planning a vacation, you plan for your absence and know the precise duration that you’ll be away from your tasks. What I did, however, was immerse myself with unproductive habits for an indefinite period of time. As a result, I derailed my fitness and healthy eating habits, my sleep pattern and even my writing flow for Motivated Sista. Even though it was only a week and a half, that mindset definitely wreaked havoc on my goals. Now it’s time to get back on track.
Faith, Focus, Persistence and Determination.
Since I felt uninspired to change my eating habits, I relied on meal plans from Oxygen Magazine. There is a 3-month series that promises to change your body and the way you eat. This is the end of my first week on the plan, and so far I’ve been doing great. This shows me the importance of not only relying on the expertise of others, being open to ideas that don’t sound appealing, but also to make things easier for myself – in essence, ‘work smarter not harder’.
Multi-tasking doesn’t work for me. I need to fully focus on one goal at a time. Because what ends up happening is distraction – the goals that are not currently in front of me get forgotten as I’m fully absorbed in the tasks that are before me. And I don’t feel there’s anything wrong with that, I just need to work with my unique personality and habits to get to where I’m trying to go.
As far as dating, that’s a goal that has a few layers for me. I’m not timid about going out by myself, but I feel anxiety when among a group of people. It doesn’t matter if I know the people around me or not, group settings rattle my nerves. But I have to get over it if I’m going to succeed in meeting new people. The advice I constantly hear is “do what you love and you’ll meet people that way”, so I’m planning to attend new events to not only participate in activities that I’ve been dying to participate in, but also to meet new people outside of the circles I’m already in.
So how is 2010 shaping up for you? Take an opportunity to review your progress on your goals, improve the areas that need improvement, and pat yourself on the back for the progress you’ve made so far. How will you revise your approach to reach your goals, based on your self-reflection?
I can definetly say that “Keep it moving” is a quote I live by. Just like “live in the moment” is. Still havent figured out how to stay in the moment..
As I read this topic, a magnifying glass was placed on my current situation. I’m unfortunately In love with my good friend. I told my self that as long as I “live in the moment” things will be fine. No expectations, no drama, just enjoying one another. Well this worked for a little while but the more time we spend and the closer we get the more curious I am about who else he may be involved with. Now as friends we can talk about pretty much anything but this topic has been very uncomfortable for me to address. Why, well because I didnt want the answer to that question. Well curiousity kills the cat they say. I got the answer to my question. It was what I expected but honestly I have no right to be upset because of the “No expectation” rule I set. Now that I have the answers I have to decide what I want ultimately and if the current situation fits into that. I know it doesnt but I dont know how to just let go..
Hon, I think you do know, you are just holding yourself back from what you don’t want to do.
Stay In The MomentStaying in the moment is very hard to master and it takes constant practice. Your mind is used to just running off on its own without you steering its course. Its not something I currently have total control over, but the more I bring my mind into the present moment, the easier it becomes the next time I try. Here’s what I do: say I’m driving, or washing dishes, or talking on the phone. Whatever current physical action I’m doing becomes automatic and my thoughts drift into either beating myself up for something that already happened or worry about something that’s yet to happen. I ‘catch myself’ in these thoughts, literally hearing what these thoughts are and reminding myself that these thoughts serve no purpose for me – in fact, they make things worse. Then I notice and stay focused on my physical actions: the feel of the hot soapy water on my hands; the way my fingers grip the leather of the steering wheel; the words the person is saying to me on the phone; and other physical sensations around me, such as aromas, sounds and textures.
At first, like I said, this is very difficult. Just keep doing it. You might be alarmed by how often you have to do it in the course of a day, because it seems like as soon as you refocus your thoughts, they start to wander again. This is normal. Your mind is a tool that is looking to be occupied, and if you’re not currently solving a problem then it will devise one for itself to solve.
Hearing Tough AnswersSomewhere deep inside, I believe you knew the answer to the question you wanted to ask your friend. That’s why you didn’t want to ask. You had already figured it out (perhaps the signs that he was seeing someone were pieced together as one of those problems your mind gave itself to work on); but actually hearing confirmation that it was true was hard for you. Click Here To Continue To read part I, click here. To read part II, click here.
