THE BLOG

Polite and Polished Resolutions

02/03/2015 09:52 am ET | Updated Apr 05, 2015
Paul Bradbury via Getty Images

At book club earlier this month, we were chatting about New Year's resolutions. There were the typical pledges to eat healthier and exercise more. One participant scoffed saying that resolutions never work. I stifled a laugh as I reminded her that our book club was actually a New Year's resolution of mine from two years prior. Still choosing your resolutions for this year? Here are some suggestions towards a politer, more polished you.

Professional Resolutions ~

Find a Mentor. Select someone, other than your boss, who will give you open and honest feedback. Having a mentor allows you to gain perspective and provides access to expertise.
Commitment: 30 minutes once a month, 90 minutes two times a year.
Be a Mentor. You are able to offer perspective and expertise to others. If you are just starting your career, mentor a student. If you are well established, mentor someone who shows potential.
Commitment: 30 minutes once a month, 90 minutes two times a year.
Learn Something New. All careers are ever-changing. Take the time to expand your knowledge base, sharpen your skills or hone your abilities. You can read the latest journal article, listen to a webinar, attend a seminar or take a course.
Commitment: 20 minutes - 1 semester.
Update Your Resume. One never knows what the future holds; a polished and recent resume is a must. This exercise, even when completely comfortable in your current career, affords you the opportunity to step back for a moment and assess your accomplishments.
Commitment: 2 hours, including that 30 minutes of procrastination.
Get Involved. You should be connecting professionally. Join your field's national organization, attend an alumni event, serve on the company's fund drive committee, or sign-up for the office intramural league. Find ways to interact with others in a pseudo-social, yet professional, capacity.
Commitment: 2 hours, weekly practices, monthly meetings.

Personal Resolutions ~

Return an Invitation. You had a great time at their place, but dinner was months ago and time does fly. Don't let any more time pass. Extend that reciprocal invitation. You know you have been meaning to get something on the calendar. No need to wait for your home to be picture perfect or your culinary skills to improve. Entertaining is about enjoying each other's company. Don't delay!
Commitment: 3 minutes to extend the invitation, 1 - 4 hours of hosting.
Connect Off Line. You love to peruse their status updates on line, but just as a diet of only candy leaves you craving a real meal, those updates are meant to tide you over in-between interactions. Whether it is by phone or person, connect - really catch up - with those you care about and who care about you.
Commitment: 20 minute conversation, 2 hour lunch.
Clear Your Clutter. Stuff is stuff. And more stuff is just more stuff. Give away what you do not love and/or use. Less is more. Whether you have clothes you do not wear taking up space in your closet or things you do not use taking up space in your life, now is a good time to clean house. Bonus points for donating all gently used items to an appropriate charity.
Commitment: 30 minutes medicine cabinet, 2 hours closet.
Make a Donation. You need not be a Mega Millions winner to be a philanthropist. Choose one or two charities to support with your time, your energy or your expertise. Each one of us has something we can give to assist others. Do your part to make our world a better place.
Commitment: 2 minutes for an on-line donation, 1 day charity event.
Ask for Help. If you find yourself overwhelmed because you insist on doing it all yourself, ask for help. Martyrdom yields few rewards. It simply is not necessary. From having a family member bring dessert for Sunday dinner to alternating carpool duties with a neighbor, look for ways to streamline your life.
Commitment: 2 minute phone call, 25 minute carpool run.

General Resolutions ~

Say Please and Thank You. It costs nothing to be polite, yet politeness is surprisingly contagious. Add a sincere smile to seal the deal.
Commitment: Seconds.
Look Others in the Eye. Demonstrates your self-confidence as well as a respect for others.
Commitment: Seconds.
Hold Open Doors. Whether it is a building door or elevator door, holding it open so others may pass with ease shows an awareness of those around you and respect for others.
Commitment: Seconds.
Trim Your To-Do List. You are allowed to respectfully refuse invitations, tasks, obligations and requests. Lighten your load so that you can be present for those responsibilities which really require your time.
Commitment: Under a minute if done when obligation arises.
Forgive a Grudge. Anger and resentment are both time consuming and energy draining. Find it in your heart to forgive those who you feel have wronged you. Refocus and channel negative energy into something constructive.
Commitment: Introspection and release.

Not one of these New Year's resolutions is guaranteed to help you lose weight. But you may find that being busy in a positive and polite way improves your quality of life and may even curb your appetite! These New Years' resolutions will make you feel better, make others feel better, and may even be easier to stick with than an exercise regime or diet plan. Happy 2015!