New Year’s Resolutions: Lay Low or Level Up?

Written by Shenise Gatson

We all have them. I know I definitely do.

A list of things I have been meaning to start, accomplish, or complete for the last year, but haven’t finished yet.

Books on my table that I haven’t gotten around to reading yet. To-do lists with only half of the items scratched off. Planners with written notes of all the things “I’m going to do”. Dreams and goals that I have left on the back burner to occupy my time with matters I thought were more pressing.

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Have you ever been there?

I am sure many of us have. Deep within us, we each have a desire to reach a goal, to accomplish a dream, to improve a certain area of our lives.Maybe your dream is:

  • To be an entrepreneur and start your own business
  • To enroll in school and start/finish your degree
  • To began a lifestyle change and pursue weight loss and healthy eating
  • To let go of some toxic people in your life
  • To find a church home and grow spiritually
  • To prepare yourself for a new romantic relationship
  • To repair a broken family relationship
  • To use your spiritual gift for a church ministry
  • To get on track financially
  • To pursue a trade school
  • To research a career change
  • To start a family/have children
  • To buy a home
  • To write a book

Whatever your dream or goal is….why not start now?

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With the new year rapidly approaching, what a great time to start fresh! In the past, many articles and websites used to promote the catch phrase, “New Year, New Me”. Instead, let’s challenge ourselves with the catch phrase, “Lay Low or Level Up!” Before we can move forward, we have to internalize these terms.

What does the term “lay low” mean?

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Per the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, the term lay low means “to keep oneself or one’s plans hidden”. Wow, that’s a great definition! Often times, we do not mean to keep ourselves or plans hidden. We often have ideas in our mind of what we want to do, but then life gets in the way so we postpone those goals or dreams. Sometimes we even hide behind excuses of why we can’t do something.

That was me before I wrote my first novel. I always had the dream of publishing a book. Several years ago, my siblings and I were caring for my sick mother. Of course, we loved her and she was our top priority. But, as a result, I put many other areas of my life on hold. It was never the right time to write the book. In addition, I remember my laptop was crappy. It even stopped working when I was halfway through with my manuscript.

Are you kidding me?” I thought to myself. “I don’t have the money to buy a new laptop or computer! I guess I can’t write this book.” I remember praying to God and saying, “How I am going to do this now? I don’t even have the tools that I need.” He replied, “You have the tools. Use what I have provided”.

In my room, I had an old lined yellow legal pad. I grabbed a pen and began writing. I filled that notebook from end to end with the other half of my book. As I went, I utilized the library computer and family/friend’s computers to type the final manuscript. The end result? The book was published! God gave me tools. It did not happen the way I thought it would, but the  job got done. And I am grateful!

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On the other side of the coin, what does the term “level up” mean?

Used as a popular idiom, level up means “to make a move in your life”. Depending on what your dream or goal is, we can look at this literally or figuratively. For some, it may be a literal move (i.e. pursuing a change in career/job). For others, it may a figurative move (i.e. mentally moving away from a toxic relationship).

Ask yourself, “Am I going to lay low this year or level up?”

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The new year is just around the corner! Let’s approach 2019 with a clear goal in mind! Do not let your goals fall flat. If you have a talent or gift, do not hide it but share it with the world. Encourage yourself today! You can do it!

Hey….you want to know a secret? You are not alone. I have many goals to reach, but the most pressing for me right now is my weight and health. I want to be a healthier Shenise. My doctor advised me to lose 50 pounds. However, looking at that number overwhelms me! So, I’m going to start small and shoot for 10 pounds and work my way forward. I’ll share pictures and updates of my journey!

As you start your own journey to change, remember these tidbits:

  1. Write down your vision/dream/goal/talent
  2. Post it somewhere where you can see it (i.e. on your fridge, at your desk, a reminder on your phone, etc.)
  3. Develop a plan (i.e brainstorm on how to overcome any barriers or obstacles to your goal) 
  4. Give yourself a deadline for when you aspire to reach the goal
  5. Find an accountability partner (i.e. support system)
  6. Recognize that some goals/dreams take longer than others, but you can get there!
  7. Do not get dismayed if it takes some time to reach your goal. Remember…everyone had to start somewhere!

Thank you for reading! If you enjoyed this post or any of my other posts, please subscribe to

Copyright @ 2018 Shenise Gatson

“Lay low”. American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 2018. Web. 29 December 2018.

“Level up”. 2018. Web. 29 December 2018.

Photos provided by Pexels.

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