I’ve always shrugged off New Year’s resolutions. Mainly because I’m only likely to really change something about myself when backed into a corner. But this year I started thinking of how much I love the holidays and how I hate to see them go. I wondered if I could keep the holiday spirit around a bit longer. That got me thinking. One of the things I think we love so much about the holidays is how it makes us feel to do things for others. We’re not so alone in our little worlds, we look more outward — whether it’s parties or gift giving. I think that’s part of what makes it magical.
So why not resolve to do a few things that help me think of others all year Here are a few I’ve come up with for myself that don’t require a scale. I mean, hey, trying to lose a few extra pounds and stay healthy is a great goal, but it also keeps me focused on just me.
Listen more than I speak.
We all want to be heard. We want to speak up when we need to. But we’ve lost the art of real listening. It means hearing what your friend/husband/child is saying without worrying about what you are going to say next or critiquing what is said. One way to do this is to use Reflective Listening statements: “You feel ______ when _______.” This is simply giving back to the person what they just told you. It makes others feel heard. And when you use this kind of statement, it helps you listen more closely.
Speak life-giving words.
Words have power. So many times we leave things unsaid. I’m going to find someone different every week and tell her the thing I like about her most. And by the way, the people we find hardest to do this for are the ones who need it the most.
Let the good add up.
We usually go to bed each night reflecting on our day only to subtract from ourselves (minus 20 points for letting my son watch too much TV today, minus 15 for burning dinner). But I’m going to try to lie down each night and add up the things I did right. Now this one sounds mostly about me, but I’ve found when I’m willing to give myself grace, I’m more likely to extend it to others as well.
I will fail at these resolutions on any given day, but I’ll get back up and try again. Especially since it doesn’t revolve around my organization or a clean house. Because that, my friend, is a lost cause.