Personal Development


 Photo by Drew Beamer on Unsplash

Happy New Years – There’s Habits to Be Made

I am Jude. I hope that you and your family enjoyed the holidays.

My family was sick in the days leading up to Christmas so we were only able to have direct contact with one another after we all obtained negative Covid results. And even with that, the usual festivities were downsized and limited to our home. 

This left the holidays feeling a lot less Christmassy. However, “Team Clyke” was together and THIS made our celebration meaningful and most memorable. I got to spend time with the Cubs, Ky’s excitement was infectious and we created some new memories. I am truly blessed.

But now that Christmas is over, it’s time to get back to the process. I am eager to get on with the good work in 2022. There’s habits to be made…. 

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

New Years is a global celebration marking the end of one year and the beginning of another. For many of us, it symbolizes hope, change and opportunity. It is a time for reflection, planning and for taking long overdue action. 

Well, I am not waiting until New Years. I want to hit the ground running!

I am reviewing priorities, reconsidering goals and determining how I can be successful in 2022, one good decision at a time. I have already begun updating my routine, challenging my thinking and using specific organizational tools. 

Ultimately, I believe we need to convince ourselves that every day is New Years. Every morning offers a chance for new beginnings, to alter behaviours and improve our relationships with ourselves and the world. Each day presents an opportunity to Break Free and Be Better.

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I am proud of what I have accomplished in 2021.

I have undergone some significant  spiritual growth and personal development. I have effectively started a new career in Human Resources(HR) and I have a national mandate to service Afrikan/Black employees within Corrections Service Canada(CSC). I have started a blog, I have registered Unshackled Solutions Life Coaching and Consulting and I will be starting my own business in the New Year. 

That is all well and good, but that was last year. I am now focused on tomorrow. Life is a journey, not a destination. I’m already considering my next challenge or opportunity. What can I do to further my personal growth and professional development? How can I become better organized and more efficient with my time? 

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Oftentimes, New Year’s Resolutions are fleeting. They lack planning and specificity. In contrast, sustained change usually looks different. It’s more strategic and deliberate.

My advice is to develop a basic process that works for you and identify several key tools to provide you with direction, ongoing assessment and accountability. Create a system that: (1)highlights what you specifically want to change, improve or eliminate, (2) utilizes S.M.A.R.T. thinking for goals – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely (3) applies incremental and consistent action and (4) allows for adjustments as necessary.

To use the Nike tag line – Just Do It. There will never be a perfect time. Don’t wait for new sneakers, the right outfit, good weather or the perfect training partner. Take the first step. Move!

Lastly, if you are considering change, work on you solely for you. Not for anyone else…. but yourself. Not for approval, acceptance, acknowledgement or accolades. Do it for you. It is the truest kind of motivation. 

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Atomic Habits by James Clear is a comprehensive guide on how to create and break habits through consistent incremental change. The book has two central concepts that I believe are genius: 

Get 1% Better Every Day

As opposed to global changes the author asserts that marginal improvements everyday lead to dramatic results. In fact, he suggests that just a 1% increase every day yields a 37x improvement by the end of the year. I like the idea of small steps, consistent efforts resulting in atomic results. 

Change Your Identity To Change Your Habits

He writes, “The most effective way to change your habits is to focus not on what you want to achieve, but who you want to become.” He believes “you first establish the identity, and then the process and outcomes will follow much easier”. In other words, embody the underlying value and the corresponding actions will follow.

For instance, as opposed to focusing on a goal to lose weight, begin to define yourself as a healthy person and adopt the behaviors and mindset associated with a healthy lifestyle.

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Side Hustle – Unshackled Solutions Life Coaching and Consulting

I have officially registered for a virtual life coaching program starting in February 2022. It will provide formal instruction on a  specific framework and 60 ICF certified training hours towards eventual ACC accreditation. In the meantime, I have begun reviewing other comparative life coaching modalities and developing my own unique philosophy. 

Ujamaa is the Fourth Principle of Kwanzaa. It means Cooperative Economics. To build our own businesses, control the economics of our own community and share in all its work and wealth. Ujamaa is a commitment to the practice of shared social wealth and the work necessary to achieve it.

When I consider business and entrepreneurship, it is in a communal context. I am pursuing self-employment not only for my benefit but for the collective benefit of my family and my community. I want to be an example to others. I want to provide goods and services that uplift and inspire. Ujamaa is one of my primary motivations. 

Ujamaa was also the name of a community-based African Nova Scotian organization formerly headed by Rocky Jones, the iconic Canadian freedom fighter. I was honoured to work with Rocky through Ujamaa until his untimely passing. It is an experience that I will fondly remember forever.

Your Next Best Read – The Obstacle Is The Way by Ryan Holiday

This was another remarkable book. Ryan Holiday explains how to apply the principles of Stoicism to overcoming challenges in everyday life. It consists of interesting anecdotes about famous historical figures and illustrates ‘Stoic’ lessons such as: obstacles provide opportunities for growth, our perception of the world dictates our actions and how you do anything is how you do everything. 

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Positive Reflections – What’s Good?

Getting Back on Track 

I must admit that for the past number of weeks I have been struggling. It has been a challenge completing my daily disciplines and adhering to the routine I have established over the last number of months. Daily disciplines are the regular behaviours and practices I have undertaken to promote mental and physical well-being, balance and connection with the Spirit. 

I have engaged in some important internal discussions that have prompted some interesting insights:

(1) You are never going to be committed to something 100% of the time. There are going to be times when your motivation is low, you lose focus and question your purpose.

Understand that this is part of the change process. Recognize that personal doubts, external challenges and imposter syndrome will become close companions. Not to be ignored or dismissed, but to be openly embraced and accepted.

(2) Deconstruct the process and your vision. Create practical to do lists and action plans. Consider the big picture but dedicate yourself to completing the small tasks. 

(3) You need to be generous with yourself. Practice patience and offer large measures of forgiveness and self-love. Remember, this shit is tough! We are all doing the best we can with the tools we have.

Effecting meaningful personal change is a gradual process of learning and unlearning that requires time and close attention. Change and adherence are tough.

Getting up early, stretching everyday and eating properly can be onerous and unappealing at times. I am an advocate of lifelong learning and constantly  challenging yourself to Be Better, but I also need to learn to demonstrate empathy with myself. We are all going to stumble and fall. It’s required for healthy growth. It’s part of the process.

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Public Service Announcement

I received an unexpected gift just before Christmas. I was apprised that my current assignment with Human Resources has been extended for another year. Things can always change but the approval will allow me to remain with the Diversity and Inclusion Team and work directly with Afrikan employees for the foreseeable future. That’s a quite a blessing!

I have been disappointed in the past when previous assignments have been cancelled because of financial and other organizational priorities. However, this time it’s different. I have no expectations and I am much more aware of my value.

So, I am challenging any fatalistic or narrow minded thinking. I have some control over how I ultimately spend my remaining years in the Federal government.

I can ultimately bring everything that I am learning back to the Atlantic Region, explore other assignments and permanent positions within HR or seek Diversity and Inclusion opportunities in other Departments. I am going to be good regardless!

I am no longer resigned to my fate. Instead, I am asking myself questions I never considered before. How can I find value in the work that I do and where can I best serve my passions and my interests in my remaining years with the Federal government? 

In truth, nothing much has changed except my perspective. I simply have more belief in myself and my ability to influence my future. And in many instances, that’s all that matters.

“You must master a new way to think before you can master a new way to be”, Mariann Williamson.

Free your mind and remove your limitations. Break Free and Be Better. I am Jude.

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