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By: Risa Burgess

As previously published by the Dallas Area Paralegal Association.

So, how are y’all coming along on that latest round of New Year’s resolutions? It’s March of 2014 – that means you’ve had several months, 3 to be exact, to work toward your resolutions. Are you steaming ahead like a locomotive fueled on Starbucks or stalled on the side of the personal/professional freeway trying to figure out what in the heck happened? Today, Risa Burgess is here to share a new way of looking at those pesky resolutions, regardless of your level of progress…or utter lack thereof. Take a sip of that fabulous beverage and keep reading! 

New Years Clock

Every January, millions of people from all over the globe, including us Paralegals, make New Year’s resolutions. Uh hello, do you remember the resolutions you made this past January 1, 2014? Maybe yes, and maybe no? Another question: are you keeping up with your resolutions or are the resolutions already faded away like the one from 2013 and the ones from the year before and so on?

Well, a few years ago, I made a resolution to NOT HAVE A RESOLUTION. Instead, I think of a yearly word, mantra or slogan to live by.

The first year I thought of this innovative idea, my word of the year was “Organization.” Throughout that year, I organized my house, my life, my career, etc. By the end of that year, my life was organized enough that I knew where everything was located. The following year, it was the year of “Utilization”. Since I now knew where everything was located and available in my life, I was able to utilize what I had in my home and in my life before I went out to purchase or do anything.

The concept of a word, mantra or slogan really works. It is really simple and caters to a new thought every year. Instead of the yearly resolution that is on a high pedestal that quickly fades away, it is a word or thought that resonates with you personally: for your career, for your health, for your love life or whatever is your motivation for that year.

For 2014, my word of choice is “Focus”. I want to focus on the next phase of my career with my new company, focus on my health and make sure I stay fit and prevent myself from getting ill, focus on my house transition project that will take a good part of this year to complete, focus on my wonderful husband and family so they get the attention they deserve in my crazy busy life, plus my focus on my Pro Bono and Community Service responsibilities with DAPA.

Lisa Lynch, 2014 President of the Dallas Area Paralegal Association, has decided on a mantra of “Awareness and Awesomeness”.  Lisa’s goal for 2014 is to have people have awareness about the Dallas Area Paralegal Association, what makes DAPA so awesome, how we as members of this Paralegal association can make our peers and the people in the Dallas area and beyond to be more aware of what we do for our Dallas community including community service and Pro Bono work which is DAPA’s 2014 emphasis of the year.

So now is your time to think about this: What is your word of the year? What word, mantra or slogan do you think of in your head and heart and gut? Let it come to you and think about it, write it down somewhere, and follow through on it for the remainder of 2014.

Life will always have moments of good versus bad, happy versus sad, right versus wrong and so on. Always look on the positive side of life, stay focused on your word, mantra or slogan of the year and carry on. When life throws you a curve ball, and that word, mantra or slogan slips away for a moment, it is okay to pick yourself back up and start all over again. You have an entire year to work on this goal and be successful at it.

Risa Burgess works as a Corporate Paralegal and was the 2014 Pro Bono Chairperson of the Dallas Area Paralegal Association, which is the future host of the 2014 NFPA Convention held scheduled for October of 2014. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Management from Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island, as well as a Certificate of Completion with honors in Paralegal Studies from Tarrant County Community College in Hurst, Texas.  Risa has worked as a legal assistant or paralegal work since January of 2007.  She is currently employed as a Corporate Paralegal with Speed Commerce, Inc., located in Richardson, Texas.


I had the pleasure of reading this post about a month ago and must admit, saying one word to myself to instill a quick, goal-oriented infusion and clearer focus on what is important that day, week or month, has been tremendously helpful. Give it a whirl!

We’ll see you on Friday. Until then, guard those esquires. May your cup and sanity overfloweth, until we meet again.