A 2018 poll completed by Marist College found that “being a better person” and “weight loss” share the top spot as the most frequently mentioned resolutions. Other items near the top of the list include exercising more, eating healthier, and getting a better job. That same poll found that 68% of those who made a resolution in 2017, kept at least a part of their commitment. And, both men and women kept their commitments at about the same rate.
As I read the results of this poll, I began to wonder what it means to be a “better person”. Even though it likely means something different for each of us, I thought I’d share what it means to me.
In coming up with my list, I know that I will have to let go of the fact that I’ll fail at times and also accept that I can learn from these failures and not let them keep me from starting each day anew. Also, you’ll notice that I did not call them resolutions or goals. These labels don’t really work for me. I prefer to think of them as intentions. Setting an intention means to set a course of action and then allowing them to take shape and be molded by our thoughts and actions.
Here are four ways I intend to “be a better person” in 2019:
Be Grateful. I will wake up each morning by saying a silent prayer, “Thank you for the gift of another day and I will do my best to make the most of this gift.” It doesn’t mean only being grateful for all of the good things that happen, but also being grateful for failures and setbacks, because they are instruments of change and growth.
Be Loving. I will look for opportunities to welcome feelings of loving kindness toward others throughout the day, especially when my first impulse is not to do so. It’s not about expressing love in a sentimental or reactive way, but instead, a profound feeling of being connected to everyone.
Be Optimistic. I will approach each day with hope and excitement about all of the possibilities. This is not about looking at the world through rose-colored glasses but seeing the world as it is no matter how bad, and choosing to find what is right and good.
Be Wise. I will strive to be open and non-judgmental and to see the world through other people’s eyes. It is not about being right or about making profound statements, but about guiding others to make the best decisions for themselves.
You may have noticed that if you take the first letter of each of these four items, they spell the word GLOW. This was an intentional choice. Not only will this acronym help me remember my intentions, but the word “glow” describes how I want others to perceive me. I want to be a positive influence in the world and help light the way for others. In saying this, I am not implying that I am unique or special. This is something that we all can do. If we want to live in a better world and have happier and healthier lives, it starts from inside each of us.