6 Practical Steps to Keep Sparkling All Year Through
By Najah Drakes
So, we are now officially more than a month into the new year
It’s the time when you notice more treadmills available at the gym, a little less writing in the planner you spent a mini fortune on. And the jolt which powered the hope and excitement of the new year fades.
It might be the time a little bit of defeat, sluggishness, or even disillusionment cloud your initial sunburst of expectation.
You’re still determined to stay the course and make it big.
You’re still committed to taking the steps and do the work.
But how do you stall the constant pitter patter of thoughts that cause you to doubt if, when and how you get to the finish line.
Believe it or not, these feelings of being stuck and not knowing where to start are good news. In fact, they’re great news.
They are great news because they tell me that the perseverance and desire are still there.
You just got a little lost along the way.
When I feel a little lost, it’s like that spark that propels me starts to dim.
It makes me think of my childhood playing with sparklers on the 4th of July. I remember the anticipation of opening that long non-descript elongated cardboard box to see those 12 unsuspecting metal sticks just waiting to be lit. There was always something magical about watching my father light them, waiting for that moment, "it took," and then watching the colors flail around as I elliptically cast my arms from side to side.
It is the same feeling I feel when I Sparkle. Like you got a plan, and you're going to werk until it works.
Everybody notices that extra pep in your step. That extra air of confidence as you reveal what you can no longer conceal. You’re going places. You're all sparkle-y inside. And there's nothing anybody can do about it.
I love that feeling.
In fact, I wish that feeling could last forEVER, but more often than not, it doesn’t.
The same way that metal stick evoked so much joy, I also know its fate as I watch the sparkle inch its way down the wire stem.
Eventually, time snuffs its sparkle out. While its glow might linger, eventually, the sparkler cools, and it will be lights out. Sparkle. Down.
All of us have been there. The truth is, sometimes we’re so on fire we just might spontaneously combust, and other times, we can barely find a flicker.
So, how does that vibrant woman of January 1, 2017 remain that woman full of hope, expectation and ambition through December 31st? How do we maintain that bold initiative, expectation and fresh lights of hope all year through?
While I know there will be days we feel less than…”sparkle-y,” here are several tips I have used to help me Sparkle, even when my situations don’t.
Tip #1: Have Sparkle Awareness.
While in some instances, our sparkle is instantly snuffed out, I have found for me I typically experience a slow dimming. It can be triggered by a broad range of events. Not speaking up when I should. Saying yes when my heart is saying no. Trying not to shine too brightly. Sitting still when all I really want to do is DANCE. Shoving myself into a size, situation or fit not designed for me. Telling myself I'm not, when my Maker says I am. And the countless other lies I tell myself that dim what was created to shine. Create a greater space to acknowledge and accept when you have allowed a person, place or situation to blow at your Sparkle. Like the blowing out of those birthday candles often resist the first blow, you can resist those blows. Remind yourself you were created to sparkle when you become aware your ability to maintain your sparkle is being challenged. Create “go-to” affirmations for those areas you already know you struggle. If you tend to feel easily rejected, you may create an affirmation like, “If God accepts me, who can reject me.” Or, if you struggle with insecurities, you may affirm, “God created me and my purpose with my flaws in mind. They can’t stop Him and they won’t stop me.” Affirm your Sparkle every opportunity you can.
Tip #2: Make Downtime Primetime.
For over a decade, my husband has worked at Verizon. In the communications industry, companies are dinged for downtime. In my world, the land of mommy, mommy, wifey, make it happen, with your eyes closed and hands tied behind your back, uptime is the primal enemy of downtime. On most days, my spirit just yearns for downtime. I have found when I rob, steal and take my downtime, I am much better positioned to Sparkle. Literally after my grocery runs, I come home, sit in my driveway, ignore the day-old food my kids left from the day before, recline my chair, retract my mini van sunroof, , play jazz, and …wait for it…just breathe. Yep, I am bound to receive a call from the kiddos asking why I am sitting in the driveway…again. I won’t answer because my downtime takes place even in primetime. You don't have to wait until bedtime for downtime. Steal 15 minutes throughout the day to make it happen. Your Sparkle is worth it. So, just do it.
