Design by Sawyer Pennington

People have told us they're using our sisterly banter to start conversations with others (family, friends, and even in classrooms), so Black created "Conversation Starters". Stay tuned as we'll be introducing new topics on a regular basis!


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I love the holidays but definitely have mixed feelings about the start of a new year. On one hand, it's like a clean slate, a fresh beginning, where you can try to do things better – whether specific things like dieting, exercise, keeping the piles of paper from accumulating or "big picture" things like trying to spend more time with friends and family, and being smarter about money. But on the other hand, I hate feeling pressure to have a list of goals and resolutions, especially since I know it'll be an overly ambitious list and I'll soon "slide back" into old habits. And then I'll feel like a failure.


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If it makes you feel any better, I suspect you are not alone in your approach. Many people have lists of New Year's resolutions that are too long and too ambitious. Which means you are setting yourself up for failure, not success. What would happen if you took your list and picked a few that you think are the most important, or would have the biggest impact on your life? Then set realistic year-end goals and work backward which will let you stay focused on where you are going. Then if you "slide back" it is a temporary situation not a total failure.
THE CONVERSATION STARTERS
  • Try to think back to your most important goal pre-COVID. Why was this your #1 goal and is it still important to you?
  • If you could only have two or three things on your New Year's resolution list, what would they be and why?
  • Do you look at New Year's resolutions as what you want to start doing on January 1 or what you'd like to have accomplished by December 31?

Yes, I love lists. But I'm not "that person" who looks at a terrible situation determined to find the silver lining. Yet alone a list of items. Somehow that changed a few weeks ago when Black and I were working on a Book Bite about exercise. In the P.S. section, which explained why the excerpt's as relevant today as when it was written, we commented that the pandemic made me look at exercise as a way to help reduce my stress and that maybe we should write a separate post about positive changes we've made due to the pandemic. (Similar to the positive things that happened to me years ago when my husband got fired.) As often happens, I thought it was just another one of Black's countless ideas for posts that I'd file away – except it really did get me thinking. So, I decided to create this checklist, although I struggled to keep it to only five things:

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People have told us they're using our sisterly banter to start conversations with others (family, friends, and even in classrooms), so Black created "Conversation Starters". Stay tuned as we'll be introducing new topics on a regular basis!



Red's Head Red assets.rebelmouse.io


The new year has barely started but I feel like all the things I intended to "do better" last year really didn't change much, if at all, so don't know why I expect this year to be any different. This happens every year. Maybe I'm just expecting too much of myself.


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Maybe you are just being too critical of yourself. Sometimes our "inner critic" is louder than we should allow it to be. What if you looked at any given "issue" as if Natasha or Sawyer (or anyone you cared about) were experiencing it? How would you respond? I bet you would be encouraging and supportive rather than harsh and critical.
THE CONVERSATION STARTERS
  • Why do you think we treat ourselves differently than we treat people we care about?
  • How you think things might change if you responded to yourself in the same way you would typically respond to a loved one or close friend?
  • Since this isn't how most people typically think, what are ways you could remind yourself to look at yourself differently?
Design by Sawyer Pennington

People have told us they're using our sisterly banter to start conversations with others (family, friends, and even in classrooms), so Black created "Conversation Starters". Stay tuned as we'll be introducing new topics on a regular basis!


Red's Head Red assets.rebelmouse.io


I was thinking that this holiday season isn't only about staying safe but also "talking safe". I know family gatherings, whether in person or now online, have conversations that go in lots of directions, but this year probably has more "dangerous" topics and "hot" buttons than usual. In the past, every year at Thanksgiving, the girls would look forward to you and mom having your "heated" talks while I'd dread it, but they were never mean-spirited. But this year, whether it's politics and/or the pandemic, people aren't only disagreeing, they're getting downright mean. Not to mention, many of us would like a break from those topics. All-in-all, I feel like we need a list of "safe" and "unsafe" topics so that we can have a nice Christmas.


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Obviously, what are "safe" topics is a function of the individuals and the family, but having a conversation "list" seems rather scripted and unnatural. However, I bet it is safe to say that most people are experiencing feelings and frustrations that are common amongst us. For example, your comment about wanting to take a break from talking about certain topics. Why not focus on what will bring joy and hope to the conversation? Or, better yet, laughter.
THE CONVERSATION STARTERS
  • If you created a list of "safe" and "not safe" topics for discussion at a family gathering, what would be on each list? And why?
  • Have you ever intentionally started a conversation or brought up a topic because you knew it would trigger a "hot button"? (Wonder how many time Black has done that?)
  • Most people have "spontaneous" conversations, but do you think there are times you need to give some thought in advance of what you may – or may not – want to say?