4 Ways to Make 2018 Great

New Year

As soon as the kids took off their Halloween costumes it felt like they were pulling out the Christmas tree lights, and here we are in 2018. Is it me or is time flying by?

Anyway, this is the time of year where everyone is reflecting. What went well, what went wrong? Some people will be shouting "new year new me" and while I am not a fan, I am a recovering member of the club. I am not quite sure why I thought I had to wait until the new year to change. Change is a series decisions you make and they are not bound by time or date.

However, I understand the concept. The new year brings about a refreshing sense of newness and it seems like the right time to lose weight or cut people off when really the right time was the moment you made the decision to be a better you. I get though we are all looking to win in some form or fashion. Whether it be finding that great love, buying our dream home,  booking a speaking gig, or landing a high paying client. Whatever it is we all want to be great. So this year, if you start losing focus on the resolutions here, are some habits to adapt to make sure this is your year.

  1. Be intentional. Whatever your goals are get aligned and make them happen. Once you are sure about what you want  to accomplish make sure you are constantly doing what you need to do to make it happen on purpose.
  2. Change your mindset. You can have everything you want if you think you can. Stop allowing our past, what you did last year, or the limiting beliefs you have to stop you. Trust me we all have had these beliefs and a lot of times they are inherited. How you were raised helps to shape what you think is possible but that is a lesson for a different day.
  3.  Stop setting goals without setting time to do the work. We all are like Ok I am going to lose weight this year, but what we fail to figure out is when we will meal prep, when we add working out to our already busy schedule, how many calories will we intake. Or better yet my clients say this is the year they will find a man, yet they never leave the house, don't know what they are looking for in a relationship, and sadly some of them are still in love with their ex. Simply setting the goal is not enough. You have to plan for the process.
  4.  Make your to-do list NON NEGOTIABLE.  I get it at the end of the day you are tired and just want to sit on the couch and watch the TV, or maybe you want to read a book. Either way, the to-do list is not a priority after work. You had the best intentions but by the end of the day, your determination fades. But this is where we mess up. This is how we stay stuck and never lose the weight, start the business, finish writing that bestseller or whatever the goal is.  If you are really serious you have to work even when you are tired and don't want to because that is where the real change happens. 

What are you going to do to make this a great year for you?

6 time management tips to help you have it all

We want it all if we are honest with ourselves, and in my opinion nothing is wrong with that. We want the family, career, money, cars, all of it. Now how do we get there? You have to begin telling yourself you can have it all and then define what “it all” is for you. This will look differently for every one. Figure out what your ideal day looks like. Does this include meetings, sessions, gym time, children, husband, work, travel? You have to know what you are working toward so you can get there. Then there is time.

Time, if we are honest we often waste away (social media, reality TV, sleep) and then complain about not having enough of it. Coming from my own past experience, watching TV instead of working out was much more fun. However, you could always find me complaining about my weight and saying I had no time to work out. Another old favorite of mine was using my children as an excuse not to clean. Yep I would say well I work every day the weekend is the time I need to be with them. When really I just wanted to avoid the laundry, scrubbing, and sweeping. Yes spending time with my kids is hella important but if one is napping and the other is reading how much time are we really spending together? Still, I would think geesh I really just need a day to clean... yes after wasting an entire day with excuses.

I was making a lot of excuses to simply do what I wanted to do (be lazy, although I called it rest) and not what I needed to do (everything else, cook, clean, etc.). I always found myself saying I want to do more, be more, and have more, but I was not putting in the effort. I was putting in the excuses.

Excuses are tools of nothingness (yep I am a proud member of Zeta Phi Beta- all my fellow NPHC Greeks feel me on this). Back to these excuses... making them was only getting me one thing NOTHING. The truth was I had time to get healthy, cook, start a business, and whatever else I wanted to if I used my time wisely. What I needed to do was to shift the way I thought about time. I had convinced myself I did not have enough of it when the truth is I had plenty. I simply had to use wisely.

