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  • Writer's pictureDr. Sharon T. Hinton

Suggestions for a New Year Filled with Personal and Professional Success.

January is traditionally a wonderful time to reflect on where you have been, where you are currently, and where you want to be in the future. 2024 is a leap year with the gift of an extra day. What will you do with 24 extra hours?

Below are 7 suggestions to encourage you both personally and professionally.

1.     Deep breath!

Focus on your breathing. When you take the time to breathe in and slowly breathe out, there are multiple benefits. First, you oxygenate your brain cells. Second, you cannot speak and take a deep breath at the same time, so a deep breath prevents you from speaking before you think! Finally, deep breathing is one way to decrease anxiety.

If just breathing doesn’t sound very exciting to you, consider blowing bubbles or blowing on a pinwheel.

2.     Add a bit of humor to your seriousness.

Did you know that smiling affects your mood? Try smiling, especially when you don’t feel like it. Your mood will improve and, because smiles are contagious, the people around you will smile too.

Try doing something fun just because you enjoy the activity. Read a comic or watch a comedy. Find something that makes you happy and add it to your environment. There is a reason people keep plants on their desks and interesting stickers on their computers. No desk? How about a fun pair of socks? Even if no one else sees them, you will know that they are there.

3.     Learn something new.

Lifelong learners grow both personally and professionally. Take a course (credit or non-credit) to increase your skills professionally, to improve a personal hobby, or to learn something completely new. Not only will you gain knowledge, enjoy yourself, and meet new people, but you might just discover a new talent.

If you work around people, consider choosing a more solitary topic. If your work is more solitary, consider choosing opportunities that involve group activities.

4.     Intentionally seek out a new friend.

The post-pandemic world seems to have left loneliness and isolation in its wake. Combat this secondary epidemic by greeting someone at work or in your neighborhood that you do not know well.

Say hello and smile instead of looking at the floor when you enter a room or elevator. Send a card or email to someone you haven’t spoken to in a while or even better call them on the phone or via zoom or one of the many other apps that allow visual visits. Join a group that interests you. Request a mentor or offer to mentor someone else.

5.     Step away from technology.

Be brave and silence your phone for at least 15 minutes of personal time a day. Resist the urge to answer your phone or check email when you are in the company of a live human being. Schedule an appointment with yourself and keep it, even if all you do is have some quiet time. Keep a pen and paper handy to record your thoughts, dreams, and goals. Computers and cell phone apps are fast and efficient, but research says that there is a direct creative connection between thoughts, emotions, and actually writing.

Most importantly, go outside on purpose and leave your cell phone in your pocket. There is a beautiful world available for you to enjoy once you take your eyes off your technology and look around.

6.     Be kind to yourself!

Speak to yourself in the same way you speak to a close friend. I can’t imagine that you would be as hard on another person as you are on yourself. Speak kindly to yourself and be quick to forgive your mistakes. Give yourself another chance to move forward and try again.

While you are practicing kindness, take care of yourself as well. Get enough sleep and eat at least a few vegetables and fruits daily.

7.     Move yourself!

Don’t think of it as exercise unless you like exercise. Dance, walk, swim, bicycle, garden or whatever you prefer – just move. Moving your body is shown to improve your physical and mental health. Research also shows that a sedentary lifestyle has many negative consequences to your health, such as loss of bone density, muscle strength, and slowing of brain function.

Something as simple as getting up to stretch and take a walk in the fresh air regularly can drastically improve your outlook on life as well as your health.


Wherever you are currently, 2024 provides the opportunity for you to move forward personally and professionally. I hope that this selection of tips will help you to make 2024 your best year yet.

Happy New Year!




Share your successes and additional suggestions for my list. Leave them in the comment section below!



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Jan 20

Love it!


Jan 06

I teach this all the time, but reading it from a trusted colleague makes it all the more real and practical to do it myself. Thanks Sharon


Jan 02

Blowing out the bad air, as I read! Thanks for the reminder!

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