I know some people aren’t really into the whole New Year Resolutions thing, and that’s ok. I happen to like to make them. (In fact, it’s been shown that you are 42% more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down).This year I’m taking a rather focused approach.
This year I want to be smarter about the words that come out of my mouth. Words have meaning and they carry weight. They can build up, and they can tear down. So I’ve made a list of 16 resolutions for 2016 to be more intentional with my words – with my wife, my children, my friends, strangers, and people I disagree with or even dislike. Some are easier than others. Some will require change of more deeply rooted habits.
I won’t be perfect, that’s for sure, but I am going to be intentional. And when I fail at many of these throughout the next year, I will also need to learn to admit it, forgive myself where necessary, ask for forgiveness when necessary, and move on. This isn’t a checklist. If I do all 16 of these things well, it doesn’t make me a good person. BUT…I want to be the kind of person who does these things more naturally.
My 2016 resolutions regarding my speech:
- Remove the word “should” from my vocabulary. It’s shaming language, and generally unhelpful to tell myself or anyone else that they “should” or “shouldn’t” do something.
- When I am in an argument, do not use generalizations such as “always,” “never,” and “every.”
- When someone says something nice to me or does something nice for me, say “thank you.”
- When someone says “thank you” to me respond with “you’re welcome” instead of “no problem” or “of course.”
- Make weekly reflections of my behavior towards others, especially my wife and then say “I’m sorry for…” where necessary.
- Be careful with the words I use when disciplining or encouraging my children. Don’t make bad behavior their identity. Don’t say, “You are naughty.” Instead say, “You were being naughty.” Or simply, “That was naughty.”
- When someone shares something intimate or personal with me, tell them that I really appreciate it, or if appropriate, that it was brave and that I value their vulnerability.
- When I see someone being bullied or picked on, whether online or in person, call it out. Be bold such situations.
- Do not slander or gossip about anyone. Period.
- Similarly, if I am about to say something about someone that I wouldn’t say if he or she were present, question whether if it is wise to say at all.
- Find ways to verbally encourage people in real ways. Even if it seems awkward or out of the blue.
- Be better about remembering conversations with people and check back in with them about a concern or situation they mentioned to you in the past.
- Be more consistent in not saying, “You made me feel ____,” but instead say, “I feel ____ when ____.”
- Use immediacy in the midst of an argument to deescalate a contentious and/or out of hand disagreement.
- Help identify emotions that I and others may be feeling, and also learn to better validate the emotions that people express to me.
- When my pride or feelings are hurt, instead of bottling something up or lashing out in anger, simply state that my feelings have been hurt. Learn to be better at expressing myself and being vulnerable at the exact moments I want to run and hide the most.