I don't make new year's resolutions. I figure I'm a work in progress all year long. And I'm already dedicated and disciplined as evidenced by my 5 a.m. daily exercise routine alone. 

As I look ahead to 2018, I'm excited for what's in store for my public relations and communications business. I'm looking forward to making some tweaks that I expect to keep me energized all year long. You can call them resolutions if you like. Here are the four things I'm doing and that I'd recommend to other entrepreneurs who are seeking renewal and ways to stay inspired for the next 12 months and beyond.

1. Work remotely one day a week.

When not out meeting with clients and prospects, I'm working from my home office, or, ahem, kitchen table. I love it. However, the other day I felt compelled to head out, laptop in tow, to a new bustling French pastry and coffee shop not too far from my house. I loved that, too. The smell of butter, the background noise, the colorful atmosphere. I got so much done without the distractions -- puppy, work-from-home husband, household chores -- of home. It felt new and energizing, and that wasn't just my imagination. Research proves that moderate levels of ambient noise can boost performance on creative tasks. I'm making Friday my work away from home day, so I can look forward to it all week.

2. Keep one day a week free of meetings and conference calls.

This is about two things: preserving my energy while being more efficient with my time. I need some down time, outside of meetings and conference calls, so that I can focus on my work. It's hard to buckle down on projects and writing when I have to run out each day for a meeting. There have been times when I've looked ahead to the next week and seen meetings sprinkled inconveniently throughout those next five days -- and poof there went my energy and creativity. Again, I'm thinking Friday is my day.

3. Start talking nicer to and about myself.

I've written before about how our inner narratives are important. Sometimes we need to give ourselves a pep talk or listen to our theme song. I recently was reminded of the power of our own words via Monarch, a not-for-profit organization that provides support to thousands of people in North Carolina with intellectual and developmental disabilities, mental illness and substance use disorders. I was at one of Monarch's group homes for a local TV station a story about a resident there who is blind and intellectually and developmentally disabled and an expert piano player. For an hour, Olivia Walker played songs -- Christmas carols, church hymns, Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You" -- on the piano. And after each one, she asked with glee "Did I kill it?" Gosh, what if we all talked to ourselves and about ourselves like that? I've told a few friends this story, and since then, when we talk or email we let each another know she's "killing it." At the end of a particularly good work day, I tell remind myself I'm crushing it. To a large degree, we create our own narratives and our own reality.

4. Stop talking about being busy.

When I hear people talk about how busy they are, I feel a lot of things. Bored. Defensive. Unimportant. Who isn't busy? What makes you so special? Are we competing for bragging rights as to who's the busiest here? Yawn. Boring and not good for business. Think about it. Do you want to do business with someone who's "so busy" or "having a crazy week?" I'd rather work with folks who say things like "I'm so happy to see you!" or "I'm having a great week!"

I'm happy and excited to share my little tweaks with you. I heard someone say that being an entrepreneur is 90 percent what's going on in your head, so you could say this is about clearing the cobwebs and preparing to kill it in 2018.

Published on: Jan 3, 2018