Be a well-rounded applicant
After I graduated from college, I started seeing more advice about job applicants being well-rounded. The advice I read stated how employers would rather hire an applicant with a B+ average and involvement in extracurricular activities than an A+ applicant with none. This was surprising to me, because I’d always been told the value of studying hard and getting As in school.
How this relates to dating: its not good enough to be just a pretty face. Who are you, really? I don’t mean your thoughts, possessions, or activities, but who are you as a person? Your potential dates are evaluating this and its important for you to have a firm grasp on what defines you before you put yourself out there. Also, people are interested in interesting people. How do you spend your time away from work and other responsibilities? Are you cultivating your mind or are you engaged in quality time with your TiVo? What interests do you have, and what interests intrigue you? This adds to your allure as a future mate as well.
Make sure you attend job fairs
Lastly, all of this hard work and effort would be put to waste if you’re just sitting at home. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. No one likes rejection; honestly, something would be wrong with you if you did. But at the same time, the only person who’s going to show up at your house is the UPS guy.
In your job search, you’d attend job fairs and networking events and mingle with recruiters. You’d let them know you’re available and what positions you’re interested in. Going out and flirting is the same way. Not knowing how to flirt is no excuse. We’re living in the information age, and if you can learn how to do the booty clap, the internet can teach you how to flirt too. Because we’re taught not to talk to strangers growing up, flirting and being approachable is not a skill that comes naturally to most. Furthermore, black women have developed the habit of being closed and guarded in public from being harassed by men on the street. However, going to a bar, club, play or restaurant is not the same as being accosted by a homeless man or thug rudely asking for your number. The only person who can learn these skills is you. So invest the time in upgrading your skills and generate attention in your dating life.
Keep your goal in mind
This last point is the most important. You wouldn’t go to one job fair and quit would you? You also wouldn’t go on one interview, get a rejection letter and then decide to go on welfare. Likewise, if one or two men don’t respond when you flirt, that doesn’t mean its time to quit. That just means they were practice for the guys who will respond to you. Be positive and optimistic about the process and let it work for you. When you combine all these elements, be consistent and don’t give up, you’ll be satisfied in your search. It may take time and energy but the rewards are worth it.
How to treat dating like a job search: part I, click here.
Make sure your resume highlights your skills and attributes
When you’re out pounding the pavement for a job, you take care to appear professional, polished and personable. When you’re dating, make sure you follow this rule too. I admit this is one area that I slack in. Being open to dating requires you to be ‘on’ for the majority of the time, meaning to look attractive, approachable and friendly at all times. Because you never know when or where you’ll meet Mr. or Ms. Right.
Wear clothes that flatter your figure, make you feel sexy (not sleazy), confident and attractive. Keep yourself well-groomed, because details matter. When you look good, you feel good about yourself, and when you are projecting a positive feeling about yourself is when you’re most attractive to others. I’m not suggesting that you sacrifice comfort for appearance, but you already know why the t-shirt and jeans look won’t cut it. Along with this general rule is the fact that you should brush up on current events and have several topics of conversation ready to engage someone with. You don’t want to come across you version of Denzel Washington or Brad Pitt, only to be tongue-tied and looking like a deer caught in the headlights. If you’ve been out of the dating arena for a while, you’ll want to brush up on this aspect. And if you’ve been looking for a while, you’ll want to keep this in mind too.
Post your resume on a few job boards/websites
Next, you’d read the classified ads and go online to find out which companies are hiring. Dating has that option too. I know alot of people scoff at online dating, but its become popular for a reason. No one likes to be rejected and online dating is a way to lessen the sting of someone refusing to give you their number or not being approached when out with your friends. Really think about your fears of online dating and the myths that are out there when determining if its right for you. Yeah, there are crazy people out there, but you’re just as likely to meet them in public as you are online. If you can’t honestly say you’ve never met a jerk, weirdo or man that was a little crazy at a club, bar or party, then I think you should post a profile and see what happens.
