A New Year brings new missions, plans, goals and so on! This of course is not only true for our professional, personal and day to day lives but some of us also have goals for our hair! I will be touching upon the “Hair – side of things”!
One of the most resourceful way to measure, record and monitor your goals is to write it down in a Journal. Now with the “Digital Age” you can of course use a Digital Journal. I personally prefer to physically use pen and paper (I guess I am “Old School”.) Now, when it comes to what to write in the journal I say EVERYTHING!
I recently joined a Natural Hair Forum (which I have previously mentioned) Napturallycurly.com Hair Forum and in there I spoke with a few of the lovely ladies and checked what they note down in their Hair Journals. It was great to share ideas because they brought to light some points that I seemed to have missed. So together with a few of the ideas I had and some of the suggestions I got, I have made a little list of things you can note down in your journal (these are just suggestions!)
You can map out the kind of routines you do/want to do e.g. when you want to pre-poo, Shampoo, deep condition, Co-wash etc. You can not down the products/ingredients you used, how your hair felt afterwards, how long it was been treatments etc.
In this category you can note down what hair styles you have tried and how they worked out for you. Included in here you can also write what products you used, how your hair was when you styled it (e.g. wet, damp, dry), how you set it (e.g. air dry, hooded dryer, hair dryer). You can also note down future planned styles you want to try out.
For this section you can note down any new products you have had your eyes on or new recipes you want to mix. When it comes to recipes you should write down the ratios of each ingredient used, how you mixed it and how you applied it. At the same time I think it is just as important to record what worked or did not work. This way you save yourself (and your hair) have repeating a mishap or forgetting about a product/mix that your hair loved. Same as before you should note down how your hair felt, the process you used, how long you left it in, did you use direct heat or not, did you warm up the product/mixture etc.
Now when it comes to psychically writing in a journal it might not always be convenient to print out photos and stick them in the journal (although I LOVE the idea of that!) So what you can do is, have a folder on your computer dedicated to your hair journal which is ONLY used to document your hair progress. You can have a section for before/after Deep Conditioning, new product before/after results, new DIY mixes before/after results, tracking your growth, new hair style results etc. TIP: What I plan on doing for measuring my hair’s health and growth is to actually choose one hair style as my “staple monitoring” hair style. For example if I choose a Wash-n-Go to be the staple examining style I would take photos of my hair when I do a Wash-n-Go every month/two months and then track how my hair looks (in terms of health, shine) its density (thickness.) and its growth. This way I have a more reliable measurement instead comparing stretched to un-stretched hair or puffy versus “un-puffy” hair. You might even go as far as to use the same product, wash routine etc. when monitoring the results.
Challenges are always fun to do (you might get a bigger kick out of it if you involve others as well.) So you can forum a group (or on your own) challenge yourself to do more protective styles, moisturize your hair more frequently, reduce heat, completely stop using heat etc. For example: write it down, note how you felt on the day when you would normally flat iron your hair, and what you did to overcome the urge to use heat. Having it noted down somewhere might make you feel a little more accountable to go through with it!
Short Term Goals
In here you can include when you plan on cutting/trimming your ends. You might also plan on dying your hair for a special occasion and you can plan and prep your hair for the event. Straightening your hair might also be on your plan (if you are not already using heat more frequently) so again you can plan and prep your hair for the special occasion. Note down the same as above: how you prepped, what you used and how your hair felt afterwards.
Long Term Goals
Now when it comes to long term goals this really is a personal thing. Some of us might want bra strap length hair, mid back length or longer! For some, your long term goal may be to use only organic products throughout the year. You might have a date picked out when you want you hair to be xx cm. If you integrated a new routine into your hair care then you long term goal might be to compare how your hair felt and looked one year ago compared to now and you will be in a better position to see if the new routine worked for you or not. You get to really determine/measure the results if you have recorded your progress every step of the way.
There are a few tips I think you should consider when you start to map out your goals.
KEEP IT REALISTIC (most important!) If you are starting out with a Tiny Weeny Afro (TWA) it might not be realistic to say “By the end of the year I want Hair reaching my B**T.” There is nothing wrong in wanting something however, if you setup goals that you KNOW are unrealistic, you might end up being disappointed or unmotivated if they do not turn out the way you want.
KEEP IT SIMPLE. For example: if you want to try out more protective styles saying “I want to try out a new hairstyle three times a week” might not be effective. Having conflicting goals e.g. trying to do more protective/less manipulative styles might not work out if you are constantly changing your hair style during the week.
DO YOUR RESEARCH. If you are working with a budget you might & should not go spending all your money on the ‘most expensive products’ just because you think that is what you have to do! There is so much information online! Do your research, experiment, read reviews, and ask questions. There is always an alternative out there, you just need to do a little homework!
DO NOT GIVE UP. It can be a hassle at times (believe me I know!) But you can not give up just because it is “hard.” Life in general is not easy and most of the time you need to push through to get what you want, but the rewards really are worth it! If you are stuck in a rut or think you can not make it, take a breath and relax. Keep in mind that you are NOT the only one going through this or struggling. Sometimes just looking at pictures, reading peoples stories, communicating with other can be just the thing you need, so do not give up!
Ok so I wrote a book and will end it here by saying I am ALWAYS happy to answer any questions, discuss topics and share whatever I know so in case someone wants a shoulder to lean on (mine is free!)Good luck on whatever journey you might be on this year and remember you are not alone!