20 Really ‘Smart’ Things You Need to Focus On This Year

Each day we have a choice on what we put our mind to.  And what we put our mind to is where we put our action to!  So how are you going to spend this year?  You’ve got one life, so stop wasting time! Focus on the things you really need to do.  Do you need ideas or focus?  Check out this ‘smart’ list and I say, let’s get moving on this positive list!

20 Really ‘Smart’ Things You Need To Focus On This Year

  1. Putting time on the calendar just for you.
  2. At the beginning of each day, focus on what you are grateful for in life.
  3. Don’t stress the small stuff. Remembering you are too blessed to be stressed.
  4. Cutting yourself some slack. Not being a perfectionist. Just striving for excellence.
  5. Putting together a to-accomplish list each day and as you complete each task, rewarding yourself along the way.
  6. Reading something inspirational each day.
  7. Surrounding yourself with the best people who inspire you in life.
  8. Exercising at least a little each day.  If you can, get it done first thing in the morning so you’ll feel healthy and strong the rest of the day.
  9. Just being yourself.  Not living for anyone else. At the end of the day, knowing that life is about YOU being happy.
  10. Only spending what you can afford in cash. And putting some money away each paycheck.
  11. Committing to learning and growing each day.
  12. Doing less multi-tasking and putting more focus on one thing at a time and excelling at it.
  13. Delegating things in your life that is wasting your precious time.
  14. Eliminating activities in your life that drain you. Focusing on activities that really fuel you!
  15. Being comfortable in saying ‘no’ to requests for your time in order to say YES to your own life.
  16. Not taking yourself too seriously.  Be able to laugh at yourself.
  17. Knowing when it’s time to put the work away.  Spend quality time with your loved ones.
  18. Doing random things for the people you love. Because you realize, today is the only day promised to you.
  19. Standing up tall and being proud of who you are; imperfections and all.
  20. Doing those things in life that you are scared to do. Proving to yourself that you are strong and CAN do them.

I would love to hear which ones on the list resonate with you, that you are going to focus on this year! And let me know what you would add! What really ‘smart’ things are you going to focus on this year?  -Cynthia


Contact Cynthia today to schedule your free consultation to see how she can best help you SOAR in your personal and professional life! Cynthia@smartchic.me

This article was originally shared on http://lifeloveandmusic.net  Check out their fantastic website today!


2016-11-11T11:55:58-07:00By |Inspirational Articles|36 Comments


  1. Dale M. Fagre January 1, 2014 at 4:54 pm - Reply

    Hi Cindy!

    I like #1 through #20! Seriously! 🙂 The ones that stick out for me are #2, #5, #6, #7, #8, #11, #17 & #18. #20 is the one that I believe is the most challenging for most people. It’s the one that we don’t try to think about and we leave this one off our #5. Why? Because, we dread the thought of doing the scary things. In order to tackle these scary things I would recommend either putting one scary thing on the “to accomplish” list once per week, or else break down the scary thing into sections and add one section to your “to accomplish” list each day or week and celebrate each time you successfully have a breakthrough!

    Thanks Cindy for being so inspirational and motivating! You are a big reason why I have #6 & #7 covered each day! 🙂

    Have a great New Year’s Day evening my friend!


    • SmartChic January 12, 2014 at 5:04 pm - Reply

      Thank you Dale for your comments and wisdom! I absolutely LOVE your idea of celebrating each time we have a breakthrough. We deserve it and it keeps us motivated to move WAY forward on other goals in our life! I appreciate our connection very much. This is going to be an amazing year for YOU!

  2. Tom Rhodes January 1, 2014 at 5:01 pm - Reply

    All of these are great things on which people can focus. I have always felt if you try to focus on more than three or four things you can get out of focus. Here are the top four from your list for me to continue working on this year.
    1) #7 surrounding yourself with the best people. I have some in my life with which I need to create distance.

    2) #9 being yourself. On Dan Forbes post earlier I put confidence as one of my 3 key words for 2014.

    3) #11 committed to learning and growing. In order to fulfill my purpose which I see as teaching and helping those around me be successful I need to continue to learn.

    3) #18 Random acts of kindness. Not only leading but living with heart. A learbws nearly three years ago that any day could be the last, lived it with a positive impact on those who will remember you.

    Great article.

    Thanks for sharing


    • SmartChic January 12, 2014 at 5:02 pm - Reply

      Thank you Tom for your comments on my blog! I can see that you are focused on some very important things this year. You definitely know what’s important in life and that will take you through to live your very best life! I appreciate our connection and thank you for your support of SmartChic!

