It’s history. 2021, that is. And after casting a final backward gaze on that chaotic year, it’s time to set our sights on 2022. Last year made us realize just how precious time is and how important it is to make the most of the time ahead of us. Taking time to cherish our family and friends, as well as to pursue goals and priorities that will enrich our lives, is how we all wish to go forward.

Well, the time to get busy setting long-held plans in motion is upon us. Below are suggested resolutions to get you started. Some are time-tested and others, we hope, are just plain timely.

  1. Level Up Your Learning: Education shouldn’t end when you get that diploma. Continually expanding your knowledge base keeps the brain active and engaged, keeps you abreast of culture and trends, and, just possibly, can open the door to new opportunities. MasterClass offers a wide variety of instructors ready to drop knowledge on a variety of topics. Coming this year is youth poet laureate Amanda Gorman’s poetry class, as well as more of “Black History, Freedom & Love: Lessons From Influential Black Voices”—which features luminaries like Nikole Hannah-Jones, Jelani Cobb and Angela Davis. You can also learn about independent filmmaking from director Spike Lee; get basketball lessons from Stephen Curry; explore creating outside the lines with Issa Rae; and get tutelage in fiction and storytelling from Walter Mosley.

  2. Embrace Family: While we’ve spent more hours shut-in over the past two years than we thought we could handle, the most inventive among us have found ways to make that time extra special. With all the technology at our fingertips these days, one way to make good use of the togetherness is to create an oral/visual family history that celebrates the stories our elders have to tell, as well as the joy of watching the kids among us step into their own stories. Recounting memories of desegregation, sharing treasured family recipes, re-enacting your first varsity football touchdown, or teaching your parents the latest dance moves are just some possibilities to get you started. Consider the Fanbase app if you want to take your stories live. The social media platform was created by EBONY Power 100 honoree Isaac Hayes III, the son of classic soul crooner Isaac Hayes.

  3. Explore Your Roots: If you haven’t yet dived into your own genetic gene pool, this may be the year to trace your ancestry. traces your past via your mother’s maternal line back as far as 2,000 years. Among the things included in your results package is the present-day African country from which you’ve descended if your ancestry results indeed trace to Africa, a Guide to African History and Cultures e-book, and exclusive access to Ancestry’s online Facebook community.

  4. Get Organized: If clutter is the order (or disorder) of the day, move this resolution to the top of your to-do list. Whether it’s the overstuffed linen closet that drops 20-year-old pillowcases at your feet every time you open it; or the computer desktop that’s so crowded a photos icon masked the excel doc you needed for your morning project meeting; or the sudden realization that your daughter’s ballet recital and your son’s first Tee Ball game are both at the same time—a little organization would not go amiss. If you’re looking for a little guidance to get you started, you can turn to author Nikki Boyd, creator of the website At Home With Nikki. In her book Beautifully Organized: A Guide To Function And Style In Your Home, Boyd notes, “When your home is not in order, it becomes easy to slide into the habit of tossing items in random places. …With simple routines and systems for organization, you will save yourself so much time and effort as you go through your daily routines.”

  5. Reduce Your Carbon Footprint: If you want to join youth activists like 18-year-old Isra Hirsi (daughter of U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar) in the fight against climate change, and help secure the environment for future generations, there are many steps you can take as an individual. From using less energy to reducing your meat intake and food waste to switching to LED lights—it all counts.

  6. Supplement Your Income: Most people would love to find that perfect side hustle to generate a little extra “passive” income—meaning income that produces money without you having to work it constantly like you would a second job. Owning a rental property or receiving royalties from a book you’ve written are good examples. Jenna, a twentysomething Dallas-area business analyst by day, found a route to passive income that is on track to gross her approximately $9,000 extra a year. In October 2021, she signed on as a host with the car sharing service, Turo. Through the website she lists and rents out a secondary vehicle she purchased. Jenna describes it as the equivalent of an Airbnb—but instead of short-term rentals of your home, you’re providing the same service with your car. Jenna says she thinks it’s important for young Black women and men to have a safety net against factors like job loss, or the possibility that Social Security may not be around by the time they reach retirement age. “If something happens down the road and I feel like where I’m at isn’t a good place for me anymore I’d have no problem leaving because I have a little extra money saved up through other business ventures.”

