11 New Year’s Resolutions Every Black Woman Should Make In 2016
The year 2015 was a particularly hard one on the Black community, but one thing we saw consistently were Black women stepping up and demanding justice for our brothas and for ourselves. We showed the world we matter and as we move into another year, we have to remember to show ourselves that same care. With that in mind, we put together a list of 10 things every Black woman should resolve to make a priority in the next year. As you can see, society and our community can’t thrive without us, so we must put ourselves first for a change.
Know Your Rights
As we’ve seen with the cases of Sandra Bland, Fay Wells, and Marissa Alexander, it’s important to know your rights when it comes to being pulled over, owning and firing a gun, and even being in police custody. Make it a priority to read up on what law enforcement can and cannot require of you in and outside of your own home and share that knowledge with those closest to you. If the sad trend we saw in the media this year continues, they’re going to need it.
Define your beauty for yourself
Let’s let 2016 be the year we stop with the #TeamNatural versus #TeamRelaxed and #TeamDarkSkinned versus #TeamLightSkinned hastags and focus on being #TeamYou. You are the most important factor in your beauty and others’ perception of it, which should always come secondary to how you feel about yourself. Tap into the physical qualities that make you uniquely you. You don’t need a digital support system to do that, just a lot of self-love.
Take care of your health
That was a resolution Victoria Uwumarogie made for 2015 and while she definitely should have made a trip to the doctor, she did go hard at the gym. She lost nearly 50 pounds, fasted and prayed, and felt and looked better than she had in a long time — since high school as a matter of fact. Sometimes we let the stress of work, relationships and more get the best of us and we resort to getting too acquainted with junk food. And sometimes we mindlessly eat, then we’re shocked when weight sneaks up on us. Even if you’re not overweight, take care of your body. Be mindful of what you put into it. Next year, we plan to go to the doctor for more regular checkups and look out for the bodies God gave us, not just on the outside but also the inside.
Stand up for yourself at work
Fear of being seen as too confrontational — or even being fired — often keeps us from expressing concerns, either about fellow co-workers or our own career trajectory at work. The wage gap is real; if you know you’re being underpaid in your position, say something. If you’re being unfairly ridiculed by your boss, say something. If you want to go after that position you were previously looked over for, say something. Yes, there’s a chance speaking up won’t work in your favor but, like breaching an uncomfortable conversation in a romantic relationship, the sooner you know what’s up, the more informed you are about where you stand and you can begin to work on your exit strategy instead of trying to make things work in an unhealthy environment.
Set a goal that will really make you happy
Most of us have a lot of goals that we are already exasperated by before the new year even begins, but set a goal — not just a task — that will enrich you and really go after it. Whether that’s traveling to a place you’ve always wanted to go but couldn’t find folks to tag along with or seeking out spiritual restoration, get back to happy. Sometimes some goals we put on ourselves too much work, consider ones that are about providing you joy, peace, and new, satisfying experiences.
Remind people that you care
We all get really self-absorbed because we think we have the hardest job of all the people we know. Psych! Everyone is busy, but people make time for the things and individuals that truly matter. Whether that means sending a lot more messages to check in on friends and family, or actually picking up the phone like our great-grandparents used to do (kidding!), remind people that you’re thinking of them. If you’re tired of hearing people say, “You don’t call!” or asking, “Why don’t I hear from you?” let them know that even though you can’t be available to them as much as you would like, you do care.
Take time to enjoy the life you’ve built
Black women are always aspiring towards accomplishing something. This year we were ranked as the most educated group in America; however, we’re not sure we always slow down long enough to actually enjoy the lives we’ve built. Go on vacation, read a book, actually spend time with family–whatever makes you happy. Life moves quickly, so be sure to savor every moment.
Establish a budget and stick to it
Making money is one thing, but how you spend it is what lays the foundation for your financial future. Failing to plan how you spend your money and obliviously spending your cash is like flushing dollars down the toilet. Even if you’re not working towards a specific goal, sticking to a simple budget can help keep your finances in tip-top shape and who doesn’t want that?
Create friendships in which you feel safe
This year, Lauren Fox ended or adjusted the friendships that no longer served her. After having anxiety attacks and becoming incredibly angry when spending time with certain friends, she realized that she’d succumbed to the negativity they put out. That’s why she decided to create better boundaries for her emotional and overall health. Be honest about what you need from friends and the roles they play in your life — for the good and the bad. When you become clear about what you need, there’s no longer a need to feel guilty about not resuscitating dead friendships.
Evolve your spiritual practice
Learn how to increase your faith by acquiring soul-expanding lessons from other religions. Additional spiritual practices like meditation and prayer can teach you how unlimited God and your own mind are and how expanding your view of both can help you better tap into your purpose and capabilities.
Put you first
If you’re a person who cringes at the thought of that seeming selfish, you most definitely need to abide by this resolution. At some point, giving too much of yourself to others and always putting yourself last will take its toll on you. That could mean physical sickness, resentment, or any other number of negative mental and physical consequences. It’s noble to always want to lend a helping hand, but you must also be cognizant of when you’re overextending yourself and putting your own needs and goals on the back burner for someone else’s. No one (except your kids) should be more important to you than you.