10 New Year's Resolutions for Every Grown Ass Black Woman

by Kimberly Foster (@KimberlyNFoster)
It’s not difficult to feel like you’ve lost the New Year’s Resolution battle before you’ve begun because most of us set the same goals year after year. So when January 1 rolls around, you drag your feet to get on the hamster wheel of underachievement.

I’m giving it up in 2016. There will be no more weight loss/organization/work-life balance resolution clichés. I’m going to get real about the sh*t that’s metaphorically weighing me down (word to Toni). So here are 10 New Year’s resolutions for Black women who want to be dynamic, healthy, and whole in the coming year.
Look at other Black women as motivation, not competition
Jealousy is natural, but many Black women have been taught that there’s only room for one of us to shine at a time. Institutional racism and misogyny may limit our opportunities, but you will not win by trying to claw your way up the backs of other women who look like you. Every situation is not the same, but Black women are likely the most important allies you’ll have when you’re facing marginalization. Viewing them as the enemy might leave you completely alone. So extend your hand to a sister who is doing something you admire to connect, build, and learn.

Create something
Alice Walker in “In Search of Our Mother’s Gardens” explains how, despite our turmoil-filled lives, Black women have managed to hold on to our creative spark. We have done so because we know it sustains us. We need outlets to tell our stories, and we do so in ways far beyond writing. This year remember to nurture your gift. Whether your creation is fine art, cuisine, a garden, prose, or music, plot out time to spend with your creativity. You may hone your skills as your journey through this mode of self-care, but, ultimately, your work is for your benefit.

Say no to f*ckboys
We each get a finite amount of time on this planet. Do no waste yours entertaining men who are unappreciative, misogynistic, short-sighted, self-interested, regressive or any combination thereof. This is an important resolution for all women, not just those who partner men romantically. Men are socialized to feel entitled to your energy and women are socialized to accommodate these demands. In every space, remain vigilant about the healthy and productivity of your interactions with men. If they’re depleting your energy, say no when you can. If you can’t, take time to recharge as soon as possible.

Move through life with the confidence of a mediocre white man
At some point in time, an elder probably gave you the “twice as good speech.” We simply don't have the option to be mediocre and thrive. But when you spend your life swimming upstream, doubt creeps in intuitively. You begin to second guess yourself because you know someone's probably looking over your shoulder. This is not paranoia. This is the reality of navigating the world in a Black woman's body.  But the self-doubt can be soul crushing. Don't give into it. Trust what you've done and what you know.

Refuse to be a mule
Zora Neale Hurston gave us a word in Their Eyes Were Watching God when she wrote, “De nigger woman is de mule uh de world so fur as Ah can see…”  It is common for Black women to be seen as fonts of infinite care with little to no return. The people in our lives, even those who love us the most, will deplete our physical, emotional, and intellectual labor with no intention to reciprocate. This dynamic need no longer be normalized. Set boundaries. Stick to them. You’ll know just how much someone values you and your relationship by how they respond to you asserting your needs.

Get the orgasms you want
If orgasms are your thing, there's no reason for you to not be having them regularly. Whether with a partner or in solo play, know what gets you off and how to make it happen. Too many of us carry the shame of sexuality we've been taught from childhood. The only way to undo it is to dive in with fingers, toys, phalluses etc. Explore and experiment until you get it right. And if you're with a partner you're afraid to try it with, there's a problem. Your sex should be a celebration, and there are plenty of ways to make it so. Don't settle.

Live for yourself
Many of us have responsibilities that we cannot shirk. We have people in our lives we do not want to disappoint. Unfortunately these things make it too easy to ignore our own intuition and follow the mores that others set out for us. Free Black women know that respectability will not save us, so make up you mind about what you want for you life and pursue it relentlessly.

Let go of white supremacist beauty standards
European beauty ideals have been a terrorizing force for Black women and girls globally for centuries. Though we're better than most at build self-esteem outside of a narrow ideal, we're not immune to the power of socialization. Now, thanks in large part to online communities, women are finding it easier to embrace an aesthetic that represents who we are. If you've yet to do so, take some time to acquaint yourself with the fabulousness of Black beauty. This doesn't necessarily require going natural. It does require being honest about the choices you make and why you make them.
Focus on wellness, not weight 
Pin point all of the things killing you slowly—think stress, processed food, toxic relationships, inactivity and the like. Find small ways to cut down and eventually eliminate them totally. Many of us associate fitness with a scale, but wellness is not necessarily tied to your weight. If you're a size 2 eating cheetos for dinner every night, you're in trouble. The science is very clear on the damaging effects of many processed foods. Find ways to incorporate whole foods and get active. Do it to feel better and live longer. Preoccupation with a number will leave you miserable.

Get a handle on your debt
Debt is a fact of life for most of us. Due to circumstances beyond our control, many of us have so much of it, we'll likely be paying it off for the next couple of decades. A part of being financially responsible is knowing exactly how much you owe and to whom. Ignorance is bliss, but it will keep your ass broke. Fight the fear and make sure you know all the details of your debt including principal balances and interest rates. It's the first step to getting your financial life right.

Photo: Shutterstock

Kimberly Foster is the founder and editor-in-chief of For Harriet. Email or

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