  3. Tracy Cotton January 1, 2014 at 5:48 pm - Reply

    What an awesome list of things that smart people do – some are things I’ m already focused on. Like being grateful and not stressing the small stuff. Saying no and surrounding myself with positive people. I’m also focused on eating right by recognizing I can make better choices every day in better quality, lesser quantity. There is a sense of hope and purpose amongst those 20 things above and I am excited about seeing the results do smarter things for myself can do. As usual Cynthia you are spot on, thanks!

    • SmartChic January 12, 2014 at 5:00 pm - Reply

      Thank you very much Tracy for your comments! I am so glad that you see hope and purpose among this list of 20 things. You are going to rock it this year!

  4. LaRae Quy January 1, 2014 at 6:50 pm - Reply

    Great post, Cynthia! I love all your points but #2 resonates the most for me: “At the beginning of each day, focus on what you are grateful for in life.” I think all things start with gratitude, and from there we can work miracles if we work hard, stick with it, and bounce back with resilience.

    • SmartChic January 12, 2014 at 4:59 pm - Reply

      Thank you so much LaRae for your comments. I agree with you that when we start our day with gratitude, everything else falls much better into place. I appreciate YOU!

  5. Adam McGinness January 1, 2014 at 7:42 pm - Reply

    Happy New Year! Which on the list resonate with me? Well, it is an excellent list and I think they all apply to me in one way or another. The ones that really stand out to me in 2014 are #6, #7, #14, and #15.

    I do read something inspirational each day and I have connected with some amazing “positive” individuals (including you Cynthia). In 2014 I look forward to not only reading something inspirational daily but also working hard to inspiring others on a daily basis.

    In 2013 I worked hard to surround myself with positive and inspiring individuals. In 2014 I look to bond with these individuals and learn something beneficial from all of them.

    #14 and #15 have been issues that have burdened me for many years. I have been involved in so many activities that drain me. Over the past 18 months I have worked hard to remove these draining activities from my life. There are still a few items out there that I need to remove so that I have more time to focus on the activities that fuel me.

    I have always been a “Yes” man. I said yes to everyone and everything. I felt like by saying no I would disappoint people and let them down. Saying Yes was the easy thing to do and made me feel better…….at the time. It took me a few years to realize that by saying Yes to everything drained me and kept me away from my family. I actually became depressed and hit rock bottom. I have learned to say NO and it feels so good! I still say Yes when it is to something that will fuel me and not take it’s toll on me. But now I can say NO without the guilt that I once had.

    Thank you for this helpful post Cynthia. I appreciate you so much. Keep up the amazing work and keep these posts coming in 2014!



    • SmartChic January 12, 2014 at 4:57 pm - Reply

      Thank you Adam for your comments. I hope that this list helps you focus on the important things in life. Doing the things that make you happy in life! I am looking forward to getting to know you much more this year! You are inspiring my friend!

  6. Jill Cofsky January 1, 2014 at 8:46 pm - Reply

    Hi Cindy!

    This list is a great reminder of things to focus on as we begin the new year!!

    I agree with EVERY one of them and I have already been working on #6 and #7 thanks to your inspiration and encouragement.

    I see #3, #15, and #17 as things that are closely related and things that I personally would like to focus on. The ability to know when it’s time to put the work away, not stress over the small stuff, and just say no, would allow me to spend more quality time with my family and to focus more on the things I enjoy.

    Lastly, #20 is not an easy task but as the new year begins, I do plan on proving to myself that I CAN move out of my quiet little comfort zone and accomplish things I never would have thought of attempting before. 🙂

    • SmartChic January 12, 2014 at 4:56 pm - Reply

      Thank you SO much Jill for your comments! You are going to have an absolutely amazing year. By focusing on what makes you happy, you will shine, shine, shine! And I can’t wait to watch it all happen for you!

  7. John Thurlbeck January 2, 2014 at 2:16 am - Reply

    Hi Cindy.

    Loved the post! The ones that really resonated with me were #1, #2, #9, #16, #18 and #20.

    When working in local government, I put a weekly meeting with myself in my diary so that I could, pause, reflect and think about the future. It worked a treat. As a half glass full type of person, I am always grateful for what I have and I like to share that with others.

