Working day to day, I find it easy to get wrapped up in my own little world. Come to work, report the news, ensure the paper gets published, do homework, sleep, etc.
The best part of each new year, though, comes with the opportunity for reflection offered in nearly every conversation and article, movie or party focused on the event. That reflection typically looks inward. I should lose weight. I should be a better X, Y and Z.
This year, though, as reflection takes hold, I encourage you to reflect on those around you. What do you admire in your friends, coworkers and acquaintances? Have you told them those things?
One thing about the new year’s approach that can prove frustrating is that we’re all focused on how we can be better. That’s not necessarily bad, we can all be better in productive ways. But, I fear that resolutions of that kind can breed unhappiness and low self worth. The resolution that you should lose weight can imply simple health goals, or deep-rooted self-esteem issues.
Telling those you know what you already like about them can help ease some of the pressure that comes with New Year’s resolutions.
One way I’m choosing to keep my resolutions positive is to observe the traits of those around me that I admire, then try to emulate that. I’m not going to copy them outright, but I can appreciate and personalize the positive traits of others.
For example, I have a friend who cannot help but look on the bright side of things. In a world full of negativity, that optimism refreshes me each time I’m around her. As I pondered that and admired that trait, I found myself paying more attention to the negative things coming out of my mouth and infesting my thoughts. I truly believe you can train your brain to focus on different things. One resolution of mine this year is to focus on and cultivate optimism.
Another friend of mine has enough passion and vigor to take on the world. Meanwhile, sometimes I just want to take a nap. I admire her for her ability to dive into something 100 percent and set aside distractions. She doesn’t care much what others think — or at least has a knack of not showing it. She marches to the beat of her own drum and follows her heart. (Insert cheesy quote here). As the new year brings new challenges and opportunities, I look forward to tackling projects with the enthusiasm my friend has in her world.
The examples of positive traits in others I wish I had — or at least more of — are endless. Discipline, kindness, empathy and the ability to inspire are all on the list. I’m lucky to have such wonderful role models in my life and look forward to telling them so as often as possible in the new year.