The Better. A Sunday Series – 4.1.23: “I Got Bad Habits.”

The Better. A Sunday Series

“ Even with all odds stacked against you, if you have a strategy you can win. Don’t let the facts scare you because you are more than able.”


“I Got Bad Habits” by Paula G. Akinwole

I have a really bad habit of giving myself challenges. The challenges themselves are cool. I am an advocate for personal growth and development. But it’s me. Hi, I’m the problem, it’s me! I can’t help myself. I will write on my whiteboard or plug a list into my phone and then put myself into this self induced challenge in which I create crazy parameters and a strict time restraint to force myself to change! And the challenges aren’t always that complicated. For example, this week I was on a 5 in 5 days challenge which consisted of: No eating out, Fasting from 9pm to 10am, daily meds and blood sugar checks, and a daily workout. I bet you’re thinking that’s a great challenge. Me too! I was pretty successful (other than working out and taking my meds). But also, I drove to Baltimore this week for WOWPS, braided my hair into tiny long box braids, had a 27 task to-do list (that’s a whole other problem) and my disease was wildin out! Reality, I had set myself up for failure. The challenge deserved dedication and grace and while I gave myself a little, no challenge would have been a better choice. Especially since I had just come off of a challenge that I paid to participate in (which was really freaking revolutionary so shout out to Robinette Cross). 

So now a new week is coming and the inkling to challenge myself is scratching at my neck. I really don’t know why I’m like this because I suck at completing things, my to-do list goes undone, and my clothes are never folded the same day I take them out of the dryer. I have ADHD, that’s one reason. But also, I really wanna succeed in life for me and my family, and the only way I know how to do that is to plan for it. To write it down, to make it plain, to agonize over the details and plan it into different calendars and write it on my bathroom mirror. 

This week at WOWPS, Ayanna Albertson Gay taught us about social media and some strategies for success but when asked questions about her method, I noticed that each of her answers had a similar tune: I do what makes me happy! (Follow me, I’m going somewhere.) No quote, but that was the theme I heard and the energy I felt from her. This beautiful black sister was living out-loud, successful, and not confining herself to restrictions that hindered her happiness. Sure, she taught us about planning and being mindful of a schedule but she also explained how she doesn’t stress it. She uses what’s in her tool box and executes excellence based on what she’s got, not what she’s trying to present. That shit was EYE OPENING! 

There are goals, right? Things I wanna achieve and stuff I wanna get done. But I also wanna feel good about myself and live with joy. Whipping myself weekly with challenges ain’t it. It might be for you and you might reward yourself with icecream weekly but I need space to feel my way through the day and I need growth opportunities to change my mind and adjust without feeling like a failure. I don’t know the answer yet but I know it looks like less stress, more freedom, more grace, and less restrictions. I think my only challenge for this week will be (I told you I can’t help myself) to simply ask myself the question: Is this shit gonna make you happy? Is it serving the goal? 

Because I can be successful and have a plan while also not burdening myself with perfection, accepting every opportunity and saying No when needed, relinquishing tasks to others sometimes, and allowing myself a shift when needed. I’ll try that and let you know how it goes. 

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