- ‘LIVING MY BEST LIFE’ IS SUBJECTIVE. I’ve literally lost count of the amount of times I have seen people use this phrase. But more importantly I’ve mainly seen it used when people are on holiday, date nights, getting married, on a honeymoon, or have bought that new designer bag or shoes etc. As a result, I have also been part of several conversations consisting of my friends comparing themselves, or being so desperate to book a holiday and show that they are ‘living their best life’ as they post their beach pics too. But comparison is the thief of joy and can make you loose sight of what’s actually important to you!
To be honest, for me 2018 was one of the hardest years of my life, and it really reminded me that ‘living your best life’ is subjective. I was more concerned with making the best of whatever situation I was in at any given time. Living your best life can be spending time with family or your partner, overcoming trauma, achieving a fitness goal, or finally saving enough for the house you’d had your heart set on. So focus on how you can live YOUR best life as opposed to what society dictates ‘living your best life’ means.
2. BE INTENTIONAL- EVALUATE YOUR MOTIVE.
Last year it really hit how much this generation is so heavily reliant on social media. It is almost too easy to get sucked into following the latest trends that you may not be able to afford, being or dressing that little bit more ‘provocative’ to make money, copying what seems to be popular, or making sure you are or at least feel ‘relevant’ and ‘fit in’.
People will literally change or lie on social media for those reasons and more.
As for little old me, I’m just choosing to make sure that whatever I post, I am doing it for the right reasons and staying true to myself. I don’t need a certain amount of ‘likes’ to affirm my self worth. Likes ot not, I like me and the journey that I’m on. I say be intentional and use the platform you have wisely and make your own unique stamp on the world.
3. USE YOUR TIME WISELY.
Being truly productive starts with being disciplined with your time. Though there are 24 hours in a day, for those who have a 9-5 job, 1/3 of your day may already be accounted for- but that means you still have 2/3rds left to plan out and use in a productive way. Rather than spending hours going through entire seasons on Netflix or reality shows, you can limit it to one show and use of the rest of your evening to actually invest in yourself and tick off those goals! #SelfDiscipline
4. IF YOU FAIL TO PLAN, YOU PLAN TO FAIL.
One of the most disheartening feelings is getting to the end of a year and feeling like you didn’t achieve much even though you had all these huge plans and ideas in your head. The best way to combat this is to Make A Plan. Dreams don’t work unless we do, so though you might have a brilliant idea, bringing it into fruition means you actually need to take a moment to right out a step by step plan which you can tick off as you go, to ensure you can actually see your progress and get closer to hitting your goal. Planning really helps me to prioritise my time, stay focused and make necessary sacrifices when I have to. Ultimately, it has really helped me stay on top of things and not feel so overwhelmed when my work load gets a little cray cray.
5. TRUST IN THE ABILITIES GOD HAS GIVEN YOU.
Sometimes we can get so heavily caught up in studying or admiring people who are in the same field as us who are ‘better’ or more successful in societies eyes, that we start doubting and sleeping on all the amazing gifts we have ourselves. Whenever I find myself slowly getting a bit lazy, disheartened or not working as hard as I could, I remind myself: my choice to not invest in me, is a disrespect to all the time, effort and love God put into moulding all the unique things that make me me. I remind myself that He is not an author of mistakes and that there is a reason I have all the gifts I have but I will never see their full potential or who they are specifically supposed to reach, if I don’t trust, push and believe in them in the first place. I’m still on that journey but slow progress is better than no progress.
6. IT’S OKAY NOT TO BE OKAY.
We are human, and the reality is there are going to be times where life just feels like it absolutely sucks. Or, you just feel down to the point where hearing ‘don’t worry you’ll be fine’ just isn’t cutting it anymore. And sometimes that season can be a day and sometimes it can be months. And that is okay. I am human.
I’ve learnt that It’s okay to get stuck, but it’s not okay to stay suck. When you find yourself sinking you are still in control enough to decide whether to sink further or start swimming. Depending on the situation sometimes we can have that moment where we’re like okay snap out of it and we get up, put on our favourite outfit, or hit the gym or do whatever we normally do to lift our spirits.
But other times it’s not that simple. What I have learnt now, is that in those times all hope is NEVER lost. No matter how much life will keep making you feel like it is. Even if it means coming to terms with the fact that you can’t face it alone and need help from family, a pastor or a wise friend who you can trust and can hold you accountable, that step alone is a step in the right direction. And even if things don’t change overnight each step you take to try is a step closer to your victory. The only time you can truly hurt yourself is when you don’t try at all.
