I know New Year’s eve is still weeks away, but one of my last year’s New Year’s Resolutions was to be better organized – so in that spirit, I’m thinking of what kind of Rules-y resolutions I should make for 2011. Here are a few I’m contemplating:
- Make “easy to be with” the mantra for my marriage. For better or for worse, Rapha has picked up a few tidbits of TR over the years, and his favorite is “easy to be with.” It’s tempting to focus on the “hard to get” part of the Rules equation – but once you’ve got him, you may not keep him unless you give him space, build him up and avoid nagging whenever possible.
- Revisit my birthday and holiday lists. I adore picking out special cards and giving well-chosen gifts to friends and relatives, but when the gift-giving becomes mainly one sided, I’ve decided to take a step back. That may sound a little Grinch-like in this spirit of giving, but the most important gift we can give each other is not material things but an open, loving heart – and when lopsided gift-giving leads to feelings of being taken for granted, then how generous is it really? For example, for years I’ve sent birthday gifts to one relative – his wife, and each of his several children. Recently, it started to feel like a drag…and I couldn’t figure out why. When my birthday came and went without even a card or phone call from this relative, I realized this was a good area to apply a little TR, do a little less, and let the balance of the relationship restore itself.
- In social gatherings, I resolve to stop feeling compelled to engage with unsociable people. Maybe it’s because I live in Malibu, so going out to parties in town often means a long car trip – by the time I arrive, the time investment prompts me to work hard to make conversations flow and bring people out of their shells. No more. If someone is socially challenged and shows zero curiosity in who I am, what I do, are why I’m there….I’m moving on. From now on, when I go out to events, I’m focusing on having fun – not giving succor to the insecure.
- Wear make-up to the office! Even if it’s just mascara and lip gloss. Not because I’m looking to attract male attention – my husband gives me more attention than I can handle – but because it’s part of getting dressed professionally and proving you’re geared up to represent your business in the best light possible. Research shows that women who make up their faces for work tend to be more successful – maybe it’s because those who are conscientious enough to take care of their appearance are naturally conscientious enough to take care of their work, or maybe people respect you more if you appear to take the time to pull yourself together. Regardless, putting your best face forward will help build confidence…and if it gives you a little edge in a competitive work environment, so much the better!
- Give people the benefit of the doubt. It’s hard to stay light & breezy when someone, even a stranger, violates an expectation – be it signaling before changing lanes, or showing up on time for appointments, or failing to meet a deadline. It’s easy to apply snap judgments – that person is rude, or doesn’t care about you, or is lazy, etc. We end up fuming – and possibly snapping – which often invites adverse reactions. For 2011, I’m going to redouble efforts to postpone conclusions until I have all the facts, waiting to ask the simple question: What happened? In cases where I can’t ask the question – e.g., being cut off in traffic – I’ll at least try to entertain the possibility of benign motive speculation (the person didn’t see me, is on their way to the hospital, just heard their wife is leaving them, etc.). It may be Pollyannish – but if it helps me keep that most important Rules accessory in place (the smile) then I’m all for it!
What are some of your hopes and goals for 2011? Are you looking to meet and marry the man of your dreams? Get out of a going-nowhere relationship? Close the deal with your boyfriend? Let me help you make the resolutions that can make next year one of excitement, security, love and peace.