Every new year brings a bombardment of "New Year, New You" commercials, advertisements and deals. For a low, low price, you too can change your mind, body and spirit and have the life you've longed for.
Whether or not you actually believe the hype is, of course, up to you.
Yes, it is brave and noble to set (and stick with) long-term new year's resolutions. It is also admirable to include some moderate and easily achievable goals. Below are five personal, five professional, and five overall suggestions. These resolutions can be finished in a matter of moments, a few hours, or perhaps a day or two. Goals completed, resolutions realized. From the 15, pick a few that work for you and help make this the politest year yet!
- 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: three minutes to extend the invitation, one to four hours of hosting.
- Connect offline. You love to peruse their status updates online, but just as a diet of only candy leaves you craving a real meal, those updates are meant to tide you over 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, two-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, two 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 expertise. Each one of us has something we can give to assist others. Do your part to make our world a better place. Commitment: two minutes for an online donation, one-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: two-minute phone call, 25-minute carpool run.
- 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 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, one 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: two 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: two hours, weekly practices, monthly meetings.
- 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. This 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 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 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.
All the best.
Follow Jodi R. R. Smith on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Mannersmith