A Better 2014 In 7 Easy Steps

I’m feeling schmaltzy, folks… So hold on to each other.

imagesThere are lots of articles floating around prepping folks for 2014.  Things like, WORDS TO STOP USING IN 2014 (this one is amazeballs), and THINGS TO LEAVE BEHIND IN 2013 (can’t get enough of this one and this one–some of those are cray-cray). Well, I’m TOTES adding seven more (#favoritenumber) picks for things we should all do to make 2014 the best year ever. Possibly. While I can’t promise that I’ll succeed at all of these, I’m going to promise to try. Maybe you’ll want to try, too.

1. Stop texting so much!  For the love of God, pick up the phone once in a while.  Make the effort to “reach out and touch someone.” Texting is to tell someone you’re on your way, or you’re running 5 minutes late.  Texting is not a way to maintain a relationship. You know how when someone does a less than stellar job at work and you say, “Oh, that Joe.  He’s really phoning it in.”  Well, on the friendship spectrum it should be, “Oh, that Sally.  She’s really texting it in.”  I’m initiating a new group:  Friends Against Ritualized Texting (aka. FART).  Join me, it’ll be a gas!

2. Listen more! Shut up long enough to give someone else a chance to share their thoughts.  You might learn something new and you might be giving someone a needed opportunity to share their feelings. Trust me, there will be plenty of time in the next 365 days for you to run your mouth–give someone else a chance. When you think you have something important to say, wait a second…unless you’re about to say, “Holy Crap!  Watch out for that huge hole in front of you!”  In that case, don’t wait.

3. Hugs!  On the list of life-saving interventions, just behind Penicillin, is hugs! I’m certain of it.  Do you ever see those families where none of the men hug?  They just greet each other with a very business-like handshake, or if they’re feeling particularly sentimental, a quick, one-handed pat to the shoulder?  Uggh.  It’s just so uncomfortable to watch people be so disconnected from each other–especially family members.  I was at a business meeting in New York about a month ago. It was the second face-to-face meeting I’ve had with these folks after a handful of conference calls over the last year.  At the close of the meeting, the person in charge thanked us each for coming and then she hugged me goodbye. I remember walking away thinking I can’t believe she just hugged me.  I’ve never had a business contact that I barely know hug me. How weird.  But then I began to ponder how nice it would be if hugging was the norm.  Hugs are awesome!!!  Period. So why not??? I think each person should be required to set a hugging quota for each day of the year with the goal of exceeding the quota.  If you find you’re short on hugs for the day and need to meet your limit, I’m always here with open arms!

4. Sensitivity counts! Being honest is great. Telling the truth is important. Speaking your mind is your God-given right.  So, in the coming year, try to do all of those things, but… Be nice about it!!  Just because you feel the need to speak your mind and honestly tell someone what you’re thinking, doesn’t mean you have the right to make the recipient of your words feel worthless, stupid, or hated.  Just read any of the comments sections on any Yahoo! article and you’ll understand what I’m talking about.

5. I Love You!  How often do you tell the people in your life that you love them?  I never hang up the phone with one of my sisters, or my parents, or my husband without saying “I love you.”  It’s just part of the closing of the conversation, “Ok. Love you. Bye.”  My mother, morbid as it may seem, drilled that into my head as a kid.  She said, “always say ‘I love you’ so just in case something awful happens after you hang up the phone or walk away you can always say that the last thing you told someone was that you loved them.”  As I get older and see the loss of friends and family, near and far, and sometimes when least expected, I realize you never know when that last time might be. You don’t want to miss your opportunity to simply tell someone that you love that you do.  Sure, your love might be implied or assumed, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to say it and I know it feels pretty awesome to hear it.  So in 2014, be prepared to hear me tell all of you that I love you a lot more!

6. Forgive someone and ask to be forgiven in return! Sometimes we make mistakes. We do things that get us in trouble. We hurt people. Our actions and words sometimes have a life of their own, despite our efforts to rein them in. And often, those things we do to others, end up happening to us in return. Apologizing is an important aspect of making things right–acknowledging what you did wrong and owning it. But take it one step further…ask for forgiveness and truly make amends.  Saying “I’m sorry” isn’t always enough. Seek out what might be required to earn forgiveness.  How many times have you received an apology and said, “ok. thank you.” Then you walked away still not quite able to LET…IT…GO? Let this be the year you lighten your load and do what’s required to help someone else lighten theirs as well.

7. Greetings and Salutations! Speak, Dammit! Greet people! Raise your insulated coffee mug in acknowledgement of passersby! Be civil! Tip your hat! Just say “Hi.” It’s barely a word…it’s just one syllable.  Give it a go.  People may not reply to you, or be able to handle your progressive way of communicating, but would it be so bad to be known as the person who ALWAYS says “good morning”?? I work in an office building with 9 floors and thousands of people.  I ride an elevator, chock full of students, employees, and faculty to the 7th floor everyday.  I walk down the same hall, past the same offices, and see the same faces day in and day out.  I usually try to make eye contact as I pass people, greeting each with a warm smile.  Depending on their demeanor, I might also add a verbal greeting.  But I can’t begin to tell you how many people I see who actively avoid eye contact– who would rather duck into a laboratory, or stare at the floor while passing, than to say hello.  For nearly a decade I’ve worked down the hall from people whose names I don’t even know.  That all changes in 2014.  You’ve heard of Hello, Kitty???  She ain’t got nothin’ on Hello, Nattie!!!

So there you have it, my wonderful followers.  These 7 simple steps might not cure what ails our dysfunctional little world, but I just feel like if we at least give this a try… well, then… 365 days from now we’ll have a lot more to smile about as we look back at 2014!!!


Love you guys (I mean it)!


5 thoughts on “A Better 2014 In 7 Easy Steps

  1. Love these and I love you!

    I wish the phrase, “Just saying’!” would go away. People think that they can insult you or say something hurtful and following it with “just saying’!” or “just kidding!” or “bless your heart!” takes the sting out of the insult or absolves them of what they said. It doesn’t.

    #7 is my favorite. I do that. It’s polite to smile or say hi when your eyes meet someone else’s. It amazes me when my eyes meet someone else’s, who was already stating at me 1st, they don’t smile or say hi back after I do. They either look away or continue to stare. Smile, dammit!

    1. I like to think my list is all about basic communication and common courtesy…and I admit that I’ve fallen short on it in the past few years. Here’s to trying to make amends for that. Happy new year, Jess. I love you, too!

  2. Love all of these except #1. You can get me to stop texting rather than calling when you pry my phone from my cold dead hands. 😉 I absolutely HATE talking on the phone! Can’t we just text? Or email?

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