Beyond Words

Words, Wit and Wisdom for Today's Style and Decision Makers

New Year, New You January 2, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 12:55 am



Earlier today I did my annual “Polar Bear Plunge” in Austin’s Barton Springs Pool. Every New Year’s Day, hundreds of Austinites jump into the downtown spring-fed treasure that boasts a constant water temperature of 68 degrees. The “Plunge” is a way of washing off last year’s woes and starting the new year refreshed and rejuvenated. Today’s 72 degree weather made the jump a little easier than those of previous years with temperatures in the 30s and 40s accompanied by drizzle, but the water still felt freezing and it was still refreshing.


I’m ready 2017. Bring it!


Today is when many of us start anew and start our New Year’s Resolutions. I’ve blogged about them before and won’t bore you with great ones I’ve concocted or how to’s again this year. Instead, I’m sharing just a few ideas others have enlightened me with and that I’m hoping enlighten you as well.




If you’ve followed me for a while or know me, you probably remember I love Gretchen Rubin and her “Happiness Project” books. Once again Ms. Rubin nails it as she suggests we each choose one word as a 2017 mantra. A single word or short phrase Rubin notes, is easier to remember all year and easier to put into action than some long, thought out dissertation of goals and plans. She has chosen “Repurpose” as her 2017 focus word, as she hopes to make more of what she already has. I love it! Other years she has selected “Upgrade” and “Lighten Up,” and encourages all of us to choose something we can truly pour ourselves into. Here are some suggestions:














Less (as in negativity, procrastination, etc.)

More (as in exercise, prayer, etc.)




What will you choose for your 2017 one-word theme?






Another successful woman who inspires me is Rachel Zoe, who recently blogged in her Zoe Report on “What Successful Women Do in January.” Here are just three of the things that struck a chord with me:


Identify Big Picture Goals. It’s good to have goals but sometimes we overwhelm ourselves with having too many of them. Zoe recommends focusing on what you feel most in need of change. Don’t think small though, as these are big ticket items. Be specific with them, prioritize them, and make sure at least one of them is something that terrifies you. What? Why? Because, if you accomplish just that one thing during the year, think about how proud you will be.


Evaluate What Didn’t Work Last Year. This one makes perfect sense. Start this year by evaluating what didn’t work for you last year. Easy-peasy, right? But, after doing so, resolve to fix it and work to change it. Little things matter too. If you hate your job, work on finding a new one and at the same time, if the flowers in your flower beds drive you crazy, choose different ones. Everything is worth evaluating.


Picture One Person You Want to Prove Yourself To. It can be hard to motivate yourself day after day. Some days you just don’t have the “umph” required for a triumph. When you’re feeling this way, picture in your mind that one person you feel doesn’t believe in you or respect you. Then, go out and prove them wrong!





Something else I ran across that I liked is the idea of putting a small note into a jar (or basket, or box, or anything you want) stating something good that happened that day. On New Year’s Eve 2017, read them all and maybe, just maybe, you will realize it was a pretty good year after all!





On a more “heavy” note, is the idea of mapping…mind mapping. That’s what former Google career coach and job strategist Jenny Blake promotes. A “mind map” she says, is basically a visual diagram of your interests and goals.


Start by writing the year in the center of a piece of paper. From there, draw spokes for different themes that are important to you. These could be “business,” “personal,” “health,” “fun,” or whatever you want. Then, from those draw more spokes and write down what you want to accomplish in each area or what you might want to try out or experiment with in them.


Doing this will help you figure out the next project, hobby, or even career change that will make the new year happier and more successful Blake promises. The goal, she says, is to break out of linear thinking and instead “go broad, go big, and go sideways.” I’m on board!





Every year I also vow to grow spiritually so I really liked something I ran across called “Catholic New Year’s Resolutions.” These ways of improving my faith include:


One virtue I’d like to grown in

One sin I’d like to eliminate

One book of scripture I’d like to read through

One spiritual book I’d like to read

One prayer I’d like to learn

One way to improve my sacrament life

One saint I’d like to get to know better

If you’d like a free printable of these goals, go to




Finally, I end with something I read that I LOVED. I hope you love it too as it is some of the smartest advice I’ve heard in a long time. Plus, doing it not only benefits you, but others as well.


Lately I’ve been replacing my “I’m sorry’s” with “thank you’s,” like instead of saying “I’m sorry I’m late,” I’ll say “thanks for waiting for me.” Instead of saying “sorry I’m underdressed today” I’ll say “thank you for loving me just the way I am.” Doing this has not only shifted the way I think and feel about myself but it’s also improved my relationships with others who now get to receive my gratitude instead of my negativity.


What a concept! Happy New Year everyone and thanks for reading. I appreciate you more than you know!




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