    I am very focused too on happiness – my own and those that are nearest and dearest to me especially. I’ve always wondered why people do stuff that makes them unhappy? At the same time, I try not to take myself so seriously. I am proud of the things that I have achieved, although I know that at times I have made mistakes and sometimes done stupid stuff. I like feedback and actively seek it wherever I can. It is only by listening, learning and acting on that learning that we can grow as people and as professionals.

    Finally, I have practised random acts of kindness for those I love and for complete strangers for many years now.I love to see people’s expressions and emotions and take great joy from it. I know this life is not a dress rehearsal, so we all need to make the most of what we have. This is why #20 is so important. As I’ve written before, there are times when you need to feel the fear and take the risk anyway! I have a few scars, physical and mental, that bears witness to this approach, although, for the most part, I have grown personally and professionally from those moments/events when I applied that approach.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and for the simplicity of your inspiration!

    • SmartChic January 12, 2014 at 4:54 pm - Reply

      Thank you so much for your wisdom John! You totally get it and you are practicing it each day! Thank you for your inspiring comments and motivating me with your writing and posts each day. 2014 is going to be an exciting, fantastic year!

  8. Linda Mastroianni January 2, 2014 at 5:52 am - Reply

    Hello Cynthia,

    What a wonderful post! The ones that resonate with me are #8 and #20.

    The biggest challenge is carving some “me” time and putting my health a priority. I am changing this. For me, 2014 is all about being healthy and this means exercising, eating well, getting enough sleep and exercising. The first thing that will go on my “to do” list everyday will be exercise. If something does not get done by the end of the day, it will not be at the expense of my health.

    The other big challenge for me is doing something that frightens me. I’ve been sitting on something for a while and I’m stuck on moving forward simply out of fear. I’m working on changing this and I believe I will.

    So thank you so much for your post and for all that you do. You are simply amazing!

    Linda xx

    • SmartChic January 12, 2014 at 4:53 pm - Reply

      Thank you so much Linda for your comments! Taking care of YOU is the #1 priority. When you take care of yourself you will see everything else on the outside fall that much better into place. 2014 is going to be an amazing year for you, I just KNOW it! And I can’t wait to see it all happen for you!

  9. Dan Forbes January 2, 2014 at 6:50 am - Reply

    Great list, Cynthia. This would make a nice presentation or keynote. Just sayin’.

    Of the things on your list a couple resonate with me. I need to time-block additional time for just me (self-reflection). I want to devote more time to exercising. I had a foot ailment that kept me from running for quite some time, but recently it’s better. Time to lace up at least the walking shoes.

    • SmartChic January 12, 2014 at 4:51 pm - Reply

      Thank you so much Dan for your comments on my blog. I hope that you are doing awesome on the things that you need to focus on. Never cancel on those important times when you’re doing something just for YOU! You are going to have an amazing year!

  10. Carol Dougherty January 2, 2014 at 7:59 am - Reply

    Cynthia – I love the list. These are great actions that will lead to success! Instead of starting the day with what I’m grateful for I end the day by making a short list of three things (min) that I’m grateful my husband did that day. It helps me focus on the good stuff before going to sleep.

    I think I will print this list and work on incorporating more of these into my daily life. Thanks!!


    • SmartChic January 12, 2014 at 4:49 pm - Reply

      Thank you SO much Carol for your comments. I too do a gratitude list before I go to sleep at night. Makes me really wind down and rest and recharge for the night. Thanks for your wisdom and inspiration each day Carol!

  11. Geoff Conn January 2, 2014 at 8:47 am - Reply

    Hi Cynthia. Happy New Year to you my great friend. Another relatable blog post from you. All good stuff here. I especially identify with NO’s 3-4-7-10-20. I guess I am blessed to not sweat small stuff due to my personality 🙂 Easy going, laid back. Not too much gets me angry. If it does, then I pretty much slack it off rather quickly. Not gonna get upset over stuff I can control either. I REALLY love #10. Our society has become so SPEND and not SAVE. Something I took pride in before I got my job here in Maryville is that I had an “emergency fund” to help me get through lean times before I became a full-time employee again. I have always been a SAVE first person. #20 resonates with me too because before I came to Maryville, I had never been out of Des Moines. That was a bit scary. Not the job itself, but the “unknown.” It was a step I needed to take to help me develop into a “New Geoff,” so to speak.

    Always appreciate your encouragements here and on Twitter. All the best to you in 2014.


    • SmartChic January 12, 2014 at 4:48 pm - Reply

      Thank you so much Geoff for your comments! I always appreciate your wisdom. I really like your comments about you saving money for the lean times. I hope everyone reads this and starts putting together an emergency fund. I am very disciplined in saving so I can relate to you! I appreciate YOU!

