Memo to Black women: 2022 has to be a new year of radical self-care

OPINION: As we head into a new year of possibilities, here are some insights to help us begin the conversation toward self-love, self-care and self-worth.

self-care new year
(Stock image/Getty Images)

Another year has come and gone, and right at the top of everyone’s new tear’s resolution list is “self-care.” At least that’s what we tell ourselves anyway—until we get to the end of February and all bets are off. We return to what we know. And we quietly walk away from all of our positive affirmations to do better and to take better care of ourselves.

Now that HBO’s Insecure is one for the history books, I hope we all took away the most important messages of the five-yearlong hit series—and that is to face yourself, know what you really want, develop amazingly healthy and devoted sister friendships and stop feeling insecure about all the things that society, your family, your friends and even the men we love, can often make us feel we lack as Black women, regardless of our age or professional status.

As we face this new year full of possibilities, the question many people ask is, why can’t I keep my new year’s resolutions? Well, the answer is complex, to be sure, but here are some helpful insights to help us begin the conversation toward self-love, self-care and self-worth. According to renowned psychotherapist Jonathan Alpert, author of Be Fearless: Change Your Life in 28 Days, who spoke recently with Business Insider about the three biggest reasons people fail to complete their resolutions each year.

He offered three reasons why most resolutions fail out the gates. I have adapted them and explained them in a context to fit what we as Black women uniquely face in our relationships, in our careers and in our journey to practicing meaningful and consistent self-care. 

1.) Your resolution isn’t focused or specific enough. Meaning you can’t say, “I want to change my life in 2022,” and just leave it there. That’s too broad. Dig deeper. You have to focus on what needs to change in your life. Do you need to stop smoking? Drinking? Not communicating your feelings and needs? Start a new career path. Leave a toxic relationship. You have to be very specific about what you need to change one thing at a time. One day at a time. Focus is everything to how we begin the process of real and lasting change in our lives.

2.) You haven’t framed your resolution positively. In other words, instead of saying, “I am overweight, unattractive, and I hate the way I look.” Say, “I need to lose some weight because I love the way I look at 135 pounds. And I feel really good about myself when I am fit and fine.” Frame your resolutions as positive goals versus framing them as things being wrong with you that must be corrected—or fixed. You are not a problem to be solved. Or an object that needs fixing. You are a person with feelings. And you have to honor those feelings in ways that cause them to be valued and honored all at once.

3.) Your resolution isn’t about you. It is not about what you truly want. We, as Black women, are not taught to ask for what we need. So, it is hard for us to seek what we want. Or desire. I come across many women whose resolutions are all about their kids, husbands, families, careers. And not about them. Change that this year starting right now. If you can’t fill your own cup first, you have nothing to give your family. Make resolutions that help you get more of what you need. Things that you know interest you. Excite you. And that you know you want to commit to every day, every week or even once a month.

These three steps are just a few that can help you to better develop a short, sweet, life mission statement for 2022. By that, I mean a statement of purpose that helps you become more of who you want to be and less of what others need from you. A statement that focuses on your needs, desires, and hopes for your own life. And for your future. You write this statement in a journal or on a blank piece of paper (yes, I said write it down—you know, “write the vision down and make it plain.” Habakkuk 2:2). You start with a mission: What is your goal for 2022? What one thing do you want to change in your life or have in your life that you do not now have? Then build an inspirational, aspirational statement around it.

A personal mission statement is:

  • A powerful tool for making empowered decisions.
  • A framework for how you want to live your life and express your life mission.
  • An inspiration to those around you about the kind of person you are.
  • A declaration that motivates and inspires you to stay the course.
  • A statement of your values and life code. 

Bottom line—if you want your 2022 to be different, the change starts with you and not others around you. It requires focus, intention and positivity. You got this, sisters. Now go!

Please join me on all of my social media platforms on January 1, 2022 for my FREE Annual Masterclass “Be the One You Need.” Starts LIVE on Twitter 12 p.m. ET. Facebook/META 3 p.m. ET. Instagram 6 p.m. ET. 

Sophia A. Nelson is a contributing editor for theGrio. Nelson is a TV commentator and is the author of “The Woman Code: Powerful Keys to Unlock,” “Black Women Redefined.”

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