Here are a few things I started to do to gain better control of my time.

  1. Protecting my time. Which really means setting boundaries, and saying no when I needed to say no and no longer feeling guilty about it.  I now refuse to allow my time to be wasted. It may seem harsh but it has really been beneficial for me and my family.
  2. I am intentional about how I spend my time. If I set out to spend time with my family, I make sure everyone is awake, present, and with limited electronic interaction. If it is time to blog or do other stuff related to my business I make sure I set the intentions to complete those task. It really is about a mind shift here.
  3. I plan for things. Part of being able to fit so many things into one day is knowing what must be done. If I know what I have to do, I can fit in what I want to do. I decided I wanted to put more effort into my own self development. So instead of having my own lip sync battle on the way to work daily I now make sure I listen to a podcast that will feed my growth at least 3 days a week on my way to work. 
  4. Prioritize. This is my best kept secret. If it can be done later I do it later and do something that cannot wait. Everything is not an emergency so it will not be treated as such.
  5. Practice discipline. It is easy to lay down because I worked all day. Then who is going to cook, clean, blog, talk to my clients, how will I ever get into shape. When I set my list I do it. There is no waiting until tomorrow because I have already filtered out what can wait so it is not on the current day’s to do list.
  6. I am flexible with my family. I know you giving side eye after reading 1-5, but I am. If my babies are sick things get shifted. My daughter is pushing 13 so her emotions and hormones are off the chain. If she needs some extra mommy time she gets it. Sometimes bae needs time and I am not here for the games so bae gets his time.

By doing all these things I am so much closer to my goal of having it all. I am able to be a great wife, mom, biz owner, and still employee. It is not easy but it can definitely be done.

 

How do you manage it all? Have questions? Shoot me an email mrstoyacarter@gmail.com I would love to help.

3 Reasons why Comparing makes you Lose!

The fastest way to make yourself miserable is to look at what other's are doing. Their life will always look better than yours if you are looking at the phone and they are living their life. We live in a world where people’s lives are literally at our fingertips. Don’t think so? Scroll through anyone’s Facebook Feed. You will know when they met their boo, how and when he proposed when they got married, pregnant, and every fight in between. Of course, there is always an exception I have a friend who waited a year before she “debuted” her daughter on Facebook.

With so much exposure we have a front row seat to anyone's life we want.  We see the bags, trips, cars, and if we are real enough to admit it we want it for ourselves. There is nothing wrong with wanting more the issue starts when you compare and covet what others have. If we are not careful we can start to want their relationship too. We see what their partner is doing for them, what they bought, how they said they were beautiful even though they gained weight then silently and slowly we begin to think their version of the love is the only version.

We get mad at what we have at home believing our love life is supposed to be like what we see on the gram. The sad thing is we never consider any differences. We don't stop to look at how long they have been together, is he taking her on vacation because he got caught with his side chick, the difference in bank accounts, or anything else.

We stop remembering all the things that make our relationship special because we are too busy looking at others. In the past, I shared with a friend that I did not want a man I had to cook Thanksgiving meals every single day so being true to me I got a man who did not require that. On the flip side, one of my friends cooks daily and from scratch. If I were to base my relationship on hers I would be failing as a wife, and my husband would be miserable. Every relationship is different and we have to learn to appreciate what makes our relationship special. When you constantly compare your relationship to others you lose in major ways.

You get stuck so you don’t produce. You are so busy worrying what others are doing and how they are posting on Instagram you are unable to focus on your own relationship. You cannot be a good wife if you are trying to force your man to fit a mold that some other woman made. It doesn’t matter if someone else’s husband has them all over there social media, your husband may not be into that. So by demanding he subscribes to someone else’s standards you will mess up what is working for you and cause unnecessary arguments. If he has never paraded you on his social media why are you asking him to start now? The woman who is on her husband’s social media may be missing something in her relationship that your husband does on a regular.

