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A New Year of Possibilities Starts with Kindness

A new year is upon us and with it a world of possibilities. Many of us make resolutions and set goals — lose weight, advance in our careers, eat healthier, etc. But at the start of 2019, I invited readers to join me in one important quest:

Let’s work toward becoming a little kinder, a little happier, and a little better in our relationships with others.

Now, at the start of a new year: How did we do?

Evaluate and Assess

Facebook - All the Right Reasons Announcement 3Each December, I evaluate and assess what I accomplished in the previous 12 months. I’m also honest with myself and write down what I’d hoped to accomplish, but which I didn’t.

I wrote about my process in a blog post last January. That process includes a tactic I picked up from Benjamin Franklin. As a teenager, Franklin wrote down important things that he wanted to pattern his life after. We think of those as our values. For me, my goals and objectives are closely connected with my personal values.

So we write down our goals, but it’s not enough just to write them down and stuff them in a drawer. Rather, as Franklin did, we must track how we’re doing. Franklin tracked in his notebook how well he did in following one of the 13 virtues he considered to be most important to him. (Incidentally, a more in-depth description of this is included in All the Right Reasons. Not surprisingly, the chapter’s called The Ben Franklin Principle.)

Looking Ahead

Toward the end of 2019, I participated in an important challenge called Commit to You: 90 Days of Health. In addition to writing down my commitment, I recorded it on video and shared it publicly. I committed to living a life more present. To live in the moment rather than dwelling on the past or worrying about the future.

And that’s how we circle back to the invitation at the top of this post. By committing to being more present, I became more aware of how my actions affected those around me. I instantly thought about how I could be a little kinder. Interacting with those I love and care about helped me to become a little happier. All of the above helped me to become a little better in my relationships with others.

But just because we flipped the calendar doesn’t mean we’re done. As we embark on another new year, I ask that we continue to strive for more kindness and happiness in our lives.

As Gary Vaynerchuk, who spoke at the 2019 USANA Live event, wrote on his social media: Kindness is the word of 2020.

All the Right Reasons includes 12 timeless principles for living a life in harmony. Book sales benefit the USANA Foundation to help ensure impoverished children and families reach their fullest potential.

The Ben Franklin Principle

The end of one year and the start of the next is my time to evaluate and assess what I’ve accomplished and what I’ve yet to accomplish.

I believe a goal not written down is merely a wish. Therefore, I try to be very specific about what I want to accomplish by writing down my goals. I actually add them to my phone using the “Notes” feature so I can refer back to what I want to work on and what I want to accomplish.

Ben FranklinThe first principle in my book, All the Right Reasons, is the Ben Franklin Principle.

Something I love about the story of Ben Franklin, a founding father of the United States, is when he was a teenager, he decided to write down important things that he wanted to pattern his life after. We translate those as values.

He wrote 12 things down, and later, added a 13th — humility. He decided he wanted to pursue a life of perfection by following these 13 very important principles. (Franklin’s 13 virtues can be found on page 8 of All the Right Reasons.)

He kept track of how well he did weekly. He picked one value each week. Franklin tracked in his notebook how well he did in following that virtue or that value. He did that throughout his life.

As he reflected late in life, when he was 79 years old — almost 60 years later — he said he never actually obtained perfection when it came to living his individual value system.

But he felt like he was a much better person because he had attempted to hit those values throughout his life.

Identify Your Core Values

I love the Ben Franklin Principle. Identify your core values. What makes you you? What’s your guiding light, your North Star? Do all you can to be perfect in those values you’ve established for yourself.

Although many of us will never hit it — I know I won’t — it gives me something to work toward. To become better and improve my life.

An Invitation for 2019

That’s an invitation I give all of you as we start 2019. Work toward becoming just a little better, a little kinder, a little happier, and a little better in your relationships with others.

And if you do, I believe you’ll find 2019 to be an awesome year.

This and 11 other timeless principles for living a life in harmony can be found in All The Right Reasons. Book sales benefit the USANA True Health Foundation to help ensure impoverished children and families reach their fullest potential.

Photo: Joseph Duplessishttp://www.npg.si.edu/exh/brush/ben.htm, Public Domain, Link