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HOW TO (REALLY) MAKE 2021 YOUR YEAR! | By Autume Brunswick

Whew! 2020........What do you say? So many people have so many fond memories of the year, while others might consider it their worst year to date. There have definitely been ups and downs and it seems like everyone was just ready for the year to be over already.

I was discussing with a friend recently how I didn't really get that part. I mean, I know 2020 has been a roller coaster, but it's not like when the clock strikes 12 on January 1 everything will magically be over. Covid will still be here. Pain will still show up. Racial divide will still take place. Bills will still need to be paid.

These are all factors that we can't make go away at the snap of our fingers or at the tick of the clock. There's a lot that needs to take place on our end to ensure that we are using the rest of the days we have on this earth to intentionally find ways to maneuver through our circumstances. Life is going to happen to us always. There will always be ups and downs, peaks and valleys. It's not enough to just sit in those valleys, nor is it enough for us to ignore them (aka "get over it"). We have to learn to accept them and focus on ways we can grow in and through them.

This is a reminder to myself too, and I'll give a briefing of my testimony for this at the end of this blog post. First, though, I want to help you all by providing 8 action steps that I have used this year to make the most of what I could when I did.

Recognize the difference between fear and discomfort

Often times, we may be scared to do or say something for fear of what could happen. I would like to pose that a lot of what we think we are afraid of is really just discomfort. Fear is something we feel when there is real danger ahead of us. I can almost guarantee that the goal or idea you've been afraid to take action on isn't going to harm you in any life-threatening way. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable by doing the thing in the midst of discomfort; not when things feel right; not when you've got it all planned out perfectly (because perfection is an illusion); and not when you feel comfortable. If you wait for things to be just right you'll be waiting forever. Do It SCARED!

Adopt a 'No Excuses' mentality

Much of success is a mental battle; something that you'll actually be able to correlate with all of the other action steps listed here. If you want 2021 to be different you've got to get disciplined. Hold true to what you said you would do when you said you would do it. The more you do this the more you build integrity with yourself, which will ultimately lead to credibility in your craft. And if you fall off, that's okay. Evaluate why that happened, adjust your approach, and go again. You've got this!

Identify and Eliminate Distractions

Now, this is a big one! How often have you told yourself you're going to do something but get distracted and the next thing you know nothing gets done?? I can't even count the number of times this has happened to me. I just might be the queen of getting distracted. BUT with intention, I've been able to redirect my focus when necessary. What's distracting you? Social media, texts, or phone calls? Put timers on your apps to limit your interaction with them (for iPhone users; I'm not sure if you android users have elevated to this yet 🤷🏽 . Does TV or your environment distract you? Go to another room or even outside of the house (where you can social distance of course). Make the changes necessary to ensure you can get done what you need to get done.

Take Better Care of You

I believe that self-care is composed of 3 elements: mental, physical, and spiritual. Even if you nurture one or two of the elements, but not all three, you can still find yourself overwhelmed, tired, lost, and thinking/acting irrationally. Ensure that you are taking care of all three. If you'd like me to do a separate blog post on specific tactics that help with each one, leave a comment below and I'll get to it.

Up Your Energy

GET EXCITED!!! You're on the journey to achieving goals, accomplishing big things, changing your future for the better. Get excited about that!! Don't be more excited to watch your favorite sports team possibly win in a game and not give that same energy, really more energy, toward you winning in this game called life. I get it, sometimes there are sleepless nights or just days where your energy isn't at it's peak. I have those days too. Learning to rest is important. There are also a few healthy things I swear by that help me keep my energy level up when I'm not quite feeling it, you can check that out on my blog here.

Focus on the Positives

I was watching a clip from a  sermon the other day that really sparked the idea to write this blog post. It's Stop Focusing on Negative Emotions by Pastor Steven Furtick. It reminded me of when I was speaking on Clubhouse a few nights ago (BTW if you aren't following me, you should. Name is @NatuallyAutume, of course) about the outcomes of life and I was explaining that you get out of life what you focus on. If you focus on how something didn't work out you'll be left in the spiral of  'I failed.' If you focus on how you can do better next time, you'll progress and gain knowledge in your field. Change your perspective and it will change your life.

Plan, Plan, Plan

A failure to plan is a plan to fail. Prioritization is key. It's as simple as that. I created a post on Instagram the other day detailing a planning method I've been using that's really helped me be more productive in life. If you're seeking a little guidance in that area, definitely check it out. I think it will add a lot of value to your planning.

Visualize Your Desired Outcome

If you got/accomplished all that you're hoping to get/accomplish what would life really look like? Get detailed about your vision. Visualizing exactly what you want life to look like will help motivate you even more to stay on track with your goals. It will also set the stage for you to prepare to be in that space. See yourself winning. See yourself with better. See yourself doing better. And keep that vision in front of you always!

This year I have failed a lot. I've never questioned my ability to succeed, but in all honesty, I have had several moments of letting imaginary fear creep in. It didn't tell me that I'm afraid of success, but it told me that I'm afraid of the responsibility that might come with it. But no more! I'm attacking every single one of these action steps this year. I'm determined to be a better me and I hope that you make that decision for yourself as well. Your loved ones deserve to get to see you win, and you deserve to be the person that encourages them to do the same.

Go make 2021 Your Year authentically, gracefully, unapologetically....

Love you,

Autume Brunswick

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ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHER | Legenia is an author, producer, director, businesswoman, photographer, Bible teacher, podcast host and most importantly a wife and mother. Being a lover of all things art, in 2006 she founded Bearden Productions Center for the Arts (BPCA) a 501c3 performing arts organization in North Little Rock, Arkansas. In her spare time Legenia hosts her podcast show Success in Christ on iTunes,cooks, works on her photography and writes. Legenia has an AA in Business, BA in Business Administration and a Master of Public Administration from Webster University. She and her husband Rev. Daniel Bearden have been married for 15 years and have 4 children, Theresa, Daniel, Autume and Angelina.