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Mon December 30, 2013

5 New Year's Resolutions From Women To Watch

New Year's resolutions: Sometimes we make them; usually we break them. The annual goals are intended to bring out the best in us — but what if you're already extremely accomplished?

These five women have worked hard to help others, through businesses, innovation and writing. Four of them were speakers at the TEDWomen conference earlier in December in San Francisco (Katrina Alcorn was an attendee).

You might expect their resolutions to be far-reaching, but for 2014, they're hoping to focus and maybe even get a little rest. Here's a taste of what they're doing and their hopes for the new year:

Maya Penn, CEO of Maya's Ideas, is an animator, designer, entrepreneur, philanthropist — and teenager. Her fashion and accessory line is eco-friendly, and part of the proceeds go to local and global charities.

"Probably get more sleep. Because I tend to stay up always working on stuff, purposefully."

Jane Chen is co-founder of Embrace, which has designed a portable baby warmer that mothers can use at home to prevent infant mortality in developing countries.

"This sounds really cheesy, but it's really to continue seeing beauty in the world, in everything I do. There's a lot of suffering that I see in my work ... I see babies dying, I see corrupt doctors out there. But there's so much beauty I see as well, and a lot of that is captured in these mothers who are so selfless, and even if they have nothing, they'll go to any length to save their babies ... I think seeing that, and being very deliberate about seeing the world through that lens drives me to keep doing more."

Rupal Patel, researcher and creator of VocaliD.org, builds custom synthetic voices for people who can no longer speak. She knows the science, but not the business plan just yet.

"To jump in with both feet in this because I'm a researcher, I have a research lab with multiple projects and I hope that there's some indication that this can go somewhere, and if it does, if there is, I need to jump in and not kind of be somewhat in and somewhat out."

Jessica Matthews, CEO of Uncharted Play, is a Harvard Business School student running a company that makes play practical, with a soccer ball and a jump rope that can generate electricity.

"I have a lot of resolutions for my business, but I think, separate from that: To work a little bit less. Just a little bit less. ... It's not just making time for family and friends, it's about making time for myself and saying no to things just a little bit more ... Let's say the next day is my last day; am I comfortable with the time I spent on myself? Finding that balance is something I'm really going to be focusing on in the New Year."

Katrina Alcorn, author of Maxed Out: American Moms on the Brink, has documented how her struggle to balance work and family led to health issues. Lean In helped start the dialogue; Alcorn is hoping to expand it.

"To take every moment I can to be more present and more focused. Check my phone less, check social media less, and be here now."

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