It’s almost 2017! I have always loved this time of year. At the stroke of midnight on December 31st, we get a chance to hit the reset button and start some things over. All the bad habits can be put in the past, and we can set out with good intentions and resolutions to be better, do better in the new year.
In 2016 at The Simple Home, we dug deep and talked about our values and our ‘why’. It was easy to say that we wanted to give our clients great service and provide them with a product they loved. But why do we do what we do? What is it that motivates us every day in this company? The answer is: helping people. We want to help make people’s lives and jobs easier. We want to help people live in beautiful/comfortable/functional spaces. We want to help people to be happy. We understand that working in senior living is tough. The hours are long, unexpected things happen constantly, and taking care of people’s daily needs is hard work. But we also know how rewarding it is! We love that we can take a few things off the plates of staff members so that they can spend more time with their residents, and be reminded of their ‘why.’
As I was reading through our notes this week, I realized our values were actually great 2017 resolutions. Below are our four values, with some ideas on how to turn them into actionable resolutions:
1) Make a Difference
I was just watching the Netflix reboot of the 90’s sitcom “Full House”. One of the children had a school project called “One Kid Can Make a Difference.” As he sat there and looked at his choices for what issue to select, he got sad and overwhelmed. “How can one little kid make a difference when our problems are so big?” I think everyone struggles with this thought. Although we all wish we could solve global warming or cure a deadly disease, it’s important to remind ourselves that we can’t solve problems like these overnight. Instead of letting this stop us from taking any action, we need to understand that every small action adds up to big change. Whether it’s financially, emotionally, physically, or spiritually, everyone can help someone or something in even a small way. Take a lonely neighbor out to lunch. Volunteer at a favorite charity. Hold the door open for someone with a heavy load. Buy the person’s coffee behind you in line. Help where you can, no gesture is too small.
2) Show Compassion & Kindness
I find that I struggle with this one most when I am in a busy store, or driving in traffic. Why is the person in front of me at the checkout taking SO long? And why is this guy driving so fast and cutting everyone off?! Then I am reminded of one of my favorite quotes:
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” Ian Maclaren
Maybe the person in front of me in the checkout is having a bad day, and the person driving erratically has an emergency. When I find myself getting angry over these things, I try to remind myself to be kind. We all have days where we’re not at our best, for whatever reason. Show others grace so that you may receive the same when you’re in their shoes.
3) Focus on Positive Experiences
Just like people, even years have their bad days — I think it’s safe to say that 2016 had a handful of them! But there were a lot of good things too. The more we focus on the good, the better we feel, and the more good we bring into the world. I love to watch The Ellen Show or morning shows to see the stories of people doing amazing things or helping make people’s lives better. Seeing a pizza parlor owner giving away free pizza to the homeless, a teacher donating a kidney to a student, or a hunting party adopting the mother and puppies they found in the woods makes you realize there are so many wonderful people the world. ABC News even has a section of their website that is all ‘good news’. Check it out here.
This resolution also includes gratitude. Earlier this month I heard a doctor speak about depression in the elderly, and how she stresses gratitude and being happy for what you have. She tells patients that even when she feels like everything is bad, she can always be thankful for butter (can’t we all?) When things aren’t going how we want them to, it’s important to think about the things that are going right and what we are blessed to have. Some days I think about how lucky I am to have what seem like simple things, such as hot water to shower with or a car that can get me where I need to go.
4) Pursue Progress that Matters
A strange thing happens after we finish school: learning new things every day is no longer a way of life. Yes we may have training for a job, but unless you are a teacher, you are not immersed in that environment hour after hour, day after day. But we don’t have to stop learning new things! The internet has graced us with sites like Lynda.com, Youtube, Skillshare, and many more where we can discover how to do just about anything. From a big goal like mastering a new language to something smaller like making an amazing grilled cheese sandwich, you can find a resource that will show you how. You can even take this learning a step further to help others. Maybe you want to improve your gardening skills? You could then go volunteer to help plant at a local park, or with residents at a senior living community. You can also learn while doing good. One year I wanted to learn more about the building process, so I signed up for a weekend with Habitat for Humanity. I was taught some basics by retired tradesmen, and a house got a few labor hours closer to completion. Whatever you choose, push yourself to do something better.
I hope that 2017 is an incredible year for you all. Whether you commit to resolutions or not, just try be helpful, be kind, be optimistic, and be better. Happy New Year!