PHOTO COURTESY OF LOVINGYOURHAIR

It must be inherent in human nature to struggle with making and accomplishing any goal. It appears that every goal requires discipline, commitment, accountability, among other things. The biggest time in which most people choose to set new goals is New Year’s Day. A whopping 45% of all Americans choose to set New Year’s resolutions for their new life. Of that large group, only 8% are successful at achieving their resolution (University of Scanton. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 2014). Such is the case for many of us who have chosen to wear our natural curls. There have been many failed attempts for many reasons.   

It has been said that the top two things you should do to accomplish your goals is to write them down and to tell a friend.

Dr. Gail Matthews decided to test it out in a scientific study on how goals are influenced by writing them down, committing to action, and accountability. Four out of five of the groups did some variation of thinking about their goal, assessing their ability to achieve the goal, writing it down, writing action commitments and sharing these with a friend.  However, the most successful group did all of this and sent a weekly progress report to a friend. This fifth group had the highest success rate. They accomplished 76% of their goals. In this specific study, the accountability made all of the difference.

Such is also the case with setting goals for our hair. The mere declaration to wear my natural hair has required more discipline than I ever could have imagined. My theory is that it’s not the new goal itself that intimidates or makes us shudder, but the lifestyle change. For me, wearing my natural hair also meant fleeing chemical treatments, the so-called “savior” to a bad hair day. It meant going out of my way to find products that were necessary for the task at hand, and more importantly, it meant being the object of many questions, rejections, and internal self-doubts. It was tough on my own. I really just needed some help.

A curly hair community would have been valuable to me when I finally decided to wear my natural curls. My decision was made when “Killing me Softly” hit the airwaves in 1996. I was 14 years old and no one, and I mean no one looked anything like this beautiful specimen named Lauryn Hill. I was dabbling into hairstyling at the time and thought I could recreate any hairstyle, but I put all my marbles into recreating Lauryn’s style and I could not figure it out! The reason it blew my mind was that I was not familiar with seeing a coily natural hair texture, but I knew I wanted it. I told my friends and they laughed at me, so then I told my mother who forbid me to precede any further (no offense taken, ma.)  To my friends, and my dear mother’s defense, that natural look just wasn’t a “logical option.” So I waited nearly four years later to pursue the goal of wearing my natural curls. At the beginning I failed miserably a number of times, but I did become successful. That success did not come from the help of local support, but through the natural community of neo-soul artists Lauryn Hill, India Arie, Jill Scott, and even Maxwell. They were my supporters.

I am so thankful that the curlies of today have sources and means to support each other through curl meet ups, online bloggers, Instagram, YouTube, and your friends and family, just to name a few. We have seen the likes of NaturallyCurly.com, The Curly Nikki Forums, and others that have been pivotal to our success in the past few years. Founder of Natural Hair Blog Directory, Rachel Anderson, sums it up when she says, “When you meet others in their journey that share similar frustrations, and have made it through with confidence, adorned with crowns of beautiful healthy hair, you know you can do it too. We are going against the beauty norm according to many, by wearing our hair in its natural state. As more women are exploring this option, it's gaining traction in becoming a newly embraced standard of beauty.”

How has the natural hair community helped you along your journey? How do they encourage you in challenging times?