A New Year’s K.I.S.S.

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December 31st is always full of excitement over the promise of the next 12 months. Many of us make elaborate resolutions to effect sudden and extreme changes in the way we live. My list is already jam-packed with an eight-week intensive stress-reduction meditation program, a gluten/dairy/sugar/GMO-free diet, losing 10 pounds and writing a book. It’s easy to see how all the hype of a new year can bring on some anxiety.

Since one of my resolutions is to reduce stress, rather than fret over my New Year’s Eve blog, I decided to K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple, Silly.) Albert Einstein has been attributed with saying, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” So, I turned to my 7-year-old daughter, Erin, and asked what her New Year’s resolutions were. I was astonished by her simple, yet profound, answers.

Change your attitude. The first thing my daughter said was, “I want to change my attitude, my bossiness.” Admittedly, I can see where I would benefit from a change like that, too. Whether your disposition is bossy, or maybe not bossy enough, my takeaway from her statement was the importance of looking inward and honestly assessing whether your attitude needs adjusting to become a better version of yourself.

Communicate better. My daughter’s next resolution is to do a better job explaining to her friends when she’s just joking so their feelings aren’t hurt by mistake. I thought it was pretty insightful that her first resolution focused inward on her own character and her second resolution looked outward at improving her relationships with others. I was also impressed that she knew good relationships need good communication, and that being clear, direct and honest are essential to building trust and strengthening bonds with the people in your life.

Don’t procrastinate. Actually, my daughter’s exact words were, “doing, and not waiting.” When I asked what she meant, she said, “For example, if you say ‘Erin, please put your breakfast dishes in the sink,’ I do it now and not later. Then we’re all happier.” Enough said.

Forgive. I’m confident that the primary person my daughter believes is in dire need of forgiveness is her 9-year-old brother, Andrew. That said, forgiveness is a tough one for all of us. Forgiveness is the act of letting go of the pain, anger and bitterness that lingers after being hurt. Experts say letting go of negative feelings associated with an injury, be it mental or physical, opens up positive space for healing and the ability to move forward in life. Forgiveness can be a slow process of change but it starts simply with recognizing the value of forgiveness and its power to improve your overall health and well-being.

Love. Truth be told, this last resolution comes from Andrew who was not about to let his little sister have all of the glory (Erin, please see above on forgiveness). Andrew loves his family almost as much as he loves playing Minecraft, so spending more time with family tops his list of New Year’s resolutions (playing more Minecraft is the second and last thing on his list). Whether it’s loving family, friends or your own darn self, take my son’s advice and put that at the top of your list.

I hope the simple wisdom from the mouths of my children will inspire you to have the best New Year thus far!

Lauren Blair

About Lauren Blair

Lauren Blair is a partner at Pedersen & Houpt. A member of the firm's Litigation and Dispute Resolution Practice Group, Ms. Blair focuses her litigation practice in the areas of commercial, family law, employment law, and state environmental law. In every area of her practice, she thrives on working closely with clients to develop sound end-game strategies and is tenacious about delivering desired results. As a member of the firm's Labor and Employment Law Practice Group, Ms. Blair also counsels large and small corporate clients on employment law compliance, including on-site training for supervisors and non-supervisory employees and drafting/auditing employment policies, practices and handbooks. She also protects and defends employers against federal, state and local employment discrimination claims, and she's president of Goodman Theatre's Scenemakers Board, a group of young, diverse professionals whose mission is to support the Goodman in audience development, fundraising and membership. Her blog titled “Working It” offers a lawyer’s perspective on issues, trends and hot topics in the business community.