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A Think Piece on Sunday #5: My 2023 Prayer for You

Written By: Preston Thompson

First, Happy New Year!

2022 is over and our New Year’s resolution did not go as planned. It started out well with hope, ambition, and determination, but somewhere in the year those traits gradually decline. Before we knew it, the 2022 Holiday Season was here while our resolutions from the beginning of the year never got out of the first steps. No big deal! 2022 was not our year, but 2023 will be!

Year after year we set New Year’s Resolution to better our lives. This year will be the year we lose weight, eat better, exercise more, get those numbers down at the annual physical, find a better job, get a promotion, start a business, start a side hustle, be a better person, improve our mental health, work on clearing debt, the list goes on. From there, once we accomplish our resolutions for the year it hopefully becomes a lifestyle.

Like the average person who have real lives, we started strong in January 2022. By Spring 2022, we began to drop out one by one. We became good at our resolutions when the first results were good, but when the results became consistent our efforts began to decrease. What happened? Year after year we get to a certain point within the resolution then stop. What is missing that have us making the same resolution every year only to see little to no improvements in our lives?

Well, it is quite simple. For 2023 I pray you find discipline in your resolution when it gets tougher. I also pray that comfort does not overtake change. Let us talk about it!

Discipline is what separates the achievers from the stragglers. When we set a goal to do something better with our lives, discipline will keep us grounded. It makes us come back repeatedly despite the odds against us in achieving our goals. Discipline will make us study early and often. It reminds us why we chose this resolution and what the end goal will be.

As our resolutions get tougher, the results begin to differ from what they were in the beginning. They become delayed, consistent, and/or diminished. For a discipline person in his or her resolution that means adjusting or working harder to achieve their resolution’s reward. An undisciplined person to their resolution becomes easily intimidated when the resolution does not produce satisfactory results thus becoming submissive to his or her own comfort. This same person is also more likely to give up on their resolution when they receive satisfactory results rather than continuing to make it their new lifestyle. Why is that?

Comfort is easier than change. We can be so comfortable in our lifestyle that it is easy to fall back into it when changes become tough. This is because we know the results of our comfort and know how it makes us feel, comfortable. Even in our New Year’s Resolutions we can achieve our resolutions, and rather than making them a lifestyle, we go back to what has been comfortable throughout our lives. In addition, we can begin a resolution that is a change from what has been comfortably but not beneficial in our lives, become discouraged by the results and go back to comfort.

Whether you are the new year new me, leaving behind the negativity in 2022 and steppin’ on necks all 2023, or New Year’s New Gym Members type of resolution person, I pray you keep going in your resolution all 2023. And if the change becomes the opposition, keep going in your resolution because you could be closer to reaching your 2023 goals. Just know you are not alone on this journey; you have an entire network who wants the best version of you in all of 2023.

Christmas December Happy Holidays Love New Year Thankful

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

Written By: Preston Thompson

I hope the frigid temperatures from the arctic blast of 2022 does not prevent the warmth inside. With temperatures dipping into the single digits in the South and windchills making it feel like negative temperatures, I write this to thank you all for a wonderful 2022! It was a great, yet challenging, year but we made it! I learned so much about myself professionally and personally.

As we open up the gifts from under the tree, have (or already had) a Christmas Party, listen to Christmas music, toast, and spend time with family, I wish you all the best Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays 2022! Let’s close out the year on a high note. See you all in 2023!

2021 Hip Hop Movies Music New Year Pop Culture TV Year in Review

My 2021 Year in Review

               What do I love most about the end of the year? The answer is simple. It is the year in reviews. Maybe it started when I was a preteen watching BET Notarized, an all-day show that aired every New Year’s Eve showing BET’s 100 best music videos of the year with recaps from artist and celebrates during the early 2000s. Then again it could have started when channels like ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, etc. looked back at the most popular events of the year leading up to the ball drop on New Year’s Day. Perhaps the years of watching I Love the 80s, 90s, 2000s on VH1 sparked my interest in looking back in the past year.

               You see, I admit I am a data nerd. I like to see numbers and trends especially when it has to do with my viewing and listening habits. I have an odd fascination with looking at my iTunes play count and top 25 most played songs just to see how songs I love stack up against other songs in my music library. And on Sunday’s I pay close attention to the weekly notifications iPhone sends about your screen time and apps you used the most during the week. If there’s a way of viewing total hours and number of tv shows/movies watched on streaming services, I want to see it just to see my own personal trends.

               I remember in 2015 or 2016 President Obama posted his favorite songs, albums, books, tv shows, and movies of the year to his Instagram page, and he still does it every year around in December. This interested me so I began posting my top 10 favorite albums of the year to my Instagram and Facebook page every year as well. The only difference is I wait until New Year’s Eve. Then Spotify and Apple came out with Wrapped and Replay, respectively, and my nerd senses would get excited to see what my most played songs, albums, and artist of the year were. What’s even more exciting is the total hours of music listened for the year.

               Which leads me to today. Now that I have this blog The Book of Think Pieces. I can do more with my year in review that time and Instagram do not allow. So, get your reminiscing on because I am about to reveal My 2021 Year in Review:

Favorite TV Shows/Docuseries of 2021:

               Invincible [Season 1] (Amazon Prime)

              Titans [Season 3] (HBO Max)

               Insecure [Season 5/Final Season] (HBO Max)

               Power Book II: Ghost [Season 2] (Starz)

               Superman & Lois [Season 1] (The CW)

               The Circle [Season 3] (Netflix)

               Cobra Kai [Season 3] (Netflix)

               Money Explained [Season 1] (Netflix)

               Squid Game [Season 1] (Netflix)

               WandaVision [Season 1] (Disney+)

Favorite Movies of 2021

               Zack Synder’s Justice League (HBO Max)

               Judas and the Black Messiah (HBO Max)

               Space Jam: A New Legacy (HBO Max)

               Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (Disney+)

               Soul (Disney+)

               Fear Street 1994, 1978, 1666 (Netflix)

               West Side Story (HBO Max)

               Below Zero (Netflix)

               Black Widow (Disney+)

               Fatherhood (Netflix)

               (***Spiderman No Way Home would be on this list, but I have not seen it yet.)

