13 Words for 2013

I’m not one for resolutions, for a variety of reasons (mostly because it’s just setting myself up to fail). Last year, I finished up “The Happiness Project” just before New Year’s and chose to carry that spirit forward with my 2012 Positivity Challenge. Being in a place (both mentally and physically) of so much transition at the moment, I knew I wanted to do something this year, but what? The other day, it came to me: 13 Words. Thirteen words to carry with me through the year as mantras, as intentions, as meditations, as guiding principles, as things to ground me. Thirteen Words. A baker’s dozen. One for each month, and an extra for the year. And as soon as I started thinking about it, the words started coming to me in a flood. Here they are, in no particular order:

Image with text: "create, verb, to cause to come into being, as something unique that would note naturally evolve or that is not made by ordinary processes.

Create – I’m at my happiest when I’m creating. When I’ve just started a project and I’m full of ideas and they’re flying out of my brain at a million miles an hour. I get my best work done in those initial flourishes of creativity, so I need to give myself to them and let myself go with the ideas. Create is this post, right here, writing these words. It’s also the banners and iPad and iPhone wallpapers I decided to make myself (and share with you) to remind me of these intentions.

Focus – But sometimes I get overwhelmed; there are too many ideas, I don’t know where to start, I shut down and just don’t do anything. And so all of these ideas I had – all of these things I could have created – they go nowhere. I need to remind myself to focus, to finish things I’ve started and see them through until the very end. Or to revisit the project and say, nope, that’s not going to work, and officially scrap it. To make lists and actually adhere to them. To make plans and actually do them.

Selectivity – Part of my creativity and focus problem has been a lack of selectivity. I say yes to everything, every idea and don’t have the time to do them all. Going forward, I need to be more selective about the projects and people I give my time to – learn when to say no so that I can properly focus on other things.

An image with the text: "Aplomb, noun, imperturbable self-possession, poise, or assurance

Aplomb – I’m really terrible at promoting myself, at having the self-confidence enough to think that what I have to say or do is worth the time of others. No more. This year, it’s all about living with aplomb. About celebrating the good things I can do and making sure others know about them, too. About making the opportunities for myself that I want to be there. And it’s just a fantastic word, isn’t it?

Reconnect – Despite my theatre background, I’m pretty definitely an introvert. So often, I don’t reach out, I don’t keep connections, I don’t try to make plans because… well, there’s never a real reason. This year, I’m determined to reconnect. Reconnect with others, reconnect with things that I’ve left behind that made me happy. So many things on this list really come down to reconnecting, at the heart of them. Reconnecting with what makes me happiest, with what makes me live at my best.

Care – Reminding myself to not only continue to care for the friends and family around me, but for myself. My friend Meghan has been posting daily Self-Care Inspirations and many of them have really been hitting a nerve with me. I need to remember to set aside some self-care time now and then. It’s like the airplane safety talk when they tell you to affix your own oxygen before assisting others: you have to take care of yourself first, if you’re going to take care of those around you.

Image with text: Strive, verb, to make strenuous efforts toward any goal

Strive – I want to remember what I have a passion for and that I will get there, that I deserve to get there. That I have a reason to get there and I will excel when I’m there.

Articulate – I’ve always thought that I present easier in writing than in person. While my writing can still sometimes be disorganized and winding, at least I have a chance to go through, edit, and move my thoughts into a better flow. In speaking, sometimes, I can go off on tangents all over the place. I want to try and articulate my thoughts better verbally; take a second, think things through, edit in my head, and then speak.

Ridiculous – And sometimes, when I’m done being focused and done articulating, I need to allow myself to get a little ridiculous. Because I like being ridiculous. I like laughing and sharing silly moments with my family. And I need that ridiculousness in my life.

Breathe – Before we moved, I’d finally found a yoga studio that I loved – the teachers were great, it was conveniently located, a friend went with me, the level was perfect. I was going really regularly and I loved it. I loved taking that time to myself, to destress, decompress, let the day slip away. I was so excited at the prospect of living in one of the prime yoga areas and even got myself this awesome card than gets me a free class at almost 50 studios… Oh, the options! How many have I tried? Three. I look at the schedules and I say, “Oh, I should go to this one or that one,” but I don’t go. By reminding myself to breathe, I remind myself to get back to that place that I love.

Resilience – Too often, I fall too easily into the pit of self-pity. And it’s kind of ridiculous because when I objectively look at the things I’ve overcome, it’s kind of amazing I’m doing as well as I am. Not knowing my birth parents, an emotionally abusive upbringing, being left homeless by my only “relative,” and the decision to quit college to support myself – I’ve fared pretty darn well. Partly due to luck and finding some amazing people who’ve taken me in as their own family, and partly due to, well, I don’t know exactly what, but something deep inside me that’s kept me going. When I’m down at the bottom of the pit, I have to remember what’s inside me and live up to it.

Image with the text: Lethologica, noun, the inability to remember a word or put your finger on the right word.

Lethologica – The word for when you can’t remember the word. A reminder that I won’t succeed at all of these words at all times, and that’s okay. Letting myself be comfortable with my faults, with my failings, with my mistakes.

Be – Sometimes, I feel like I’m trying to be so many things: a writer, a sewer, an excellent cook, a social media maven, an awesome auntie, and sister-in-law, and wife, and daughter, and daughter-in-law, a fitness girl, a yoga girl, a funny girl… I’ve spent a large part of my life adapting to my environments. Being what I needed to be or was expected to be. This year, I just want to be. To be Crystal, full-stop, no qualifiers. And the other dozen words are going to get me there.

(all definitions courtesy

(This post originally appeared at That Girl Crystal. Text and Graphics used with permission.)

By Crystal Coleman

Florida girl living on the west coast. During the day, I consult in social media and community management. I have a really cute puppy (Elphaba) and a British husband (I keep him for his accent) as well as an unhealthy relationship with parentheses.

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