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16 Ways to Be a Better Person This Year

Everyone focuses on losing weight, becoming fitter, or obtaining something as their New Year's resolutions. But, what about finding ways to incorporate greater integrity and kindness into our lives? While I’ve always tried to incorporate integrity into my way of being, I started thinking more about integrity thanks to recent events.

After working tirelessly to sell our house, my husband and I received an offer to purchase the property, so we packed up our things, organized our move, and within nine days began our drive across the country to our new home 2700 miles (4300 kilometers) away. After driving day and night through blizzards, icy roads, and temperatures that plummeted to -10 degrees Fahrenheit (-24 degrees Celsius), we finally made it.

We arrived to find the home and acreage full of junk (I’m not talking about a few things here; so far, we’ve had four dump trucks of garbage hauled away) and filth more befitting of a haunted movie scene than a place to call home. Sometime between the inspection and possession the walls had been destroyed and the attempts at repairs were nothing short of atrocious. The Acton, Ontario-based company selling the property, Eco Tec Environmental Consultants Inc., and its proprietor Doug Clark, seemed fine to take our money without fulfilling the moral and contractual obligations to leave the property clean and vacant. Considering that the fiasco will likely cost us around $5000, as well as plentiful amounts of time and energy, I’ve given the concept of integrity some serious consideration. After all, what makes a person think that it’s okay to pawn their problems onto another person without taking responsibility for them?

I read somewhere that integrity is what you do when no one is looking and I’d certainly agree with that. It seems too easy for many people to hide the problems they’ve caused than to take responsibility for them, or to lie and cheat their way out of a situation rather than choose honesty and integrity. And, let’s face it: we see this approach to life all around us: in the form of unethical corporations, lying and cheating politicians, and in our day-to-day reality.

Perhaps we should make being a better person a goal in 2019. After all, just because we're increasingly seeing the nastiness of people in politics, corporations, and other realms of society doesn't mean we should accept this lack of integrity as normal. So what can we do to be a better person in 2019? While it’s certainly not a comprehensive list, here are some things to get us moving in the right direction:

  1. Don’t make plans you don’t intend to keep. Don’t agree to meet with someone with whom you have no intention of meeting. Or, don’t mislead people about your true feelings. The “let’s do lunch” approach to feigning interest in another human being is downright wrong and misleading.
  2. Be honest with yourself. It’s not possible to be honest with others if we aren’t willing to look at the truth and be honest with ourselves first.
  3. Stop judging others. It’s far too easy to judge others without ever trying to understand their situation or treat them with compassion. Try to be a kinder, gentler you.
  4. Treat your fellow humans with kindness and compassion. I’ve heard so many people say that they like animals more than they like people. I think it’s wonderful to love animals but remember than human beings deserve our respect, kindness, and compassion too.
  5. Stop saying “it’s just business.” The reality is that there are human beings behind every business. It’s not okay to mistreat other people under the guise of savvy business dealings.
  6. Stop blaming others for your problems. Yes, sometimes someone else is at fault in our dealings, but not all the time.
  7. Stop trying to pawn off your responsibilities and problems onto others. We live in the era where “you’re fired” business practices have become popular television and common practices. And, while sometimes people simply aren’t adequately performing their duties, many people simply fire others or pawn off their own responsibilities onto others, which is unacceptable.
  8. Keep your appointments. If you booked an appointment with someone, make your best effort to keep it. If extenuating circumstances prevent you from making the appointment, give the other person the courtesy of a phone call to let them know you can’t make it. Sorry, a text or an e-mail seem insufficient.
  9. Ask yourself if you can truly deliver on promises prior to making them. I have known people who constantly say they’ll do things and never do them. This approach to interacting with others seems disrespectful of others’ time and energy. It’s far better to be up front with people and say “no” than to not fulfill your obligations.
  10. Avoid doing business with people who lack integrity. This item seems fairly self-explanatory.
  11. Avoid making excuses for people who lack integrity. There’s no good excuse for sexism, misogyny, homophobia, racism, or any other form of insufficient integrity or downright hatred of others. It’s not simply “locker room talk” or some other excuse for prejudice. It’s inexcusable.
  12. Speak your truth…with every effort to be caring in your delivery. I’m not talking about spewing hatred here, I’m referring to not misleading people in relationships, lying to them to get the business deal, padding your resume, or some other lie that people make excuses for.
  13. Stop acting superior to others. I can’t believe how often I see people in line at cafes or grocery stores, or some other place, mistreating the cashier or person serving them. No one is superior because they have more money, a different spiritual or religious belief, a different skin color, or some other factor.
  14. Do something good for the planet. We can all improve in the way we treat Mother Nature. Buy in bulk rather than individual packages, stop flushing medications down the toilet into the water supply, recycle more, compost, or find other ways to improve your treatment of the planet that sustains us all.
  15. Give of yourself to others. We’re all here to contribute to people or the planet, not just to take from the planet, during our time here. Rather than asking yourself what you want this year, perhaps ask yourself what you’d like to give this year. Because, let’s face it: we all have room for improvement. We can all strive to be better versions of ourselves in 2019.
  16. Share care and compassion to your community and well beyond its borders. We are truly a Global Village. What happens on the other side of the planet matters just as much as what happens in your backyard so don't set geographical or other limitations on your kindness and relief efforts.

Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM is the publisher of the free e-newsletter World’s Healthiest News, co-founder of BestPlaceinCanada and Scentsational Wellness, and a best-selling and 20-time book author whose works include: The Cultured Cook: Delicious Fermented Foods with Probiotics to Knock Out Inflammation, Boost Gut Health, Lose Weight & Extend Your LifeFollow her work.


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