Happy New Year In many ways 2012 was the Year of the Black Woman. From Susan Rice and Kerry Washington, to Michelle Obama, Gabby Douglas, Dawn Harper and Kellie Wells, we have shown up and showed out in bold, beautiful, stereo-type and odds-defying ways as only we can.

And 2013 promises to be even more extraordinary. As we prepare to ring in the New Year, our goal should not be to focus on resolutions, but evolution, and Clutch has created a list of 5 things to guide you on that journey in the coming year.

1.) Seek a Mentor
No one can go this way alone and there is nothing like having a woman who understands your professional hopes and dreams in your corner, armed with encouragement and advice. Don’t be afraid to contact someone you admire and ask for their guidance or feedback on your endeavors. Seek out those women who are where you want to be and open yourselves to learning from them.

2.) Be a Mentor
It takes a village and it’s time to pay it forward. There are many young girls who could benefit from your life experiences and expertise. Yes, yours. Becoming a guiding force in the lives of others also tends to have the unexpected, reciprocal benefit of enhancing our own lives. Take the time, or make the time, to step outside of your existence and mentor a young woman. The impact that a positive role model can have in a person’s life is often pivotal to their success.

3. Travel
It’s a small world after all. Leave America. Experience life from another cultural perspective. Create memories that will last a lifetime. If you can’t leave the United States, travel to a state that you’ve never been to before. If you can’t leave the state, leave your city; and if you can’t do that, explore a corner of your city that you’ve never ventured into. The benefit of travel can not be spoken of highly enough. New energy and new faces have the ability to create new dreams. Embrace the unexpected.

4. Me, me, me.
Don’t be afraid to put yourself first. Children, parents, spouses, lovers, friends and extended family are all important, but so are you. Be in love with you. Be as good to yourself as you are to everyone else. Stop waiting on permission to put yourself first.

5. Ignore Media/Studies
If we are to believe the avalanche of negative studies and media coverage, then black women are overweight, unlovable, narcissistic, multiple baby daddy, baby having nymphos who can’t get a job or keep a man, because we’re too busy being independent and angry.

Ignore them.

Black women are not science projects or social experiments. We know that we are not a monolith and we are not the bottom-feeders in the feminine ocean. We will continue to hold our heads high, embracing sisterhood, service and success.

What more would you add to this list? What do you want for black women in 2013?

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