Step By Step

I didn’t know that such a day existed, but September 15th, 2018 was World Lymphoma Awareness Day, sponsored by the Lymphoma Coalition.  As a Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma survivor, I immediately felt an immediate sense of gratitude,

I didn’t know that such a day existed, but September 15th, 2018 was World Lymphoma Awareness Day, sponsored by the Lymphoma Coalition.  As a Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma survivor, I immediately felt an immediate sense of gratitude, as I do at so many other random moments, to be a cancer survivor after having endured 17 immunotherapy treatments.  It was a journey I will never forget, overlook or undervalue, especially as, according to the medicine, my diagnosis of Follicular Lymphoma is not curable.  The Lymphoma Coalition’s theme for this year is “Small Things Build Confidence”.

I am sure many of us can relate to the fact that life consists of ups and downs, highs and lows, hills and valleys, etc.  What is not said as often is that there are instances when we can be experiencing these things at the same time!  While concentrating on your career goals and aspirations but putting in extra hours on the job, you may have fallen away from your workout regimen.  Maybe an extended family crisis has taken away time and attention for meal prep and as a result, you find yourself 10 pounds up. I am sure we can each give an example of something similar.  The one thing to continue to remember is that life is a balancing act every single day and we must adjust, but never lose site of our goals, dreams and aspirations. But how, pray tell, you ask?  It goes back to the theme I cited earlier, “Small Things Build Confidence”.  So, let’s start there….

Start Small

I am one who likes to check the box when I complete a task. I look forward to being able to take my pen and cross through a “to do” item on the list.  It gives me a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. While you cannot focus on things that aren’t in your control, you can identify a few things that are of priority to you right now.  Write them down so that you can visualize and see them every day.  As of late, I have been on a mission to increase my water intake to at least 80 oz. a day.  I used to be up to about 100 oz. and maybe will be one day again, but for now, 80 oz. is my goal.  I have written it down on my daily to-do list and am focused on making sure I check that box every single day!  I am feeling better, my skin is clearer and brighter, and to be honest, I am eating less because, by design, I often drink before I eat, which decreases my intake.  Dare I say, I am shedding a few pounds in the process? Either way, it’s a healthy daily accomplishment.  A small simple step towards a healthier lifestyle.

Accountability

Over the summer, I was discussing water intake with my sister-in-love and cousin.  We all agreed that our intake could improve and so we three agreed that we would hold one another accountable to our goal.  Since then, we have exchanged texts and shared posts to encourage each other to stay the path.  It has helped to keep me honest and to make sure that I remain consistent.  I admittedly may slip a day here and there, but they are there as a reminder to stay the course and keep it chugging…literally!  They help, they motivate, they encourage.

Regardless of your goal, find a way to hold yourself accountable.  Whether it be that workout partner who wakes you up at 5:30am to make sure you make your spin class.  Maybe its a helpful app that will provide that gentle nudge to help you remain focused. Perhaps it’s simply a post-it note on the mirror in your bathroom, car dashboard, and desk at work (yes, all three!) that will serve as that constant reminder to stay on task.  Maybe you need all of the above!  You know yourself best!  Create and/or surround yourself with the accountability “partner” that will help you succeed.

Earlier this year, I started The Accountability Workshop, which is another extension of my organization, Project She.  It is a forum established to discuss important and relevant everyday life situations and circumstances as it pertains to what I call the Nine Aspects of Life.  With the help of field experts, we present ideas, methods and solutions to best approach these sometimes complicated matters amid the challenges we face on a daily basis as wives, mothers, daughters, caregivers, professionals, entrepreneurs, mentors, community advocates, and organizational leaders.  This too, has also proven to be a wonderful tool for me as well.  Yes, I happen to be the founder and creator, but I am also a willing learner and participant!   To that end, perhaps align yourself with a local group or organization that will help you to hold yourself accountable!

Celebrate

I love to celebrate happy occasions.  Any excuse for a get-together, I am down.  I find that I sometimes make up reasons for a get-together!  The four things that make me the happiest are family, friends, fellowship and food (yes, in that order).  That is what it is all about.  So, why not choose to also celebrate your accomplishments, no matter how big or small?  Who’s to say that drinking 80 oz. a day is not a big deal, especially when you spent half of the day in the bathroom?  What I’m saying is that rewarding yourself along the way can be equally as motivating. Set your mission to say, “If I do ________________, then I will __________________!”.  Once accomplished and celebrated, create the next small goal, continue to build on your confidence and success and then plan your next celebration.  It could be as simple as a glass of wine or as grandiose as a trip to Jamaica!  Who’s to say how and what you should celebrate? Make each accomplishment special and celebratory because you did it!  No one else but you will have lost those 20 pounds.  Nobody else completed a 10-day juice cleanse.  It was only you who crossed the finish line at that marathon! And by the way, I expect an invite!

It’s okay to make a big deal out of every “little” thing, especially if it pushes you to accomplish the next thing! Your confidence will build and sooner or later you will realize, you really can do anything!

Every day won’t be easy, but the accomplishment will certainly be worth celebrating, first and foremost because we are a living witness to LIFE!  Live life to the fullest and go accomplish big things!  I’m here with you and routing for you!  I’ll drink to that…water, that is!

For more information about water intake, click here.  For more information about Rhonda’s Accountability Workshop, click here.

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Rhonda Hicks
Rhonda Smith Hicks is a wife, mother of two, IT professional, entrepreneur and cancer survivor. She is originally from New Jersey, however, has called North Carolina home for the past 25 years. Rhonda holds a degree in Business Administration Management from Meredith College. Her corporate career has been in the fields of telecommunications and IT, primarily focusing on project, account, and personnel management. In November, 2009, Rhonda launched her first entrepreneurial venture, Amazing Grace Event Management. Over the past six years, she has had the opportunity to plan and manage events spanning from milestone celebrations and weddings to small business and large corporate trade shows on both a national and international scale.
Rhonda is an active member of her community. She is the president of the Raleigh-Durham Chapter for the National Association for Professional Women (NAPW), which is the largest women's networking organization in the country, with over 600,000 members nationwide. The NAPW, whose president is Star Jones, also includes a nonprofit organization that supports four organizations - Dress for Success, The American Heart Association, Girls Inc. and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation - all of which are important for today's women. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, whose main thrusts are Sisterhood, Scholarship and Service. Rhonda is also a Sunday school teacher and member of the Youth Ministry Leadership Team at her church. When Rhonda is not busy taking her daughter to Girl Scouts or cheering on her son at his basketball games, she loves to travel and spend time with her family. She enjoys hosting gatherings at her home to bring family and friends together for food, fun and fellowship!
Her latest venture, Project She©, is her personal passion. Because she lives the life of a busy wife, mommy and business woman, Rhonda understands the challenges and stressors that can be overwhelming on a daily basis. This project was born out of those experiences and it is her hope this forum will serve as a place for women to support one another in the name of encouragement and positivity through the powerful bond of womanhood.