Where did the year go? If I had a dollar for every time I heard this question asked in the past month, I’d be a wealthy lady! It seems the world is in agreement that time is passing at a breakneck speed and that our lives are becoming more and more complicated and less calm with each year. The thought of sitting down and giving thoughtful consideration to our New Year’s Resolutions seems like a daunting task that requires way too much time and effort. But the truth of the matter is, it is more dire now than ever. If we don’t stop and give ourselves the luxury and benefit of this annual exercise, we are cheating ourselves out of a very important opportunity to clean the slate and begin anew.
While you may have already begun writing your laundry list of resolutions for better health, better budgeting and better productivity in the New Year, we hope you’ll reserve a few spots on your list for better manners in 2013.
1. Smile and be friendly. Resolve to smile and be friendly with everyone you interact with this year. Whether it’s a parent you pass in the hallway at school or the checkout attendant in the grocery store, everyone deserves a little acknowledgement. It is not much effort, but makes such a huge difference.
2. Make a good impression on yourself first. Take the time this year to focus on your health and well-being both physically as well as mentally. Strive to be a bit more organized and efficient so that you can be your most effective self both personally and professionally.
3. Be a good listener. Humans thrive on relationships and connections with others. One way to cultivate and nurture your communications with friends and relatives is to be a good listener. This is the key to all great conversationalists.
4 Choose to be optimistic. We are beginning a new year, a clean slate, an opportunity for complete renewal. Why not choose to proceed into these next twelve months with total and undeniable optimism. Remember a positive and optimistic attitude is most mannerly and assures a successful outcome in anything we endeavor to do.
5. Use your table manners. Many of life’s pleasures and special moments revolve around the table and dining experience. This year, aspire to be a bit more mindful of your table manners. Begin with the most simple of tasks such as refraining from talking with your mouth full of food or putting your elbows on the table. Make sure to sit up straight for good posture and say please and thank you when being served. For goodness sakes, no cell phones at the table!
6. Give thanks and appreciate. We cannot say enough about taking a moment to be thankful and to appreciate what you have. At a time when many are experiencing personal economic turmoil or major life crisis, it is more important than ever to try to find a glimmer of light and to acknowledge what you do have that is positive and encouraging.
7. Take a breath and think before you act. This is so vitally important and can save a lot of heartache and headache. We’ve all heard the expression “put yourself in someone else’s shoes” meaning everything we do has a positive or negative effect on one another. Before you behave in a way that might upset or offend another, take a moment to think about how they might feel and choose to do the right thing.
8. Be courteous and patient. We live in a 24/7, frenetic, automated world where common courtesies and human decency in general are threatening extinction. Do your part to change the tide and make 2013 a year where you are more polite and patient. From the people you stand in line with at Starbucks or share the carpool lane with on your way to work, to the caretakers who watch after your children and your families with whom you share a meal, aspire to be more considerate and a little more tolerant.
9. Be cautious with electronic communications. Show some restraint before you type, text, post or Tweet. Understand that everything you put in writing electronically is permanent and privacy does not exist. Too many people have suffered major consequences due to careless communications. Not thinking before you send an electronic message can ruin a career or sever a personal relationship. Send only positive thoughts, comments or photos electronically. Anything unflattering should be dealt with in person.
10. Don’t be stingy with the magic words. The most commonly used magic words are: please, thank you, excuse me, I’m sorry and you’re welcome. Use these words frequently and without discretion and witness firsthand a transformation from those who hear them. Notice how a few kind words can help brighten someone’s day.