What you do today matters
by MELISSA SNYDER, Banner Lifestyles Writer
Jan 09, 2011 | 1771 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
What would you like to see in 2011? I’d like to see a lot of things, but on the top of my “a lot of things” list would be to see people commit to being better people.

For several years, I’ve been like so many others and have followed the trend of making a New Year’s resolution to work out more, exercise, get fit, eat healthier food and other types of resolutions that centered on the outward appearance. The last couple of years my focus has changed. I want to be a better person this year than I was last year and the year before that and the year before that.

For just a brief moment I am going to look back at what I actually accomplished and what I didn’t. I’m going to reflect on past goals just enough to re-evaluate them. With the answers to the questions, What did I do right? What did I do wrong? Who did I hurt? Who did I help? I’m going to set out to not only do better this new year, but since it’s the beginning of a new decade I’m going to get on track with my projections and do better this decade!

I’m going to start by being a better listener, which isn’t always easy for someone who loves to talk; but with a little self-control I’m going to resist the urge to speak more than I listen. I’m going to ask questions to discover what people are thinking about, how they are feeling and what they care about. I’m going to listen ... with both ears. People really do want to be heard, and it’s true — everyone has a story.

Secondly, I am going to treat everyone with the same dignity I expect to receive. I plan on putting the Golden Rule into practice. In case you haven’t heard of the Golden Rule it is this: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

One more goal in my quest to be a better person in 2011 is to be more empathetic and aware of other people’s situations. I never want to be so busy that I can’t show empathy to others and their circumstances.

Along with empathy I will strive to be more patient. This will take some work since it’s not something I do real well, but thankfully God is not finished working on me yet. I guess you could say I’m a work-in-progress. Being a work-in-progress can be a good thing — it’s a sign God cares enough to want us to improve and that He won’t ever give up on us.

As busy as we get at times, it is easy to get blinded by the grind of life. Often we forget to simply be kind to one another. We forget to say hello. We forget to hold the door open for others. We forget to listen to those who simply need an ear. And yes ... we forget to smile. Can we really be too busy to smile?

Join me on this journey to be a better person in 2011. Let’s start by bringing back the old-fashioned way of doing things by using manners and saying, “Thank you” and “please.” When we are wrong, let’s say, “I’m sorry.”

As toddlers we are taught to say we are sorry. The words seem to flow so easy from little mouths. As we age the words are harder to say and are said less often. Have you ever wondered why with age it becomes so difficult to apologize? Mind boggling how two little words can be so hard to say.

It would be my wish that all of us commit to being better people this year ... this decade. Look for the best qualities of others and look for opportunities to be kind. The actions we take today will help us to be better people tomorrow, next year and in the next decade.