It’s that time of year again when we start the process of remaking ourselves. You know the drill: I’m going to lose 20 pounds, start exercising, quit smoking and/or drinking, or start a life of crime. With the best intentions, we set out to make a lifestyle change, and inevitably time takes its toll and there’s no trace of the resolution 6 months later. Oy vey.
I’m going to try something different this year. Instead of focusing on what I can do for myself, I’m going to set aside time in the new year for a few other people—52 to be exact.
Toward the end of 2014, I wrote a few letters to people who I needed to share a heartfelt message. On one, I had procrastinated so long that it wasn’t easy, but once I started the letter, it flowed deep from my heart and mind.
So many aspects of letters have been lost—crowded out by emails, texts, Facebook messages.
- We don’t see the emotion of the pen. Whether you write in cursive, all caps, or some lousy, illegible script, your pen says something that a keyboard cannot capture.
- We’ve lost the structure of communicating meaning. A letter isn’t utilitarian like most of our communications: setting a time to meet, a recommendation, or alerting your spouse that you’re en route. A letter is thoughtful.
- We’re always wired. A letter has a different cadence. It’s more reflective and not as rushed. Letters take a picture of the writer’s soul and mind and share it with the recipient to interpret.
So, I resolve to write 52 letters in 2015. I’m going to carve out the first hour of every Saturday morning to write these letters and mail them no later than the following Monday evening. I’m going to write these letters at my desk with blue ink and use stationery that is 5 1/2″ by 8 1/2″. Why the detail? If I don’t know exactly what I’m going to do, then I’ll give the resistance an opportunity to creep into becoming my excuse.
I’d love to hear your resolutions. Are you doing something different? If you need a few suggestions, try these:
- Volunteer as a Big Brother or Big Sister
- Mentor someone in your profession
- Make a meal for someone each month
- Plan a big party and celebrate someone that isn’t usually the center of attention
- Periodically give away money ($20 a week / $100 a month)
I bet you have some pretty amazing ideas, but I encourage you to be different and think about someone else this year. Those 20 pounds make you look younger, anyway.
Picture used via creative commons license.