  7. Adopt A Pet: 2021 pet adoptions dropped from 2020 levels, which, in turn, had dropped from levels of the previous year. You can help turn the tide in 2022 by emulating Oprah and adding a furry, four-legged friend to your household. Not only will adopting a rescue dog or cat help reduce the number of euthanized pets, it also can be a boost to your health and wellbeing. According to WebMD, pets can help to reduce anxiety and high blood pressure, which afflicts over 40 percent of African-American men and women.

  8. Visualize Your Post-Covid Future:  Though you may not be able to jump back into pre-covid routines just yet, with vaccination rates rising, hopefully that day won’t be too far off. Meanwhile, why not use the time that would otherwise be consumed by social outings to do some hard thinking about what’s next and start drafting your five-year plan. First, figure out where you’d like to be in five years and then set intermediate goals for getting there. For instance, if your ultimate objective is to get your MBA, your goals may include prepping for the GMAT, surveying available schools and programs, researching grant and scholarship opportunities, and adding relevant work experience to your CV.

  9. Make Time for Self-Care: After the traumatic past two years of fallout from the pandemic—the loss of loved ones, layoffs, quarantine and family isolation—our souls are crying out for some sustained spiritual healing. Taking time for peaceful meditation, relaxation and rejuvenation is essential. If you’ve considered looking to yoga to release stress, then online classes may be just the antidote. You can download the Yoga Green Book app for a 14-day free trial of meditation and yoga classes by instructors who focus on Black health and wellness.

  10. Take Language Lessons: If you’ve always wanted to learn a second language perhaps it’s time to just do it. Taking Spanish lessons now will not only help us better communicate with the growing Latinx population in this country but will also prepare you for post-Covid travel to Spanish-speaking Caribbean and Latin American countries that are part of the African diaspora. Learning Spanish also opens career possibilities as more jobs seek bilingual applicants. You can enroll in a beginner’s program for free on And check out scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr.’s 2011 PBS documentary series “Black In Latin America,” available via Amazon Prime, for a look at the history and culture of Africa’s descendants in Latin America.

  11. Get A New Job: One of the unexpected consequences of the pandemic here in the U.S. is what has been dubbed “The Great Resignation.” Employees have been choosing to leave jobs they were unhappy with in surprising numbers. Various theories have been posited about what brought it on: the freedom of working remotely, the pull of the gig economy, couples discovering that by reducing expenses they can survive on one income, backlash against low wages or burnout from high-stress positions. Business publication Fast Company reports that for tech, “part of the issue is the industry’s long struggles to achieve workplace diversity and equity.” A significant percentage of respondents to a survey said they left or contemplated leaving tech positions “because the company culture made them feel unwelcome or uncomfortable.” Although the December jobs report indicates the “Big Quit” trend may be ebbing, it’s still a good time to assess whether the job you’re in is right for you. If you’re looking to escape a toxic work environment or just pursue a different path, the first couple months of the new year is prime time as employers post new open positions.

  12. Eat Healthy to Lose Weight: With so many plans and programs available that promise to help you lose weight, the challenge is to find one that’s right for you. Reducing calories and increasing activity appears to be the overarching theme for losing the pounds but finding a strategy to keep them off and adopt a healthy eating plan for life is the real challenge. The Mediterranean Diet, WW (the plan on which dynamic diva Jennifer Hudson lost 80 pounds) and the Mayo Clinic Diet offer a balanced, sustainable approach to weight loss. Whether you choose one of these or one of the other popular plans on the market remember you should always consult with your doctor before you get started; existing health issues can play a role in determining which plan is right for you.

