I don’t really make New Year’s resolutions – not really. Oh, rather, I don’t make multiple resolutions. I just make one, and I make it over and over again each New Year. I’ve made the same resolution every January 1st for as long as I can remember: this year I will do a better job of forging connections and staying in touch with people.
I feel the need to make a disclaimer here: I’m not horrible at staying in touch with people. But sometimes emails will come my way and go unanswered for far too long or phone calls with my friends just won’t materialize like they should. I don’t mean to get out of touch, but then again, no one ever really does.
So, every January 1st, I commit myself to strengthening my communication with others. And for as long as I’ve been doing it, it’s been working, and I’ve been a little bit better every year at staying connected to the people in my life who mean the most to me. Here are some of my best examples to support this claim:
I think I started this resolution after failing to send Christmas cards for the 10th straight year in a row. So, to give myself a fighting chance, I created “Christmas in July” cards that year, and my friends got cards with pictures of a cartoon Santa in the pool. It was a good start, and every year since then, I’ve managed to send out at least a few Christmas cards – and I actually send them at Christmas time now, too!
- Part of my resolution is about finding the right ways to stay connected. For example, two of my best friends from college live roughly 10 hours away from me. We try to stay in touch by email, but that can be hard. So, every few weeks, we have a conference call just the three of us, and we talk for hours about the important and not-so-important stuff in our lives. Ever since we discovered conference calling, we’ve been much better about staying in touch. I don’t suppose these calls are a direct result of my resolution (after all, I don’t remember if they were my idea or not). But I do believe that my resolution and my commitment to my friends ensure I’m on those calls every time we schedule them. (By the way, if you want to do this with your friends, I recommend googling “free conference” – you’ll find lots of great tools!)
I like to travel –both internationally or domestically, and my resolution challenges me to seek out and take advantage of opportunities to connect when I’m on the road. I try to make sure that when I travel, I either plan my trip specifically to visit friends, or I check out who might be close by to my destination, and I visit them along the way. I did this type of road trip for my 30th birthday a year ago and managed to reconnect with a friend I hadn’t seen in five years. I did it again this past December when traveling to visit my sister for her birthday, and I managed to connect with a high school friend and meet her new son for the first time.
As you can see from my examples, I don’t approach my New Year’s resolution with any specific way to measure it. It’s not like I tell myself, “I will send 137 emails to 137 friends” or “I will visit 10 friends in 10 months.” Some years I’m better at emailing. Some years I’m better at connecting in person or over the phone. And no, I’m not always continuously improving. Sometimes I’m taking two steps forward and one step back (I’m sure some of my friends will attest to that). But I do keep trying!
And for 2014, I’m making the same resolution again, but this time I’m broadening my scope. I’m going to add a little bit to my definition of “connecting” and “staying in touch.” This year I will also do a better job of staying in touch with my true passion – writing, and I will connect with the blogging community more as one of my outlets for sharing this passion with others. So, please keep checking back for more on this blog. It’s part of my yearly resolution now, so that means more regular blog posts will definitely happen – right?!?
Here’s to 2014 and lots more connecting of all kinds in the months ahead!