It’s a new year, but people still struggle with some of the same old issues around socializing, connecting and communicating. Here are a few “pearls of wisdom” to help you start your year off right!

Pearl One: If your plan is to be more effective at meetings, gatherings and events, a smart way to begin is to implement these three ways to start a conversation.

I used the term “plan” as I hesitate to use the word “resolutions” because we so often feel pressured, stressed and constrained by them –and then we feel frustrated when we don’t achieve them.

Pearl Two: My preferred term is “suggestions.” Carve out some thinking/day-dreaming, drafting time. You can do the next part on a device, in an app or on a spreadsheet; whatever works for you. TIP: Research indicates that writing by hand is kinesthetic; therefore memorable, so get a pad of paper, a pen or pencil and add these categories:

Professional, Personal: Health, Relationships, Hobbies, Financial. (Add more if you like.)

Ask yourself how you would like your life to look in each of these categories? Write it down. Reread and give it some thought. Then, write what you could/would do to make that happen. (Because they’re “suggestions” I didn’t use the word “should”.)

For several years, a focus on my list was about increasing my strength and building my core because osteoporosis runs in both sides of my family. It wasn’t until I spoke for a local networking association and met a trainer in my audience who offered a consulting session that I “got” the message. I went for the session and have been working out with him twice a week for years. It’s been an investment of time, money and energy that is paying off. My bone density increased by 15%! And I’m strong enough to lift my carryon into an overhead bin.

Because I read three print and several online newspapers a day (and hang out with friends, watch TV and go to movies), my energy and book reading time can be limited. I added to my new years’ list that this had to change, and it did in 2017; thanks to Trevor Noah. A friend said that I should listen to his book Born a Crime, not read it, because he’s a standup comic. GREAT advice!

Pearl Three: I went to my local library, updated my library card and signed up for the Libby/Overdrive app, a superb service of most public libraries. I may have to wait for a book I want but I can always find an available audiobook that amuses, educates, inspires, challenges or just simply entertains me. Because I walk 60-90 minutes a day, in seventeen months I’ve “ear read” over 42 fiction, literate non-fiction, memoirs and business books. When a comedian reads his or her book, it is more than entertaining! I giggled every day as I took my 4-5 mile walks, listening to Billy Crystal, Tiffany Haddish and Jim Gaffigan.

…As for losing those five “pesky pounds”…it’s still on my list!

Honored to share some networking for career-building strategies in my latest article, “How To Increase Your Salary, According To The Author of ‘How to Create Your Own Luck.’” featured on Grow from CNBC + Acorns.

About Susan RoAne

Susan RoAne leads a double life as a sought-after professional keynote speaker and a bestselling author. Known as The Mingling Maven®, she gives diverse audiences the required tools, techniques and strategies they need to connect and communicate in today’s global business world. The San Francisco Chronicle says she has a “dynamite sense of humor.” To hire Susan to speak for your company, association or college, 1.415.461.3915