[dropcap]E[/dropcap]very year like clockwork, the collective world sits around and lists their New Year’s Resolutions that they are going to bring into the next year, leaving behind the broken, unfinished ones from the year prior. For the most part, “going to the gym,” “starting a business,” and “losing weight” all seem to make their way onto many of the lists, but what if this year you did something different? Rather than just make resolutions, what if you made some promises to yourself that would help you to gain peace of mind and peace within yourself?
For me, resolutions are more than just a quick fix to having a better year than the one prior. When I am doing resolutions, goal settings, or any type of planning, I am making sure that I do it in tiers with a set-out plan of action in place to help me attain these tasks. As I like to say: “Make your Resolution, your Revolution.” Here are my four revolutions for a better you.
1. Know Your Status, Know Your Strength
This is priority number one for everyone who reads this article. Knowing your HIV status is not the end all be all, but only the start towards achieving optimal health. Knowing your status on everything is just as important, as failure to get checked for any health problems you may be experiencing can lead to multiple health problems and even death. So get tested for ERRRRRTHANG. Syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, HPV, hep C or whatever they may have available. All jokes aside, this is also the best time to get your yearly physical so that you know where your health stands entering the new year.
2. Self-Care! Self-Care! Self-Care!
Outside of the normal healthy habits you take by going to the doctor, what are you doing to ensure that you are taking care of yourself holistically? Self-care has to become a part of your New Year, because you can not be good for anyone else if you aren’t taking care of yourself first. The best thing to do is to create a list of your favorite things that make you happy. This can be a dish, a show, or a hobby that you like doing that takes you to a place of comfort and relaxation. For me it’s several things, like grooming (nails, hair, all of it). I also like writing and having articles published, so pitching every week is a good way for me to get some of my emotions out. As black people we often put others ahead of ourselves to a fault, and can be the cause of our own detriment. So for 2016, make sure that you take some time out for you, first.
3. One-Year, Three-Year, Five-Year
So rather than doing a resolution for one year, create a one-year, three-year, five-year plan that can turn some of your short-term goals into long-term solutions. Creating a well-crafted plan to execute your next five years is so important. For me, I have many short-term goals that help determine how I am going to navigate my life over the course of the next five years. Built into the plan are financial goals, work goals, relationship goals, and the steps that I need to take to execute them. Creating this type of plan helps to ensure that you will always be working on something to better yourself.
4. Resolve to Be You
We are living in a time when being you is going to be imperative to your existence and lack of that becoming an erasure of who you are. So this message is to everyone who is currently living at half-capacity, to anyone who is walking around as a shell of who they truly are because of fear of what society has told them they should be: We only get one chance at life in this body, so we need to be making the best of it by living out as we are, and making sure that we are whole people who can fill the voids we may have in our lives. Looking for outside validation to fill these voids means that we are not doing the internal work we must to take care of our self. So if you are struggling with your sexuality, gender, status, or anything else, make 2016 the year that you struggle with it no more. Know that you are more than enough and more than capable of sustaining yourself, and that the universe will provide you with all you need.
Make your Resolution your Revolution.
Take this mantra with you throughout the year and beyond. I used to be afraid of being who I was and fully accepting my purpose on this earth. 2015 became revolutionary in the sense that I found myself and dedicated my life to being whole and being a vessel for others to walk in their truth. My resolution for 2016 is to help others, be the example, and show the world what it looks like when #AllBlackLivesMatter.
George M. Johnson is an HIV advocate who works for Us Helping Us, People into Living located in Washington, D.C. He has written for Pride.com, Musedmagonline.com, Blavity.com, Rolereboot.org, and Ebony.com. Follow him on Twitter @IamGMJohnson.