**Please note I’m not talking about actions that will disrupt your progress. Because while everything is permissible, it is not always beneficial.
Tip #3: Put a spark to your yoga pants
You may or may not wear yoga pants, but we all have that favorite go to comfy, but frumpy piece. It’s that piece that makes you feel most liberated from adulting. Itr offers the look that says, “Closed for business. There will be no slay today. Maybe tomorrow.” Look, I get it. I have 5 boys and a hubby at home, and most days I’d just rather not adult. But in those moments when you’re feeling a little less than Sparkle-y on the inside, it is not the time to revert to frumpy, comfy mode. Would you describe your goals as frumpy or comfy? I mean if they were comfy, we wouldn’t be having this little chat we’re having now. Your goals are big, grand, impactful, disruptive and probably a little scary. The way you look affects the way you feel. Bed head and a head scarf are not really inspiring, and sometimes you just gotta inspire yourself. Looking cute is a quick, easy way to give yourself that little extra pop of pick me up. So put on your favorite lippie, a little make up and a cute outfit that brings out your inner sparkle. This is the reason I created DiviniCo’s affirmation line to help remind me to sparkle, even when I don’t feel like it. Don’t just talk the talk, dress the talk. And, unless your big, grand dreams include opening a yoga studio, put a spark to those yoga pants.
Tip #4: Sparkle ignites Sparkle.
As I kid I remember my brother using his Sparkler to ignite mine. There was a sudden surge of excitement once my Sparkler “caught.” Similarly, we can catch the “Sparkle.” There is a popular Scripture I love. “A tiny spark can set a great forest on fire.” People who Sparkle are just contagious. Make sure you have a couple of them in your friend arsenal. These are the friends you need to talk to often. They have that gift to cheer you up, bring perspective and even kick your butt when you need it. Don’t let these sparklers get crowded out of your frequent interactions. Schedule them on your calendar at least once a month. Allow your soul to marinate in their Sparkle. I promise before long, you will find yourself sparkling.
Tip #5: Protect Your Sparkle
Plain and simple. Some situations should just be avoided. I have watched so many people force themselves into toxic situations simply because they think they “should.” One of my favorite scriptures is, “Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial.” There are some people no matter how nicely you dress up and present yourself will find a way to reject you. They will passively, yet aggressively cause your soul to cringe and question. I’m not throwing myself on the battlefield for my soul unless I have to. There was a certain person who every time they called me, I literally felt I was going to vomit. What verbal assault would I be the victim of today? I would answer fearful of the resulting trauma. Then one day, a wise therapist once told me, why do you answer the phone? Huh? I responded. It had never dawned on me that I could choose to not answer the request for battle. I could simply, not answer the call. From that day forward, I would just let the call roll to voicemail. And truth be told, I would never listen to the voicemail. I decided to protect my sparkle. You can make a similar choice. Feelings may be hurt, but likely, “ain’t nobody gonna die.” The sparkle is valuable. Protect it.
Tip #6: Sparkle Much And Often.
What makes you smile? What makes your eyes dreamy and gives you that uplift and uptick? What ever that thing is, do it more. I mean like schedule it. Put it on the calendar and just do it. There is no place that makes me feel more at peace and more of me than being in nature. Whether it’s a quick walk, grabbing a park bench or just opening my front door and sitting right outside, nature has a way of washing the grey right out of my day. Be silly and laugh more. There are few things that can make you sparkle faster than a good laugh. Hang out with friends more, especially ones that Sparkle. This is not the time to dig up and re-connect with Debbie Downer from back in the day. Get a massage more. Date your spouse more. And avoid the obvious Sparkle Killers. An overload of serious, intense, stressful times will kill sparkle every time. If we spend more time doing what we have to do than what we were made to do, why are we surprised when we feel depleted? Your wires were made to fire. They were made to transmit electricity, power and light. So transmit more. Sparkle on, my friend.
So, as you prepare and plan to conquer the year make sure, “keeping your sparkle” makes the list. It won’t happen by accident. Be deliberate, schedule it, protect it and sparkle on!
Chief Creative Officer, DiviniCo
Download a Free Worksheet to Help You Sparkle All Year Long