Ten Most Played Songs in 2021 According to Apple Replay ‘21

               Leave the Door Open by Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak & Silk Sonic – 73 plays

               95.south by J. Cole – 55 plays

               Time Today by Moneybagg Yo – 48 plays

               Hellcats & Trackhawks by Only The Family & Lil Durk – 45 plays

      by J. Cole, 21 Savage & Morray – 44 plays

               Heartbreak Anniversary by Giveon – 42 plays

               Pick Up Your Feelings by Jazmine Sullivan – 35 plays

               Still Trappin’ by Lil Durk & King Von – 35 plays

               Skate by Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak & Silk Sonic – 33 plays

               Wants and Need by Drake feat. Lil Baby – 32 plays

Ten Most Listened to Artist in 2021 According to Apple Replay ‘21

               J. Cole – 41 hours

               Drake – 40 hours

               Moneybagg Yo – 20 hours

               Lil Durk – 19 hours

               Young Dolph – 19 hours

               Lil Baby – 19 hours

               Bruno Mars – 18 hours

               dvsn – 17 hours

               Key Glock – 16 hours

               Anderson .Paak – 16 hours

Ten Most Played Albums in 2021 According to Apple Replay ‘21

               J. Cole – The Off-Season – 261 plays

               Moneybagg Yo – A Gangsta’s Pain – 201 plays

               Drake – Certified Lover Boy – 186 plays

               Fisher-Price – Sooo Sleepy – 169 plays

               Travis Greene – Oil + Water – 159 plays

               Nas – King’s Disease II – 158 plays

               Giveon – When It’s All Said and Done – 146 plays

               Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak & Silk Sonic – An Evening With Silk Sonic – 132 plays

               dvsn & Ty Dolla $ign – Cheers to the Best Memories – 125 plays

               Key Glock – Yellow Tape 2 – 121 plays

Favorite Songs of 2021  

               Leave The Door Open – Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak & Silk Sonic

               95.south – J. Cole

      – J. Cole

               Heartbreak Anniversary – Giveon

               Skate – Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak & Silk Sonic

               I Got It – Pastor Mike Jr.

               Wonder – Travis Greene feat. Le’Andria Johnson

               family ties – Baby Keem & Kendrick Lamar

               We Win (Space Jam: A New Legacy) – Lil Baby & Kirk Franklin

               I Believed It – dvsn & Ty Dolla $ign feat. Mac Miller

Favorite Artist of 2021

               J. Cole


               Travis Greene

               Silk Sonic (Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak included)



               Moneybagg Yo

               Key Glock

               Pastor Mike Jr.


Favorite Albums of 2021

               J. Cole – The Off-Season

               Moneybagg Yo – A Gangsta’s Pain

               Drake – Certified Lover Boy

               Travis Greene – Oil + Water

               Nas – King’s Disease II

               Giveon – When It’s All Said And Done

               Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak & Silk Sonic – An Evening With Silk Sonic

               dvsn & Ty Dolla $ign – Cheers to the Best Memories

               Key Glock – Yellow Tape 2

               Various Artist – Judas and the Black Messiah: The Inspired Album

Estimated Most Used Apps in 2021

               Apple Music








               HBO Max



               Disney +

Christmas Holidays New Year Question Thoughts

After the Holidays

               Hello! Merry Christmas, Happy Day After Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa, Boxing Day, Happy New Year’s Eve, Happy New Year, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Winter Solstice Day (for those guided by the universe). December is a special month that brings joy to some but can also be a sad time for others. As we decorate the Christmas tree, put up lights inside and outside of the house, drink eggnog (or apple cider), sing Christmas carols, enjoy Christmas movies with the same plot, and shop for those special people in our lives, it is also a time to be thankful for the life we have. The presents we give and receive does something to the brain that triggers the feelgood hormone. Yes, the weather outside is colder, but the warmth we feel from the people we love during this time of year can make the colder weather feel delightful. It’s that time for families to get together on Christmas day and dress in matching Christmas pajamas then posting the best photos to Instagram. This is also the season of giving as people volunteer their time to help others in need. We donate more to charities during this time hoping it brings joy to someone in need of encouragement. Others take it a step further by adopting a family so that family can have presents to open on Christmas Day. Even the stingiest of the stingy open their wallets during this time of year. The holidays are so magical even enemies put their differences aside.

               This is what the holiday spirit is all about. Giving and receiving, spending time with family and friends, and peace and love to all. However, I wonder after the holidays are over and the decorations are taken down, are you still kind and generous during the other months of the year? Are you still helping others even though the Christmas music is not being played on the radio? Are you still forgiving those who needs forgiveness so you can be a better version of yourself? Are you donating your time to non-profits that help those in need? How about that family you adopted for Christmas, what have you done to make their lives better from January to November? Are you checking on family and friends when you have some free time? Most importantly, in a consumer society where you are important for helping businesses make profit for the work you perform and the money you spend, do you take time to care for yourself physically and mentally?