It’s hard to set New Year’s resolutions when you know deep down that little can change. Especially after a tumultuous 2016, many of us are going into 2017 with little hope or excitement. It’s definitely the case for me.
In my last post – 5 Lessons I Learned from 2016 – I reflected on a lot of the mistakes I’ve made personally and we’ve made as a society.
2016 had a good moments, but it also had a lot bad moments. We can let it be a sour point in our personal and collective history, or we can let it be the catalyst for the change we desperately need.
So if you have little or no resolutions, but are looking for some change this year, here are a few that we can adopt together.
1) Let’s Resolve to Listen More
Last year, we didn’t listen. We heard people. We assumed. We labeled. We shouted past each other. Now we enter a new year with more divide and bitterness than ever, against our fellow citizens, and against our neighbors.
This year, listen to someone you disagree with. Really listen. Remove all the labels and broad stereotypes you put on them – you know you have them. I do too. Don’t look for loopholes or flaws in their thinking. Ask clarifying questions. Don’t judge. And more importantly, don’t respond. Let them share their thoughts, and leave it at that.
Then take some time to understand things from their perspective. You don’t have to agree, just understand.
2) Let’s Resolve to Learn More
Last year, we learned what we wanted to learn, not what we needed to learn. From heavy bias to downright fake news, we learned things that already fit our narrative, and ignored or rejected things that didn’t. We created echo chambers for ourselves.
This year, challenge your own worldview. Give up convenience and take the energy to fact-check every bit of news you come across. Read opinions from a different perspective. Listen to stories that are difficult and uncomfortable to hear.
It’s not enough to just know something, we have to know how to determine if it’s true or false, and make the decision to do so.
3) Let’s Resolve to Act More
Last year, we yelled a lot on social media. It takes little effort to engage in cyclical online rants, yet in an effort to shape the world our own views through furious typing, we end up creating more anger and divide.
This year, do something of actual significance. Attend your local city hall meetings. Volunteer in community programs. Donate to a nonprofit. Pick up a piece of trash off the street. Smile at someone. Literally almost anything you do is more productive than a Facebook argument.
If we resolve to change ourselves and how we interact with others, we’ll see the people and the world around use change. 2016 doesn’t have to be the year that went to hell. 2017 doesn’t have to be the hangover as we recover.
[bctt tweet=”Let’s resolve to not just be better people, but to be better people to each other.” username=”stevenlma”]