The Single Word to Make Your New Year Better

Recently, my house was bugging me. Actually, it was just a part of my house. A relatively small part.

The closet. The thing was cluttered with stuff…kind of.

Now, some readers may recall that the Maloney family was involved in a move just a few months ago. You also might recall it was a biiiiiiit of a challenge:

In preparation for that move I’d done plenty of cleaning-out….closets included.

The problem this time? It wasn’t that the closet was full of stuff. It was full of stuff that used to work for me, but no longer did. Stuff that I’d been holding onto for no apparent reason.

So I did what those of you who know me might expect. I attacked it. Got ‘er done. Created my own mountain.

The pile was filled with items I’d kept for a loooong time…giving myself good excuses like nostalgia, fear of letting go, a sense that I should. But that stuff didn’t work for me anymore. Some things, with tags still on them, never did.

Perhaps most importantly, I didn’t feel good in any of it. And so creating the mound, it turned out, wasn’t another simple errand.

It was a release. A release of things that no longer served me.

And here’s the crazy thing. Though admittedly a bit scary, releasing it felt…good. In fact, I realized, releasing is almost always the first step in getting to the next, better thing.

Which is why, if we truly want today and beyond to be as good as they can be, we must release.

What do we release, exactly? Behold…

#1: Release your out-of-date stuff

I mean really release it. Check yourself on why you might hold on to something. Then check your reasoning in the event you’re just clinging to some old need or value that isn’t real. And for goodness sake, release anything that doesn’t feel good.

Life’s too short to live in things that feel crappy.

#2: Release your out-of-date people

There are times for certain friends, certain groups and certain relationships. Despite the fact that they no longer serve us, we often hold onto them – cling perhaps – for reasons that might not make sense if we want to be happy.

Yes, there was a time for them. But if you find yourself dreading certain gatherings or cringing at certain names as they comes across your phone, the time might be now to release. You can do it nicely. And yes, it might hurt. But it must be done.

Life’s too short to hang with people who make you feel crappy.

#3: Release your out-of-date beliefs

There was a time when believing that I had to be #1 at everything served me, pushed me through some big challenges. But over time that belief eroded my happiness, impacted my self-worth. So it needed to go.

Pay attention to the beliefs you hear in your head…the ones that drive you to engage with certain people and projects (or continue to do so), to take action or not, to feel certain things about yourself.

They could be about anything…the kind of job you’re supposed to have or the kind of food you (or everyone) is supposed to eat or the kind of person you’re supposed to be (or look like). Chances are many, many of them came when you were growing up, perhaps when you were itty bitty. If those beliefs don’t serve you any more, it’s time to release them.

Yes, you can release them. Because beliefs aren’t facts. You just thought they were.

Life’s too short to believe things that make you feel crappy.

#4 Release the noise

All of that social media, updated news and app-related mumbo jumbo might just come at you at such a steady stream that it’s keeping you from the stuff that really matters (at best)…or stressing you out (worse). We tell ourselves lots of reasons as to why we need the constant, unrelenting noise. And, let’s face it, many of those reasons probably aren’t true.

Change the frequency of or types of noise you let in your head. (This includes the book you thought you must finish even though you hated it back on page 15. You’re welcome.)

Life’s too short to endure noise that makes you feel crappy.


I do understand there are things we cannot release in life. Things are happening in our jobs and with our families and in the country that we cannot completely control.


That doesn’t mean we have no power to release parts of them. It doesn’t mean we can’t change them somewhat or address them differently to make them better. It doesn’t mean we can’t change the way we choose to think about them.

We do have choices in life. In fact, we are the only people who have complete and total power over ourselves.

Think differently? Perhaps that’s just another idea that needs to be…released.


Ready to make things better? Happier? Figure out what’s not serving you. Release it.

And see how much better life feels.

Happy New Year.


20 responses to “The Single Word to Make Your New Year Better”

  1. Ruth Gmehlin Avatar
    Ruth Gmehlin

    Great blog post. Well written and well timed! Thank you!

    1. Deirdre Maloney Avatar

      Thanks Ruth…appreciate it and hope all is going splendidly for you these days!

  2. Oz Avatar

    Very well written! Thanks Deirdre!

    1. Deirdre Maloney Avatar

      Thanks Oz…so appreciate that you gave this a read!

  3. Joy Wolf Avatar
    Joy Wolf

    Once again RIGHT ON! Sage words to ponder and act on.

  4. Sherry tobey Avatar
    Sherry tobey

    Words to live by! Reducing clutter is definately therapeutic! Thank you for another great article.

    1. Deirdre Maloney Avatar

      Thanks to Sherry and Joy – you ladies are so great to take the time to post!

  5. Tamara Avatar

    Loved this and shared with my team. Thank you and perfect timing as I embark on a move myself!

    1. Deirdre Maloney Avatar

      Thanks for sharing this with your team, Tamara…would love to know how you all go about releasing this year!

  6. Samantha Goldstein Avatar
    Samantha Goldstein

    Love it and you! My mantra for this year now!

    1. Deirdre Maloney Avatar

      Thanks Sam…and love you back!

  7. Patty Avatar

    Thank you for your honesty and sharing. Release is a good way of life – also known as letting go. Not easy but definitely worthwhile and a source of peace.

    1. Deirdre Maloney Avatar

      Excellent point, Patty…letting go is indeed the same name of this happiness game!

  8. Rod Bourn Avatar
    Rod Bourn

    Good stuff D!

    And then breathe after you release!

  9. Deirdre Maloney Avatar

    Thanks so much to all for your great replies…so glad this struck a nerve. Let’s all agree to release (and yes, Rod, to breathing afterwards)…and to super new things in the year to come!

  10. Cheri Friedman Avatar
    Cheri Friedman

    I know where you’re coming from Deirdre. In my jobs, I tend to move every 3-4 years. I take that time of packing to see what I don’t use or need anymore. If in usable condition, they get donated. Then I do it one more time when I move to my new job/location/etc. There is something fortifying in seeing that items that were holding me back/taking up space/or just being clutter gets cleaned out on a semi-regular basis. I also try to do this in my work life, and have found I am more able to move forward to get the things done that need to be done. Thank you for bringing this to the forefront of everyone’s minds. May everyone who sees this have a Healthy and Happy New Year.

  11. Sallt Avatar

    Very timely for me – just moved to a smaller but lovely home and definitely need to release a multitude of stuff!
    Happy New Year!

  12. Victoria Cabot Avatar
    Victoria Cabot

    Oh boy, do I have some work to do when I get home. I’m actually looking forward to it after your thoughtfully considered words. Have a happy New Year.

  13. Jenn Yebba Avatar
    Jenn Yebba

    I actually just released the facebook app from my phone and only check it if I happen to be using my computer. I love being free from that social media pull.

    1. Deirdre Maloney Avatar

      Gosh Jenn, that is really wise! I may just do the same thing!