Andrea Rondeau column: A few New Year’s resolutions

It’s the time when people start deciding they’re going to get in shape next year

It’s the time when people start deciding they’re going to get in shape next year, lose weight, exercise, clean out the closet.

And there’s nothing wrong with any of those resolutions (aside from the fact that most people don’t keep them; though I’d argue there’s some value in making them every year anyway, but I digress).

But here are a few other resolutions you might consider as well.

Try to be a little more kind. Is that thing you posted to social media, or said to your group of friends to be witty and clever really very nice? These days people tend far too often to use the word “nice” as a negative, but it’s really not. There’s nothing wrong with being nice. In fact, I bet a lot of people in your life, and strangers, too, will really appreciate a kind word rather than an effort to be edgy. I bet if you tried increasing your “nice” quotient just once a week it would begin to influence your life in a positive way, and that of those around you.

Try understanding someone else’s point of view. We see this a lot in politics these days — the segregation into strictly enforced camps of which nobody dares reach beyond the borders. It emphasizes our differences rather than the things we share with the people around us.

We all do it. We read or hear something that doesn’t agree with our own opinion and instantly have a negative reaction.

But instead of adhering to that negative feeling and acting on it immediately, try putting it aside and make an effort to understand where the other person is coming from. You won’t always succeed, and not everything deserves to be understood. But trying to bridge our divisions rather than widening them is a worthwhile endeavour. And you may just find out that while you continue to disagree with them in the end, you really don’t dislike them as a person as much as you thought.

Try looking at the bright side. Sarah Simpson even has a column in the Citizen to help you out. But seriously, I know this is one I could do a lot more. Most of us are extremely fortunate, even when it doesn’t feel like it, just by dint of where we live in the world.

It’s easy to focus on the bad things that happen, the things with which we are dissatisfied, the things we don’t have. But most of the time, for most of us, the glass is actually at least half full. If we focus on that instead, our satisfaction with life improves immensely.

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