You are coveting an ending when you have no idea what it took to get there and if you could even handle it. Sure it is all fun and games watching them take trips but what if he choked her right before they took the picture? Everyone is happy on pictures because we smile for the camera not frown for the camera.  What if the couple you are calling your relationship goals have dealt with an affair in their marriage? Do you want that too? So much could be going on behind the scenes that there is really nothing for you to be jealous of. You may want what they have now but could you have survived what they went through to get there? If you are not willing to struggle don’t envy the success.

Finally, you never know the time frame for success. There are no overnight successes. You have to put in the WERK!!!! Think about anyone who you want to be like, pick a blogger (Regina from Byregina has had how many business and blogs), singer (K. Michelle has had how many record deals, and she suffered abuse), actress (Halle Berry is gorgeous and she has had bad luck in love), your friend who got married before you (how many bad relationships did she have). Nothing happens overnight. You can’t start a committed relationship on Monday and expect it to look like your friend’s relationship when she has been married 3 years. Comparing your start to someone else’s middle will have you upset every time.

The more accesses we have to others the more important it becomes to be happy with what you have. This in no way means be complacent we should all be striving for more, however comparing and being jealous is not the way. Always remember social media is a highlight reel. It is supposed to the show the person in the best light. No one is posting their messy house or their arguments. Just because you do not see it doesn’t mean it is not there. Remember to be grateful for what you have and water your own grass to make it better.

 

3 Reasons why Sex is important in Marriage

sex and marrige

Sex, sex, and more sex. Now that we got that out of the way, let's have a real conversation. We live in a society where sex is everywhere right? Remember the freaky Hardees commercial that had some men ready to eat a burger a day? Like what the hell is sexy about a burger? Even the M&M candy commercials have started to have some sexual innuendos. But it is the world we live in.

If it is so common, which it is, then why are people, married people, in particular, shying away from talking about it? Especially in the proper setting. Better yet why are some married people shying away from having sex. 

Recently I spoke at an event and when I mentioned scheduling sex the ladies dam near shut down like I called their mothers the B word. I was shocked because I was at a mommy and me event which meant everyone had had sex before. Then I thought well maybe they don't want to schedule it because that makes it seem too impersonal. Nope, they didn't want to talk about it because they were not doing it.

Then if you watch reality TV (and we all know I do) Kirk, in defense of his recent cheating scandal, was talking about how his wife, Rasheeda has not been having sex with him. Let me feel you in... Kirk and Rasheeda are married and have been for years. Now there is a possibility he has fathered a child with another woman. While having some man to man talk he kept saying that Rasheeda was not giving it up and she was rolling over on him when he touched her. Let me note Rasheeda is like many of us, a BAWSE. She has children, a couple businesses, and I am not sure if she is still rapping or not. So she is busy. Which was also part of his argument. I am not making excuses for her simply giving you a full picture.

On top of all this, I recently overheard a conversation where a woman proudly discussed not being sexual, giving her man oral sex, and exclaiming that he married her for reasons other than sex. Sis, really? We all get married for reasons other than sex but I think it is naive to think sex has nothing to do with it. This is not the traditional days where we are marrying for a dowry, or to expand territories.

Aside from the great pleasure, and instant feeling of calm sex is very important in a marriage. Consider this...

Sex is the one thing you share with your mate that you don't share with anyone else. The world gets your smile, your job gets your strong work ethic, your kids get your love. You give it all to everybody...except the sex. You save that for bae right? So why be stingy with it? Sex is what keeps the two of you from falling into roommate syndrome.

It is an intimate conversation with body parts that creates immense trust. The ability to truly be free and unapologetically say I like it like this, touch me there is so freeing. More than that you are trusting that your partner will comply without judgment. That type of trust builds real intimacy. 

