Thursday, January 2, 2014

Word of the Day: RESOLVE

I want to begin my first post of 2014 with a nod to last year.  June 19, 2013, marked the first anniversary of this blog.  As if an anniversary present, it was on that very date that this blog reached 1,000 hits.  On December 18, one day shy of the year-and-a-half mark, this blog crossed the 2,000-hit mark.  In half the time of how long it took to get the first thousand hits, the second thousand hits occurred.  I am truly grateful to all of you!  I am glad you find my little corner of the blogosphere interesting enough to keep coming back.  I hope I will continue to give you reason enough to continue to do so.

A tradition for New Year's Day is making New Year's resolutions, where you resolve to start something you didn't do but should have, or to stop doing something you did but shouldn't have.  Making a resolution can, of course, be done at any time, but the start of a new year has a certain, almost inherent, quality to it that makes it somehow seem appropriate to do so then.

I do not make New Year's resolutions for that very reason (resolutions are for any time).  I often use the joke, when asked what resolutions I am making, that my resolution is to not make any resolution.  (Of course, the irony is always on me because that is a resolution!) 

New Year's resolutions run the gamut from the most popular of losing weight and quitting smoking, to perhaps less common ones like treating family and/or friends better and trying harder at work or on a project.  Most, if not all, of these share a common thread: to do better than before.

Actually, they share another common thread: New Year's resolutions are usually not kept.  It can be equally stated that many people lack will power and doing better is not always easy.  Still, the starting of a new year symbolizes starting anew, a reset, and a new set of possibilities.

One resolution I hear -- more often some years, less often other years -- is to be a nicer person toward others.  On the surface, that sounds as wonderful as it sounds small.  Granted, that may not seem as dramatic as losing weight or quitting smoking, but it is profound ... if you keep that resolution, that is.

Profound, if, each day, you treat someone, whether known to you or a stranger, in a good way.  Perhaps it is something you have done before many times or something you have done once a while; do it more frequently.  Perhaps it is something you have never done before; give it a try.

This is not to say that you should begin forcing help onto others who do not need it.  If someone truly doesn't need your help, then so be it.  Helping only for the sake of helping, as if it is something you can just check off for the day, is not the goal.  Only in extreme circumstances where someone is incapable of making clear choices on his/her own, forced help is neither helpful nor genuine.  The idea here is to make treating others better than you have before the goal.

The scope of how you treat others is not paramount, either.  Some actions are big and drastic, such as saving someone's life; some actions are smaller and more intimate, like giving someone a smile when they've had a dad day.  No bonus points for larger kinds of help.  No loss of points for smaller kinds of help.  Wait a moment ... there are no points involved!  Treating others better is just that.  Period.

Treating others better today, and then tomorrow, and again the day after that and the day after that, and so on, not only covers today.  All of your tomorrows will also be covered, and you will be making the world better than it was.  If enough of us did that, how different the world would be!

Maybe I will make a New Year's resolution of treating others better.  Maybe you will, too.  Happy New Year, dear readers!


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