7. PATIENCE IS KEY.
If you’re like me who always has a million ideas running around in her head, you’ll know how hard it can be to be patient sometimes. Especially when you can see exactly how something should happen and what it should look like and why it has to happen soon etc. So when it doesn’t happen that way, or setbacks means things aren’t coming together as soon as you like it, can be soo frustrating! But, patience is truly a virtue and there have been so many times for me in the last year where my patience (even when it wasn’t easy) has lead to a far better outcome that whatever I had initially imagined. So whatever it is, as I’m always told, ‘Trust the process’ and lets Gods will be done. If it’s meant to happen it will happen and it will exceed your expectations!
8. PRAYER IS ESSENTIAL.
There is absolutely NO WAY I would have made it through this last year without prayer. There were so many points where one area would go wrong after another be it family, health, fears, etc.
For someone who is always commended on how ‘strong’ I am, real talk, I got to a point where I was running on empty. At this point that my pastor and loved ones really encouraged me to ‘pray without ceasing’ (1 Thessalonians 5:17) even if things kept going wrong. At first it started to feel very repetitive and generic but the more I started dedicating time to it and trusting in ‘the promise’ instead of dwelling so much on ‘the problems’, the more it became easier to pray and I’d find myself praying for longer and having a stronger desire to. Very very slowly but surely my loads started to feel lighter and more manageable, and though things didn’t always change or improve when I had anticipated them to, I can definitely say I saw changes for the better. I still have my dry spells but I’m determined to try and be truly consistent. It’s so hard to put into words how much prayer has played a huge factor in the woman I was entering into this new year, but what I can say for sure is that I truly understand now more than ever how essential it is!
9. I AM ONE OF A KIND.
Looking back at this year I can really say I love and am grateful to God for making me a unique individual.
Throughout this year, the more I observed how much social media encourages us to be ‘alike’, dress alike, act alike, even caption pictures alike, the more I started to desire, enjoy and own being different.
From an early age I went through some really trying experiences that blocked me from seeing and celebrating all the weird and wonderful things that make me me. But the closer I got to God and the more I really started to practice self love, the more myself and people around me constantly encouraged and celebrated my boldness and uniqueness. Be it my ‘quirky/goofyness’, my ethnic backgrounds, mentoring young people, being confident to be the one to say no if I didn’t believe in something, even if it meant going against the majority, my style and my talents etc, I have learnt to really dig being Izzy. The more I explore and understand all the things that make me me, the more I desire to use and push them and become a better version of myself every day. So stop focusing on what society tells you that you’re not, and start focusing on everything that you are! There is something truly beautiful about who you are and the specific things God has made you to be so embrace that spark!
10. EVOLVING IS A LIFE LONG PROCESS- YOU NEVER STOP.
I was definitely guilty of making ‘The Plan’. You know the plan we tell ourselves that by a certain age we have to have earned a certain amount of money, be in a certain stage in our career, be married in a big beautiful house with a six pack in tow etc. But having that ‘plan’ puts an enormous amount of pressure on a young woman, who in actuality, is still developing and exploring some of those areas and still ‘figuring it out’. Having that plan at the fore front of your thoughts can leave you feeling like a failure because you haven’t ‘made it’ yet or haven’t hit your ‘peak’ at the time you had planned to.
But what that plan doesn’t accommodate is the limitless power of God. By our standards our peak could be making it onto a certain platform or earning a certain amount that for us is ‘the ultimate stage’ or level of success. But what then happens when we get to that place, or if we get their early? What then happens to the rest of the time we have left with our life? Are there now no greater heights we can ever hit since we got to our goal? So if I loose my six pack does that now mean I’ll never be at my peak again?
One thing God has truly taught me throughout 2018 is that there is no limit to what we can do, be and achieve through Him, but we need to really start to believe that. Stop putting so much pressure, timeframes and deadlines on areas you don’t have full control over. You will get there!
But, evolving is truly a lifelong process and in every season you will find yourself blossoming and flourishing in new and unexpected ways, if you make yourself available to embrace and enjoy the journey. Give yourself credit for the small milestones you achieve along the way.
Plus, when you start operating by Gods standards as opposed to what the world tells you your ‘peak’ is, your standards move to a new, higher and far more exciting level filled with endless growth and joy because you trust the process. I can honestly say now that thoroughly look forward to how much more I am going to evolve, grow and shine this year even if its not the smoothest ride! #I’mLovingIt!