First and foremost as stated in the The Knotty Truth returning to natural hair is more mental than it is physical. You have to unlearn a lot of things before you can successfully transition and be comfortable in your choice of doing so.
I then recommend creating a plan of action to help you stay on track. I call it transitioning the S.M.A.R.T. way. Each letter represents a specific target in your action plan.
Be Specific, Set small continuous goals instead of large sweeping goals. Be specific about what it is you want to achieve. Do not set out to make a drastic change immediately.
Transition Suggestion (Be Specific): Your goal is to transition back to natural hair, but you’ve been relaxed since you were six years of age and have no clue as to what your natural texture looks and feels like and/ or how to take care of it. You also, are working against the grain of what “others” deem professional and attractive. First, understand that going natural and staying natural is 90% mental and 10% physical and that you are undoing many years of self-inflicted pain, and that your black beauty has been and continues to be demonized by the media and other forces around you. Be patient with yourself, but don’t let fear guide you through your process. Remember: You were purposely made in His likeness. Your Creator is a magnificent artist and no one has the authority to critique his work.
Set a Measurable time frame for your journey.
Set a time frame. Do not leave your goal(s) open ended. Be realistic. Remember that success takes time; and when you rush through the process the only person that you are racing is yourself.
Transition Suggestion (Measuring Time): For 2 weeks, I will become familiar with natural hairstyles and exercise my mind by allowing myself 10 minutes a day to research/ look at beautiful pictures of my natural sisters. After the 2 weeks, I will take a week to perform research on social media sites that support women like me that want to return to their natural roots but are unsure. After the 1 week, I will become a part of the social/ support group and ask a question – “Can someone give me advice on transitioning with the big chop? –or – “Can someone give me advice on transitioning without the big chop?” After I receive the answer to my question, I will take no more than 30 days to decide which method of transitioning will work for ME.
The goals that you have put in place for yourself are Attainable if you follow your own journey and not someone else’s journey.
Review and revise your action plan daily. Are you on track? If so try stretching your goals; if not, review your plan and update it accordingly.
Transition Suggestion (Attaining Your Goal): The approach that you are taking to reach your goal(s) should be pleasant. As humans, we typically abandon anything that we find unpleasant. It should also be personal to you as no two journeys are the same. Do not compare yourself to others.
Research, Research, Research
Set yourself up to succeed. Continue to educate yourself. One of the keys to success is education. Education helps you to become a forward thinker. Your success can be the formula for someone else’s success if you share what you have learned with others. Your action plan and success can make you a resource and your education can set you up to be a solution.
Transition Suggestion (Research): Never stop researching. There is a plethora of information and style options out there for you to see.
It takes Time.
Enjoy the process of moving through your action plan. Changing your perspective or view on success will move you forward and through your action plan. Success is not hard to achieve you just have to position yourself properly by being S.M.A.R.T. Know that if you are moving forward and through your action plan that you have already succeeded.
Transition Suggestion (It Takes Time): Understand that being natural and staying natural is 90% mental and 10% physical. Enjoy your natural hair journey and stay connected with other naturalistas until you capture your natural hair sea legs. Once you truly embrace your natural roots lend a hand of support to those that are where you once were.
What advice can you offer to someone on the fence about transitioning, currently transitioning or feel like giving up?