Etiquette… Your New Year Goal!

Whenever the New Year arrives, it says to me… “Yippie! I’m leaving behind all the terrible stuff I did last year, for a new chance to begin the year with a clean slate.”

For most people, having a clean slate means setting New Year’s resolutions. Do you make them? Perhaps you did at one time, but stopped when you couldn’t stick with them. The key to making your resolutions come true is you must set a plan and then execute it to be successful.  It all boils down to what is known as setting “smart” goals.  S.M.A.R.T. means… your goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Reasonable, and Timely.  If they do not meet all five of these standards, you run the risk of the goal not succeeding.

I used to set New Year resolutions to lose weight, make more money, or clean my office.  Sure these are worthy things to achieve.  However, I’ve now switched my thinking to deeper rooted items.  Items that will truly give me to most “bang for the buck” to improve the quality of my life, to build better relationships, and to create a life of well-being, happiness, and abundance.  It is, of course, through the attitude of etiquette.

Here are my 8 New Year Etiquette Goals for this year and ongoing:

I promise to…

1.   Say “please” and “thank-you” with every request. This means not only with “important people”, but with everyone… your subordinates, co-workers, spouse, family members, close friends.  Without using please, your requests appear more like a command than a polite request.  Without saying thank you, it appears you are not appreciative or grateful.  When it comes to building relationships, to me these are among the top most powerful words to use in all situations.

2.  Be on time for every appointment and event. Whenever a person is late it disrupts the intended flow of the meeting or event.  By being on time it shows your respect and care.  The primary reason I am ever late is at its core because I did not take enough time to think ahead and plan for the traffic and other situations. The biggest tip being tuning in to the traffic report online, on the radio, or television within a few hours of leaving.  It’s amazing when I leave enough time, I am never late.  Also, “I never leave home without it” is the telephone number of where I am headed to call if I am delayed.

3.  Fully stop at every stop sign. I’m getting better at this; to the point I now see how many other people don’t even slow down at a stop sign.  Seriously, think about this.  It’s not only dangerous, but it truly doesn’t gain a thing.  It’s merely a terrible bad habit.

4.  First send a thank-you note for every holiday gift I received by 10 January.  Then, each week throughout the year to send someone a short card or note by regular mail… no emails. It’s not about going green.  It’s about caring enough to take the time to write by hand.  I promise, the responses are well worth the effort—tenfold, at least!

5.  Keep all shared items and areas at home and in the office clean and neat. I admit, I have been known to take a pair of scissors from a drawer and not put them back for my husband or others to use. I’m also terrible at hanging up my clothes when I first take them off.  Keeping my desk and office neat is definitely a lifetime struggle.

6.  Invite someone to lunch or coffee once a month. There are so many friends, co-workers, clients/customers, distant family members, and other acquaintances I’d like to know better.  I will now do it by having lunch or coffee with these individuals, once a month.  For folks far away, a telephone call will surely be a welcome surprise. Tip:  Use Skype or Google Voice for as low as 2 cents a minute for international calls.  There is truly no longer any excuse not to stay in touch with someone you care about.

7.  Make a habit of turning off my cell phone and other electronic devices the moment I enter a meeting, restaurant, theater, museum, or other public place. This one I am actually pretty good at.  I’ve discovered that by leaving my phone permanently on vibrate, I actually feel and hear it well enough in most instances to answer the call.  If I don’t hear it, it meant I was focused on other important matters.  I also check the phone regularly to see if I’ve missed a call.  If find this sure is better than having it ring at an inappropriate time because you forgot to turn it off.

8.  To follow through with things I say I will do.  This especially includes all those passing comments such as:  “I’ll be sure to send it to you.”  “I’ll call you next week.”  “Let’s get together soon.”  I’m keeping a note pad in my purse to make every effort to jot things down when they happen or to send myself an email about what needs to be done.  I no longer can rely on my memory.

QUESTION OF THE MONTH:  How about you? Do some of the above goals resonate with you and are you willing to make some SMART resolutions for yourself this year?

Won’t you begin this year by taking what I am calling the Etiquette “PLEDGE” with me?  The acronym of P.L.E.D.G. E. means…People Leading Everyone to Do Good Everywhere.

Do take “one small step for man” and yourself; and in so doing take “one giant leap for mankind” in making this a better world in which to live.

It’s easy to participate and will produce lifelong benefits:

1.  Write a list of a at least six items you pledge to accomplish this year that will be based on displaying better manners, building better relationships, adhering to good etiquette and civility, and generally transforming yourself into being a better person, for life.

2.  Declare your intentions by posting your list on our blog for everyone to see—especially me—and also place extra copies in visible places… on your desk, on the refrigerator, or wherever you are likely to see it daily.   NOTE:  If you are shy to reveal your true name on the blog, make up a name for yourself.  But when it comes to listing your email address, do use your real one.  Your address will not be shown publically.  Only I will see it for internal purposes and to get your prize to you at the end of the year.  Good luck!

3.  At the end of the year receive a specially selected gift from us as your reward. We’ll revisit the list and if you can say with integrity you stuck to your list and fulfilled at least 50% of your goals listed, we’ll send you a special gift of congratulations…absolutely at no charge.  Admittedly, I tried this once before several years ago.  It failed for a number of reasons, the main one being I inadvertently deleted the primitive tracking system I had when I switched to our current new system.  Thanks to new technology it will be most convenient to properly follow-through this time.

So no excuses… have fun… just DO IT!

Happy New Year!

By the way:  Do not tackle your entire list at once. It will be unrealistic and impossible to manage, and you will become discouraged. Choose one or two items at most each month. As the year progresses, you will make these a habit each month, then add more in subsequent months.  By December you will have built six new habits you didn’t have before that will enhance your life forever.

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