As with posting your resume on Monster.com or any similar job website, put in the effort to write an interesting and positive ad. Also make sure to include photos of yourself that are appealing to the opposite sex. Ladies, we already know that men are visual creatures. Its idealistic to think that someone will read your ad, become enamored with your clever and witty description of yourself, and decide to write you off the strength of what you wrote. But realistically, ads with pictures are exponentially more likely to receive a response than ones without pics. And you don’t want to talk to someone without seeing them first, so don’t do that to someone else. Its a numbers game, remember?
Tighten up your interviewing skills
You wouldn’t go on an interview acting all crazy… now if that’s true, don’t let anyone know that I know you (lol). Just as you had to learn how to interview well, being a good date is a learned skill. Dating skills are beyond the scope of this post, but make sure you add that to your dating search checklist. There are tons of books and website that speak on this more thoroughly than I can, so we’ll move on. Just don’t take it for granted that you’ll communicate how great you are and then show up and things not go so well.
One book I highly recommend to women is The Rules. When this book came out in the 90s I remember it made this huge uproar about the advice the authors give about dating. Their pointers may seem old-fashioned or outdated to you, but if what you’re currently doing isn’t working, that may be the indication you need to think of dating in different terms. And remember ladies, we don’t think like men. Taking relationship advice from your girlfriends may not be the best idea. They think like women, not like men, and may not know how to be successful in their search for a mate.
Parts 2 and 3 will be posted on Wednesday and Thursday.
One of the dislikes I probably share with you is the dating experience. To me, alot of it is what I think of as mental masturbation – you stroke your own ego so you put yourself out there, sometimes you stroke the egos of the men that you date, but you end up doing alot of pretzel brain twisting (over-thinking and over-analyzing situations until you make yourself miserable) all for the sake of meeting a guy worthy of your time. I’m being honest here family, I don’t enjoy it. But you know what – I’m the Motivated Sista, I’m here to motivate you and myself in the process. So let’s put another spin on this thing, shall we?
I heard or read somewhere that you should treat dating like a job, and I feel its definitely a good way to look at it. Its a necessary evil that alot of people don’t enjoy but must be endured. Lets really dig into this analogy and pump ourselves up to be successful at it regardless of how it makes us feel.
When we’re looking for a job, we are intrinsically determined to reach our goal. After all, we have bills to pay and one or more people to support by that paycheck. We believe that a job is going to come our way and will meet our career needs. We also believe that its only a matter of putting in our application, aceing the interview and that job is ours. When we don’t find what we’re looking for, we know that its only a matter of time before something suitable comes our way. Now why don’t we have that same attitude when it comes to dating? Men know one thing we don’t, ladies – dating is a numbers game. The more applicants you have in your dating pool, the more likely it is that you find the right candidate. What we tend to do, though, is meet one or two applicants who look like they’ll be competent, try to make an instant relationship, and then are frustrated when the new candidate either doesn’t have the right attitude, doesn’t do his job competently or makes the workplace an unpleasant place to be.
It goes without saying that we should keep a level head while evaluating applicants for a relationship, just as when we’re applying for jobs and building our careers.
Spread word of your search to your network
When you’re looking for a new job, whats one of the first things you do? You spread the word to your friends and family that you’re looking for a job and ask if they know of anything available. Make sure you do the same when you’re looking for a new mate. You never know who knows who, and the positive impression you leave on others could serve you well here. Describe to them the type of men that interest you and the type of relationship that you’re looking for. This is important because you don’t want your aunt hooking you up with marriage-minded men when you just want to date more. Conversely, don’t take it personally when your definition of a ‘good man’ isn’t the same as your cousin Peaches. She may equate a good man to one who stands up straight without assistance and gets a paycheck. Just thank her yet be firm about your expectations. Its not about her, and others who don’t share your romantic vision; its about the unexpected new men that enter your dating pool by publicizing your desire.
Click here to read Part II.