Thursday, December 27, 2012

Suggestions for New Year's resolutions

"That wasn't nearly as bad as I thought..."
Do something new. The most paralyzing fear is fear of the unknown. Nothing ever turns out to be as hard or as scary as you think and it's incredibly exciting to overcome a fear. You'll get that "I can't believe I did that!" rush.

"It's totally my fault."
Take the blame. People make mistakes. So we blame them for our problems. But we usually share some blame, too. Maybe we didn't provide enough training or foresee a potential problem. Maybe we asked too much, too soon. Take responsibility instead, not in a 'woe is me' way, but in an empowering way. Take responsibility and then focus on being smarter or better or faster or more creative next time.

"You're awesome."
No one receives enough praise. No one. Pick someone who did something well and tell them. Go retroactive too. Saying, "I was just thinking about how you handled that project last year" can make just as positive an impact today as it would have then. Maybe a little more impact, because you still remember what happened a year later. Surprise praise is a gift that costs the giver nothing but is priceless to the recipient.

"Can you help me?"
Asking someone for help instantly recognizes their skills and values and conveys your respect and admiration. That's reason enough to ask someone to help you. The fact you will get the help you need is icing on the achievement cake.

"Can I help you?"
Then flip it around. Many people see asking for help as a sign of weakness so they hesitate. Yet we can all use help. But don't just say, "Is there anything I can help you with?" Most people will automatically say, "No, I'm all right." Be specific. Say, "I've got a few minutes, can I help you finish that?" Offer in a way that feels collaborative, not patronizing or gratuitous. Actually help. You'll make a real difference in someone's life--and you'll take a solid step towards creating a connection with that person.

"I just did something no one else is willing to do."
Pick one thing other people aren't willing to do. Pick something simple. Pick something small. Whatever it is, do it. Instantly you're a little different from the rest of the pack. Then keep going. Every day do one thing no one else is willing to do. After a week you'll be uncommon. After a month, you'll be special. After a year you'll be incredible, and you won't be like anyone else. You'll be you.

"I'm really sorry."
We've all screwed up. We all have things we need to apologize for: Words. Actions. Omissions. Failing to step up, step in, or be supportive. Pick someone you need to apologize to--the more time that's passed between the day it happened and today, the better. But don't follow up your apology with a disclaimer like, "But I was really upset..." or, "I thought you were..." or any statement that in any way places even the tiniest amount of blame back on the other person. Say you're sorry, say why you're sorry, and take all the blame. Then you'll both be in a better place.

"Hi, Mom!"
Your parents love you. They want the best for you. They will always be there for you. They won't be around forever. Call them.

(stolen with major edits from Business Insider)

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