New Year's Resolutions: 10 Tips to a Mannerly 2015

Break your goals up into bite-size pieces; giving yourself daily or monthly deadlines is more manageable and your progress can be evaluated and reshaped as you progress.
12/30/2014 12:36pm ET | Updated March 1, 2015
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  1. Set short-term goals. Break your goals up into bite-size pieces; giving yourself daily or monthly deadlines is more manageable and your progress can be evaluated and reshaped as you progress. Your goal can be as simple as not eating red meat for a day or a week, rather than waking up one morning and proclaiming to become a vegetarian. Failure often comes from lack of knowledge, poor planning, or a weak support system.

  • Quit making excuses for frenemies. It's time to stop pretending you do not notice. Eliminate toxic people who consistently insult you, or offer backhanded compliments that are clearly meant to inflict harm. Let them go, wish them well, set new personal boundaries, and move on. A rich life is filled with a few treasured friends who uplift your spirit and challenge your mind.
  • Get some sleep. Determine a reasonable bedtime schedule and take steps to get your body and mind ready for bed. Lifehacker suggests avoiding caffeine in the evening, moving away from technology at night as the bright light stimulates your brain, adjusting your body temperature in preparation of sleep, and minimizing distractions. According to a recent University of Maryland Medical Center article, it's helpful to practice good "sleep hygiene." Their recommendations include avoiding a late afternoon nap, staying away from spicy and sugary foods before bedtime, and reserving the bed strictly for sleep and a healthy relationship.
  • Create a vision board. Get inspired by constructing a board with your aspirations, goals and the path to accomplishing your desired results. Find pictures that motivate you and let your innovative juices flow. There is no right or wrong way to build your future on paper; put it up on a wall, a screen or the ceiling in your favorite space. Change your board as often as you please -- be a kid again and shoot for the stars.
  • Buy a new wallet. It's an easy and inexpensive investment but worth the effort. Doing so forces you to minimize the clutter that has collected over the past year. You may be surprised at what you find; outdated coupons, old sports or movie ticket stubs, a fortune cookie message, business cards from people you don't remember, and credit cards that should be cut or put safely away in a drawer. Select a new wallet that allows you to streamline your routine.
  • Let go of old wounds once and for all. Holding onto anger or hurt feelings will only hinder your ability to move forward. Don't allow this person to occupy any more time or energy than they have already stolen from your life. Focus your attention on improving your own health, mind, body and soul. Spend your time cultivating relationships that strengthen you, and commit to build a life that is bigger and better than anything you could have previously imagined. Thinking it, and proclaiming it out loud are the first crucial steps. C.S. Lewis says, "There are far better things ahead than any you leave behind." Believe it.
  • Pay it forward. Whether you choose to volunteer your time delivering meals to the elderly in your neighborhood or mentoring an at-risk teen, doing something for someone else will help you build up your own confidence as you live a purposeful life. Buy groceries for the struggling mom behind you in line. Pay for the soldier's meal in the drive through. Schedule hot meals for a friend just out of surgery. Look around and you will find many opportunities to help.
  • Be patient and present. Even when we are doing something we enjoy, we are often somewhere else in our mind thinking about what we need to do next. It's as if we slow down for a second we fear we may miss out on a one-time opportunity. You will. The light in your daughter's eyes when she sees her fourth birthday cake for the first time, sharing a rare conversation with your son who is only home for a few days from college, or making time for a parent who may or may not be with you next holiday season. Make a true effort to listen, process and respond to the person sitting next to you at this very moment.
  • Show grace. Give someone the advantage of a mistake. No one is perfect and there will be times that your friends disappoint you, a family member annoys you or your boss unintentionally embarrasses you in front of a fellow coworker or client. Before jumping into attack mode, look at the person's intention and instead of immediately losing your cool, allow the other person the benefit of the doubt. If you feel it was not a deliberate move, extend a courtesy you would appreciate in a similar position. If it is a routine occurrence, address it in private out of earshot of others.
  • Redefine success. There are many highly successful people walking around with fat bank accounts and big egos with no real friends or connections. Their self-worth is solely defined by the number on their balance sheet, or the number of people who follow them on Facebook. If this sounds familiar, make a point to get your priorities straight. Money does buy creature comforts and a boat load of fancy toys. It also pays the rent, feeds your kids and allows your family to enjoy a decent life. But, when money or pride is your single barometer for happiness, you are always at the mercy of external factors. Be generous with your time and money and it will come back to you tenfold.
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