The lack of sex, when both parties are healthy, breeds and atmosphere of distrust. It does not matter how liberal, trusting and free you are in your relationship, go too long without sex and you will start to wonder who has been hooking your boo up. It is just that simple.

I understand, maybe sex is something so intimate to you that talking about it seems ridiculous. Or maybe you are having lots of great sex and you don't feel the need to talk about it. The tea is everyone else IS talking about it So whether you talk about it or not make sure yo are doing it. I get it, maybe you are not as liberal and as free as I am but sex in your home is a MUST. Need some pointers, tips, and just a way to take sex off the to-do list and into the bedroom? Join my 15-day sex challenge HERE. I dare you!!!!

4 Ways to Fight Fair in Love

fighting fair

What is the number one rule in having a healthy disagreement with your partner? In the words of one of my favorite movie characters "You have to fight fair you know that."- Dr. Patricia Agnew from Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married. She so eloquently summed up how to disagree and move on when it comes to your relationship. We have got to stop hitting below the belt just because our emotions are high.

Communication is the building blocks of real intimacy. Don't believe me? Consider this, there is something that you do to your husband that he loves (mine likes when I.... - yea its none of your business lol, feel in your own blank). How do I know he loves it? He told me. Now that I am clear on what he likes I am able to be intentional about doing it. If he never told me then we would not be able to share such special moments. That is why communication is so important.

Think about it this way most of the conflict/disagreements, or whatever cute word you want to use to describe the emotion filled conversations you and bae have are over a lack of communication. You are not mad because he left the toilet seat up. You are mad because of the perceived lack of care for your booty. Real communication is an art. A complex piece of work that has several different layers. It is more than the words we say and needs to be practiced often. There are so many rules to help us communicate better, but in the heat of the moment, we forget.

I will admit I have struggled with communication... a lot. I could blame my parents and their poor communication styles, but the truth is I know better so I should do better. I have studied communication as a part of my career and yet when it came to me and bae I was struggling. I couldn't hear what he was saying because I was too ready to respond. I failed to express my concerns because I was ready to attack. I was a hot mess. What does all that have to do with you? I put together my favorite four tips to fighting fair so you don't have to be as hot a mess as I was.... thank me later.

1. Tell the whole story. Too many times when we are communicating we run off a list of wrong doings and never tell it all. We are not really mad because he made the wrong turn at the light, we are mad because he didn't believe us when we told him to turn the other way. Him not believing us translated to us that he didn't value our knowledge. It is ok that he has been working long hours what is not ok is that we feel neglected and like he has no idea what's going on at home. The point is to make sure you are sharing with him the emotion behind the anger.

2. Avoid loaded words! You know what I mean, those words that under any other circumstance would be fine but since you two are having a disagreement it is judgemental and disrespectful. Oh, you don't know? Let me give you an example.... "Go call your little friend and tell them to..." Now on any other occasion, the word little would be fine. However, in this situation, it is dripping with disrespect. 


3. Stop bringing up old stuff!!! Part of good communication is sticking to the issue at hand. Not bringing up old stuff to make your side of the disagreement seem more valid. Why does it matter what happened two years ago? Did you leave him? Have you had fun with him since? Would you want him bringing up something you did two years ago? Ok then move on. Keeping track of perceived wrongdoings does not allow room for growth. As a couple, you two should always be growing together.

4. Close your mouth and listen. So maybe that was two things but you get my point. I know ladies, this is not our favorite. We have got to start listening to what is said instead of listening only to reply. Also, everything you think doesn't have to be said. Sometimes it is ok to allow him to have the last word. This was really hard for me. I was the type to just keep arguing even though I knew he was probably right because I was too far in lol. Crazy I know, the growth is so real.

So here is the deal, you are going to have disagreements in your relationship. I personally think if two people agree 100% of the time someone is not being real. That being said the disagreements do not have turn into arguments, and huge blow-outs if you follow the rules. Want more informton about communication? Join my FREE email course. How do you fight fair?