Resolutions: be good to self, others
This month, thousands of us will go down that well-traveled path of making bold New Year’s resolutions. But surveys show that within two months, if not sooner, we revert to our old habits.
According to a University of Washington study done several years ago,”The keys to making a successful resolution are a person’s confidence that he or she can make the behavior change and the commitment to making that change.” And more encouraging to me was the findings emphasized that resolutions are a process – not a one-time effort.
The study also encouraged taking credit for our successes and not blaming ourselves too much as to stop altogether if we don’t succeed the first time around.
“You get to try again and make changes throughout the year, not just at New Year’s,” the report said.
An article that I ripped on the fly from a magazine several years ago gave the best advice that I’ve run across. Yes, I’m a pack rat. The article placed more emphasis on being good to each other and ourselves in the New Year than being super critical of our failures. When we practice this philosophy, many of the other things just seem to fall into place. Resolutions don’t always have to focus on weight loss, more exercise, less caffeine or smoking.
Though the more traditional resolutions are important, this approach caught my attention. And there’s probably something here that will appeal to both women and men.
- Overtip a good waiter. The reaction might make your day.
- Reread one of your favorite books from childhood and share it with a youngster in your life.
- Decline a request respectively. Instead of overextending yourself, be honest about your limitations and suggest an alternative for the person in need.
- Go for the green by adding plants, flowers and other natural life to your home and office. This affirms that you need special treatment as well as a beautiful environment.
- Catch up on your sleep. Commit to going to bed earlier and allow yourself to sleep in late at least once a week whenever possible.
- Participate in conversations differently. Listen to what another person is saying before you answer. They’ll appreciate your thoughtfulness and thought-out response.
- Treat yourself every once in a while to your favorite ice cream. For a diet-friendly alternative, why not drop in on Sherilyn Henry and her crew at Yippie Yogurt on West Texas Street? They’ll be so pleased to see you.
- Find your own sacred space for peace and introspection, in your home or another place.
- Don’t be afraid to apologize if you’ve wronged someone. Don’t wait another minute to apologize.
- Watch a sunset or sunrise and marvel that you’re part of this wondrous universe.
- Treat yourself as you wish others would treat you. Look in the mirror and give yourself a compliment every day.
- Declare a no-gossip day. Don’t spread it or listen to it. Then follow-up with a no gossip week – until you’ve completely eliminated this bad habit from your life. Do men gossip? Oh, probably not. Right.
- Stretch yourself. Try something new: try a new local restaurant with a unique cuisine, visit a new neighborhood, attend a Harbor Theater performance or attend a Solano Symphony concert. Learn to play golf or play chess.
- Treat a teenager to a fancy outing: a brunch, live theater or the symphony.
- Take out the good china and use it. Your mother may have saved the good china for company, but you deserve the best. And while you’re at it, use those “for show” towels that you only put out for company.
- Remember that it’s better to give than to receive. Buy a small gift and give it to the first friend you see or treat a veteran to lunch.
- Pursue your passion. Decide to do what you love, even if it’s on a part-time basis.
- Practice gratitude by taking time to acknowledge at least three people for their good deeds.
- And if all else fails, “a smile costs nothing, but it gives much. It enriches those who give it. It takes but a moment, but the memory of it sometimes lasts forever,” someone once said.
Mayrene Bates is a trustee on the Solano County Board of Education.
Mayrene Bates is a trustee with the Solano County Board of Education.