Happy New Year!


Folks often say it with more gusto than they feel. Every one wants to be happy, and too, all of us want fresh, new starts. This week on the “Today” show Matt Lauer reported that the number one New Year’s resolution is to lose weight. The losing weight resolution is quickly followed by stopping smoking, getting money issues in order, and spending more time with the family.

I’ve asked a number of people if they make resolutions and most of them said no. The ones that said “no” said it emphatically. No scientific results to calculate here, but my best guess is the weight came back, a check bounced, and well, siblings are after all siblings. The few friends that said “yes” are all “feel good” types. Each of the examples they gave had nothing to do with weight or money. Simply put, the”feel good, yes” folks want to be better people, period.

What does it mean to be a better person? I guess you have to know yourself pretty well first of all, and too, you have to admit that other folks see what you either don’t want to acknowledge or that you hope remains hidden. It’s the old “Johari Window” exercise. You remember this one: known to self and others; known to others and not self; not known to others but known to self; and not known to self and not known to others. Wow, even writing it sounds like a huge puzzle to put together.

If you asked 5 of your closest friends and/or family members what things you could do to be a better person what do you think they would say? What would their list of “your improvements” look like? I bet you could come up with the list yourself.

It’s the stuff everyone does but no one wants to admit: we’re late; we don’t listen well; we interrupt; we give unsolicited advice; we know everything; we’re slobs; we don’t tell the complete truth; we gossip; we dress funny; we get road rage; we’re impatient; we blame our bosses; we wait for the other person to apologize; we are critical; we are judgmental; we sigh; we don’t trust others; we’re pessimistic; we’re lazy; we are insincere. Thank goodness we don’t do all of this at once. Thank goodness most of the folks that love us overlook the times we miss the mark.

But maybe, just maybe we don’t try to fix any of that junk. Maybe the good news about being a better person is to just continue to do the good stuff we do…just more often. So this new year keep on keeping on: continue to send goofy emails to friends; you’re great at telling someone they look nice, everyone likes your hand written notes, your friends wait for your best joke, keep baking those delicious brownies you love sharing; your good manners show; the way your laughter lifts everyone’s mood; your optimism; your gratitude for a new day; your faith in others. Thanks goodness this stuff happens each and every day. In some small measure it makes up for missing the mark.

Happy New Year!