  12. Cheryl David January 2, 2014 at 10:01 am - Reply

    Whew! I just got really tired reading all of that, because there are so many things I know I need to work on! Seeing them written out really makes them hit home!

    • SmartChic January 12, 2014 at 4:46 pm - Reply

      Hi Cheryl! Thanks for the shout out! I am glad that seeing this list written out hits home for you. Make this a fantastic year for yourself!

  13. Jennifer Radke January 2, 2014 at 11:04 am - Reply

    Great list Cynthia! I tend to be a list maker, but seem to get frustrated with how long the list is and the amount of things that don’t get done by the end of the day. This year I am going to focus on #4 and #5, keeping those lists small and appropriate for the day. Remembering that the list wasn’t created in a day.

    I am also working on a happier and healthier me, so #1, #2 and #8 work well in that category.

    Have a great 2014!

    • SmartChic January 12, 2014 at 4:44 pm - Reply

      Thank you so much Jennifer for your comments on my blog! Sounds like you are focused in doing great things this year! This will be an amazing year!

  14. Karen Jolly January 2, 2014 at 7:18 pm - Reply

    Wonderful post Cynthia! I loved so many of these points but the one that resonated the most was: Doing less multi-tasking and putting more focus on one thing at a time and excelling at it.

    I’ve been such a “multi-tasker” my whole life – it’s really just been a way of life. Now that the kids are grown, its time for me to really hone in on the things I want to accomplish and have some fun taking them one at a time!

    Thank you for this wonderful list.

    Happy New Year!


    • SmartChic January 12, 2014 at 4:41 pm - Reply

      Thank you so much Karen for your comments! You and I are VERY much alike! I am a great multi-tasker, but recently I realized how much better I will be when I really focus on one thing and do it extraordinarily! You will do amazing things in 2014 Karen. I look forward to us getting to know each other better this year!

  15. Giovanni Gaudelli January 3, 2014 at 11:10 am - Reply

    Great post Cynthia! These are all wonderful ideas. The ones I want to put on my “to-accomplish” list are #5, #6, #8, #11 & #20. I want to focus on my health, I want to keep learning and growing… and that involves doing something scary once in a while!

    Thank you so much for being such an inspiration Cynthia. 🙂

    Happy New Year!


    • SmartChic January 12, 2014 at 4:38 pm - Reply

      Thanks so much Giovanni for your awesome comments on my blog. Learning and growing is key to life and I know you will be awesome this year! Thanks for inspiring me each and every day!

  16. Dr. Bruce Guillory January 5, 2014 at 6:23 am - Reply

    Doing random acts of kindness for those I love, and doing the things I am scared of. I have new directions this year that will require overcoming some fears, and I’ve been too selfish at times within my family.

    Those two resonate with me. The exciting thing was there were so many in your list that I do on a regular basis, which lets me know I’m in the game. Always room for improvement though!

    Thanks Cynthia. My best to you!

    • SmartChic January 12, 2014 at 4:36 pm - Reply

      Thank you Bruce for your comments on my blog! This sounds like an exciting year for you and you will break through those fears when you take massive action on what you need to do! That is fantastic that you are doing many of these things on a regular basis. Way to go! Let this year be an amazing year!

  17. Aubrey January 5, 2014 at 10:45 am - Reply

    Another super blog.

    Cynthia has done it again.

    I agree with all 20!

    My individual top three are numbers 8 11 & 6!

    We need to focus on what is important to us all not only at the beginning of a new year but everyday throughout the year.

    A very Happy and Prosperous 2014 to you all make it better than the last!

    • SmartChic January 12, 2014 at 4:34 pm - Reply

      Aubrey, thank you for your feedback on my latest blog. You are correct! We need to focus on what’s important to us every day of the year! Let this be an amazing year for you!

  18. Terri Klass (@TerriKlass) January 5, 2014 at 6:30 pm - Reply

    Great post, Cynthia! I love your list and especially #7- surround yourself with people who inspire us! I am a believer in spending time with only those people who bring joy and goodness into our lives. I get energized by people so I choose wisely.
    Thanks for such and great list! Happy 2014!

    • SmartChic January 12, 2014 at 4:33 pm - Reply

      Thank you SO much Terri for your comments. Yes! Isn’t it amazing how energized we get by spending our time with awesome people? You are definitely someone that inspires me, so thank you!

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