As the new year arrives, we are now well into the traditional annual process of devising our personal resolutions and commitments, all set to commence without question in (early) January. As always, these self-promises appear totally reasonable and achievable to us in our mind’s eye, especially after a big lunch and with our feet up in front of the TV.  But as the cold light of the new year dawns, those extra pounds are somehow inexplicably less likely to shift, the gym seems suddenly so less appealing, or a month without wine, beer or smokes just frankly not realistic.  

So how about aiming for something that really is within our grasp? And also brings a whole range of genuine rewards and proven benefits. How about deciding to be nicer.

The internet is running over with research that shows that people who are positive, and smile more often, are onto a winning strategy. They enjoy better relationships, are more healthy, live longer lives with lower blood pressure and less stress. They have increased success as being more ‘likable’ has been shown to be a significant advantage in business and the workplace.

These happy people are curious about others, they ask questions, and they actually listen to the replies. They look for the funny side, are forgiving, and patient. They don’t take themselves too seriously. They laugh at problems, and seek solutions without pointing fingers or blaming others. They are likely to be self-deprecating, good company and generous.

We don’t have to be nice, or liked, to be successful – but how much we all appreciate those professional strong bosses or colleagues who are also approachable, encouraging, thoughtful, consistent and with a ready smile.

As we move into the new year consider the impact you make. How do you make others feel? Are you concentrating on them, and what they are saying, or just waiting for a chance to say something? Does meeting you make their day?

Resolve to do something that is good for you, and for everyone else too. Smile like you mean it, and be nicer in nineteen.