  13. Build Your Savings: Yes, it’s hard to save when your paycheck barely covers your monthly expenses, but it’s still a worthy goal, even if you are only able to bank a minimal amount. If you start early in your career and put away a little a week, over time it can create a nice little nest egg. If a tax-deferred 401(k) plan is an option, some employers are making it more attractive by matching your contribution as much as 100 percent up to a given amount. The IRS also added some incentives for 401(k) contributions. Qualified individuals can contribute up to $20,500 from their paycheck to their 401(k), up from $19,500 in 2021. If you're 50 or over, you can make an additional $6,500 catch-up contribution.

  14. Become A Truth Seeker: Even though we live in what has been heralded as “The Information Age,” the last several years have seen “misinformation,” or worse “disinformation,” become the order of the day, and it spreads like wildfire across the social media landscape. You can help set the record straight by learning how to discern fact from fiction and passing that knowledge on. Start by visiting The News Literacy Project, a nonprofit that aims to educate and provide the tools necessary “to be smart, active consumers of news and information and equal and engaged participants in a democracy.”

  15. Connect With Your Inner Child: Sometimes adults need play dates, too! And there’s no shame in a little regression to a time when we had a lot fewer worries and a lot more fun. So, get your college besties together and organize that girls’ trip to the ocean where you can swim, run on the beach, listen to seashells and laugh till the sun goes down. And guys, while the ladies are away you also have a chance to play. How about downsizing your weekend golf outing with the fellas to a miniature course for your own retro experience? Follow with an all-the-hot dogs-you-can-eat party while playing your favorite old-school video games.

  16. Activate Your Activism: Don’t sit on the sidelines when a cause comes along that could impact your future or your children’s futures. Whether it’s voting rights, climate change, racial justice or other of the day’s pressing issues, raise your voice and advocate for change. Barack Obama said it well, “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change we seek.”

  17. Make A Business Plan: If you’ve always wanted to start your own business it may be time to put a plan in action. There are business accelerators and incubators nationwide that will coach you and help you develop your concept. Entities like JPMorgan Chase have committed to boosting small business loans in Black and Latinx communities, too. Amazon also recently launched a small business accelerator for Black entrepreneurs with funding of $150 million over four years.

  18. Commit To Kindness: What better way to express gratitude for the goodwill that has been shown to you than by paying it forward. Whether you pick up the tab of the person behind you in line at McDonald’s, take out the garbage for an elderly neighbor, or offer words of comfort and support to someone who’s feeling isolated or alone—your thoughtful acts matter. The late Desmond Tutu said, “Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”

  19. Pursue A Passion: Have you always wanted to learn to play the piano or run a 5K or grow your own organic vegetables? Well, if you start practicing, training or planting early you can see your long-held dreams bear fruit before we ring out this year.

  20. Become A Mentor: Put the African-American adage “Each one teach one” into action by becoming a mentor. You can mentor a new hire in the workplace just starting his or her career, a family member looking to pick up your mad DIY skills, or one of the children served by Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, the largest mentoring network of its kind in the country. Matching adult mentor-volunteers with children ages 5 and up establishes positive, supportive relationships that helps kids reach their full potential.

  21. Read More Books: Nothing quite opens you to new adventures, new cultures, new learning and new experiences like diving into a good book. But pleasure isn’t the only reason to ramp up your reading—the practice increases vocabulary, aids in analytical thinking, helps you to empathize with others, lowers blood pressure, and it also can help prevent cognitive decline as you get older. Here are some titles landing in 2022 that you might want to add to your reading list: Tara M. Stringfellow’s Memphis, which traces three generations of a Southern Black family; Lizzie Damilola Blackburn’s Yinka, Where Is Your Huzband, a romance with an Oxford-educated British-Nigerian heroine; and Brendan Slocumb’s The Violin Conspiracy, a mystery that center’s on a Black classical musician’s stolen violin and its provenance, which traces back to his enslaved great-great grandfather.

  22. Stop Procrastinating: Current thinking says this malady cuts across demographics and is linked to emotional causes. It also indicates that this chronic behavior can have negative health implications—anxiety, disrupted sleep cycles, and more. Try breaking up an overwhelming task into a series of more manageable smaller goals you can knock out one by one, so you don’t put off addressing the issue.