New Year, New Habits (from

Syndi Seid is a client of mine, and I thought I would share her New Year’s email here. She has a great “tip of the month” you can subscribe to — always something that you can “put into action” to improve your life! — Solitaire
[Tip of the Month,]

Whenever the New Year arrives, it says to me… “Yippie! I’m leaving behind all the terrible stuff I did last year and beginning a new year with a clean slate.”

For me, a clean slate means New Year’s Resolutions. Do you make them? Perhaps you did at one time, but stopped when you couldn’t stick with them. The key is to make a list according to the SMART method… being Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Reasonable, and Timely.

I used to list things such as “lose weight” and “make more money,” yet know I will be contending with these forever… so I don’t bother to list them. Instead, I work on goals and resolutions, some challenging and some mundane, to develop better habits and make me a better person.

Here are my eight New Year resolutions for 2008:

Say “please” and “thank-you” with every request.
This means not only with co-workers, but my spouse, family, and close friends, as well. I should treat the people most important to me as well as strangers.

Be on time for appointments and parties. The primary reason I am ever late is because I do not take enough time to think through and plan for traffic and other situations. When I leave enough time, I am never late.

Wait for the green light at all crosswalks. It amazes me how calm I become when I wait instead of crossing, even when I’m in a hurry. The extra few seconds don’t amount to a hill of beans, compared to losing life or limb, causing other traffic jams, or other disasters.

Twice a week, send someone a card and note by regular mail. Thanks to Send Out Cards, it’s easy to build this habit. To all those I have said, “I’ll be in touch, “ or thought, “I wonder what’s new with so-and-so,” I am now taking action. The responses are well worth the effort—tenfold, at least!

Keep all shared items and areas at home and in the office clean and neat. I admit, I have been known to take a pair of scissors from a drawer and not put them back for my husband or others to use. I am also picking up after myself and cleaning all areas I’ve messed up before leaving the room.

Invite someone to lunch or coffee once a month. There are certain friends, co-workers, distant family members, and other acquaintances I’d like to know better. I will now do it by having lunch or coffee with these individuals, once a month. For folks far away, a telephone call will surely be a welcome surprise.

Make a habit of turning off my cell phone and other electronic devices the moment I enter a meeting, restaurant, theater, museum, or other public place.

Not to talk over or interrupt someone while they are speaking. This, I admit, is my worst offense. I get so eager to share information or ask a question, I forget to remain silent until it is my turn to speak.

How about you? Do some of these goals sound familiar and are you willing to make SMART resolutions for 2008? Here are some suggestions on how to achieve results and receive a reward for doing so:

Make a list of six to twelve items, based on displaying better manners, adhering to good etiquette, and generally transforming yourself into being a better person for life. Display this list in a visible place on your desk, on the refrigerator, or wherever you are likely to see it daily.
Send your list to me at as witness of your firm commitment. We’ll check back in, by the end of 2008, and if you feel you’ve made your goals, I’ll send you a complimentary gift of congratulations!

Do not tackle your entire list at once. It will be unrealistic and impossible to manage, and you will become discouraged. Choose one or two items each month. As the year progresses, you will make these a habit each month, then add more in subsequent months. By December you will have six to twelve new habits ingrained that will enhance your life forever.

Happy Practicing… and Happy New Year!