As we walk into 2021, it may look more like a strut with swaying hips, and your head held high. Not a leisurely stride but a commanding march, a kinetic testimony that we made it through the toughest year of our lives. A statement that we are moving forward and not looking back. With laser focus and open arms, let us embrace the new year with resolutions that keep the best parts of us in mind.
Let’s dive into the top new year resolutions around health, lifestyle, culture, and personal growth for Black women.
Move, Move, Move!
Sitting is the new smoking. In the era of online everything, we are now sitting more than ever. My sisters, this new normal is a major contributor to a sedentary lifestyle, which is linked to poor circulation, heart disease, diabetes, chronic pain, and a plethora of other negative health conditions. With Black women suffering higher rates of these conditions compared to other women, we must move beyond accepting the statistics and begin to do more to change our fate.
We are not victims of poor health — less than equal health care, yes — but we are active participants in our health stories. The doctor cannot do it for us; we have to take control of our health narrative. Just as faith without works is dead, a body that does not move is, well, on its way.
Get up and walk around the house for five minutes each hour you spend on the computer or do a chore like dusting or vacuuming once an hour to get your blood flowing. Don’t be afraid to exercise outdoors by walking around the park or joining a beach yoga class. Depending on your comfort level, mask up and hit the gym three times a week. Avoid doing only cardio by adding some strength and conditioning exercises to your regimen.
Always remember to stretch! Stretching is highly underrated and greatly beneficial for decreasing pain while increasing flexibility and blood circulation.
Find what works for you and write it in your calendar. Make time to move and increase your heart rate by at least 30 minutes each day.
Eat, Eat, Eat!
The right things, of course! As Black women, we must understand that eating healthy and moving away from certain beloved meals doesn’t mean we are turning our backs on the ancestors and denying our culture.
What it does mean is healthier arteries and lower blood pressure. Oh yeah, lower blood sugar and healthier brains, too.
Avoid getting too caught up with counting calories — unless that’s your thing. While it is effective, many find it cumbersome and yet another task to add to the to-do list. Instead, try eating primarily from the perimeter of the grocery store. This is where you will find mostly fresh foods that are high in vitamins, fiber, minerals and other phytonutrients like antioxidants and flavonoids — all necessary for good health.
Decreasing animal protein is a great idea as well. This does not mean you can’t indulge at the family BBQ every now and then, but instead, limit your daily dairy and meat consumption as much as possible. Animal protein is inflammatory, and many chronic conditions are rooted in chronic inflammation. Not to mention, you’ll eliminate the discomfort and stomach bloat that sometimes occurs after eating meat. Animal protein is also high in saturated fat, which is a primary contributor to heart disease and high cholesterol.
Eat 80 percent fruits and veggies and 20 percent animal protein if you can’t give up meat and dairy altogether. Enjoy a variety of nuts and seeds to ensure you get all the amino acids your body needs. These also provide healthy fats, as do avocados and fatty fish like salmon and mackerel. Broccoli has more calcium than milk, and many other foods contain plenty of this all-important mineral. You do not need to consume dairy for your calcium intake needs.
Live, Live, Live!
As women of color, our lifestyle choices are often under the microscope. Society at large is so curious about what we are doing, who we’re doing it with, and when’s the next time we are going to do it. At least it seems that way. Hence all the reality shows around our lives and news stories about our wardrobe, hairstyles, and all our fabulous ways.
The year 2021 brings a new level of freedom where we are open to new ideas, inspiration, and opportunities. This year, make it your mission to live on purpose. Do not let fear dictate your actions or elevation.
Many of us lost loved ones in 2020. So many people lost their lives unexpectedly and didn’t have the opportunity to say “I made it!” in 2021. Our community was hit especially hard with loss and grief. The best way we can honor those who have passed on is to live in our full glory.
Start your business, take your dream vacation, ask for the promotion, wear what you want, style your hair how you like it and not how they like it or how he likes it. Do whatever you need to do to wake up with a smile on your face every day, unapologetically.
Give, Give, Give!
With so many initiatives around supporting Black girls in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), social justice nonprofits on the rise and ocean and earth preservation groups becoming more popular, there are limitless opportunities to volunteer our talents to help us and society as a whole.
Tutoring young kids of color in math, holding a science camp for young girls or sponsoring a writing workshop around telling Black stories are all ways to give back to the youth in our community. Perhaps organizing a social justice reform meetup group or hosting a pop-up talk with local law enforcement at your neighborhood community center may be more up your alley. Serving the elderly, homeless or those with special needs is also a great way to give of yourself with no expectations in return.
No matter what we choose, we’ll enjoy the helper’s high or the feelings of increased mood and happiness we get after helping others by giving back in ways only we can. Helping others helps you too.
Grow, Grow, Grow!
Growing our spiritual life is both grounding and lifting at the same time, planting firm roots while allowing us to soar. Personal growth should be a top priority every year, but 2021 will hold a special place in our personal growth journey. The unique position this year holds comes from the one and only life experience 2020 brought with an unwavering hand. With the overwhelming number of challenges, loss, hardship, turmoil, uncertainty, and disappointing experiences we all endured last year, the universe has set us up for the biggest comeback known to humanity — or in our generation anyway. To be prepared, we must have fertile soil to grow opportunities and expand our perspectives to receive back 10-fold what we lost.
- Pray and humble ourselves to our Creator (or whatever you believe in), being grateful for each day we continue to have life.
- Manifest positive energy by surrounding ourselves with authentic people and inspiring environments.
- Change the color palette in our favorite room to create the vibe and ambiance we want.
- Meditate on our goals and write them in a place where we will see them every day. Remember, “seldom seen, soon forgotten.”
- Connect with a community of like-minded individuals.
- Read self-improvement books or listen to helpful and inspiring audiobooks for daily motivation.
- Make self-care a real practice and not a myth. Self-care is whatever you do for yourself to feel good. It does not have to be an extravagant spa day.
- Talk and engage with a mentor or someone you can trust and communicate with easily without judgment or fear of rejection.
- Practice mindfulness, the act of living in the present. We are not focused on the past or worried about the future. We are here today, living our best lives now at this moment.
2021: The Big Picture
Black woman, I wish you prosperity, health, growth, and success this year. The rest of the world is finally starting to see what we have known our whole lives. We matter, and we are brilliant, beautiful, equal, and worthy.
This is the year we actively live in our destiny. This year, we walk in health, live our authentic lives, share our talents with those deserving, and grow our spirits to shine brightly from the inside out.
Strut on, my sister. I see you marching, hips swaying, head held high, with open arms embracing everything that is you in 2021!
Founder and CEO of Monaco Natural Health Solutions, Dr. Carlie Bell-Biggins is a licensed naturopathic physician with a thriving medical practice in Pearland, TX. As a holistic health and functional medicine expert, Dr. Carlie is passionate about the African American community’s health and wellness needs. Frequently discussing topics around mindfulness and positive self-image, she enjoys encouraging others to live their best life with a positive perspective. Often complimented on her sense of fashion, Dr. Carlie embodies everything it means to be a modern female CEO, including leadership, style, culture, and charisma.