by author Hazel Mills
When people talk about making resolutions for the new year, it usually involves quitting or losing something or someone. For example, millions of people will resolve to quit smoking and twice as many more will promise to lose weight. Beginning the new year, we will be saturated with television and print ad campaigns for gym memberships, weight loss program and equipment deals as well as products to help with nicotine addiction.
Although these changes in lifestyle are great and for some, can mean the difference between life or death, there are so many other things that we, as African American women, can do to make our lives more healthy, positive and meaningful throughout the new year.
1. Resolve to spend more time with God. This should be non-negotiable and always first on everyone’s to-do list for the new year. He has created so many beautiful and magnificent things, including you. Resolve to attend church or bible study more often than you do now. Make time in your busy day just to say a quiet “thank you”.
2. Resolve to ditch the drama. I can’t say enough about this one. The stress of living a drama-filled life can affect your mental and physical health. Find ways to get rid of your own and to avoid getting pulled into the madness of others around you. This is much more challenging to accomplish around the holidays.
3. Resolve to take control of your health. Every month ask yourself the following vital questions: What is my HIV status? What are my cholesterol numbers? When was my last pap smear and/or mammogram? When did I last see a dentist? If you can’t answer these questions definitively, call your doctor(s) and make an appointment.
4. Resolve not to starve your savings account. Last year was a year of economic hell and we have all cut back on rewarding ourselves with luxuries like new cars and vacations. Some may have dipped into the piggy bank just to make ends meet. In the new year, try to make a point to put a little something away from each paycheck. It doesn’t have to be much. Pennies add up to dollars.
5. Resolve to be more generous. I am not talking about money here. Your time is more valuable than your dollars. Volunteer to read to hospitalized children, to serve food at a local women’s shelter or build a home with Habitat For Humanity. The warm fuzzy feeling you’ll get from knowing you helped someone else will be worth more than rubies.
6. Resolve to learn something new. The new year is a great time to create new adventures by learning to do something new. Check out your local community college for course selections. Many classes are available in the evening. You can learn all sorts of interesting things like how to play golf, speak a new language, play a mean game of chess, tune-up your car’s engine or countless other hobbies. When we stop learning, we stop growing.
7. Resolve to re-unite with an old friend or relative this year. Invite your room-mate from your college days out for dinner and some catching up or call and chat with a cousin whom you haven’t seen since the last family reunion years ago. Sharing a laugh always lifts the spirits. But when planning a reunion, remember to heed number 2 on this list.
8. Resolve to be more informed about social and political issues. We all could use a nudge in this department. Celebrity gossip rules the talk show circuit and magazines covers but how well do you know the political climate of your own city? Let’s resolve to spend time expanding our minds this year about what is going on in our world and with those we have elected to represent our interests in government.
9. Resolve to take yourself on vacation. Getting away on a shopping excursion with the girls is therapeutic and relaxing on a tropical beach with your significant other is wonderful. But why not take the concept of “me time” to a whole new level by treating yourself to a weekend at the spa? Treat yourself to a one night stay at a beautiful hotel across town. No phones, no text messages, no emails. You can’t take care of others if you don’t first take care of yourself.
10. Resolve to speak the truth in love. Hard but necessary. People don’t always want to hear or accept the truth. Lies make life so much harder than it has to be. If you tell the truth with sugar rather than with salt, it is usually a littler easier for the other person to swallow. They may not agree with you but you don’t need a fan club. Respect, from others and for yourself is the goal.
This list is a great place to begin to think about your life and the direction in which you want to go in 2013. Empower yourself to be a better person than you were in years past. There is always room for improvement and you don’t have to wait until the new year to make a change. Today is a good day!
Copyright 2013 written by author Hazel Mills