Melissa Carter

Melissa Carter: Working on the little things in the new year

Happy New Year! I think this change in calendar is a great tradition because it is good for all of us to imagine a ‘reset’ button on anything in our lives – whether it’s your body, your job, or your love life. There is nothing wrong with wanting to constantly improve your situation, but many make the mistake of only focusing on major changes this time of year. There are plenty of little things I have observed others do that might prove to be the more important things that need an overhaul. Here are a few examples, and forgive me if I step on a few toes:

Walking ahead of me. Regardless of how fast or slow each of us walk, if we are together then we should adjust our pace to match the other’s. Walking ahead of me and simply expecting me to catch up is not an indication I am an equal part of our time together. Have you ever seen a couple walking separately and thought they were doing well?

Not putting your shopping cart back. Most grocery stores have made it very easy to return shopping carts, placing several return stations within the parking lot and just a few paces from your car. If you are one of those people who find even that simple task difficult and leave your shopping cart wherever your car was, then you should work out more if your stamina can’t handle just a few more steps.

What about that chair? I waited for a to-go order at a local restaurant recently, and noticed a couple sitting near me doing the same thing. Once they received their order, neither pushed their chairs back under the table as they left. A small thing, yet in the same vein as the shopping cart. If you don’t place the cart or your chair in the place where you found it, someone else is going to have to do it for you. Knowing that simply makes the guilty rude.

How you treat the wait staff. Speaking of restaurants, you go out to eat so you don’t have to cook or clean up. Somewhere along the way our society went from being appreciative of the ability to relax and eat to feeling superior to the people who serve us our food and drink. A huge turnoff for me is someone who not only disregards a server as they are refilling a drink or bringing plates, but also argues with them about something insignificant. You are paying for the ability to return home to a clean kitchen, not for someone to kiss your ass. The same could be applied to janitors in your office. You don’t have to worry about cleaning up your work area because of these hard-working individuals, so why can’t you speak to them in the same respectful manner you would a colleague or manager?

A new year means a new you, but don’t miss the small ways in which you interact with others in your world. Who knows, maybe paying attention to these little things will lead to the big changes you have in mind for the next 12 months.