A New Year’s Resolution: Intentional Communication

by Christa Hines on January 3, 2012

New Year’s Day leads the pack as one of my favorite holidays. I love the idea of a new beginning and a fresh slate. Generally before the start of a new year, I spend a few days reflecting on what went well the previous year and what I’m happy to put behind me. I can then focus on what my intentions will be for the new year. This year, I resolve to be a more conscious communicator. How?

Communicate with intention. It’s so easy to go through life not really considering how we communicate with others. By becoming more conscious of my body language and exploring ways to communicate that are helpful to others, I can express myself in a healthy, more loving and proactive way.

Think before I speak.
How many of us are guilty of this one?! I can’t tell you how many times I open my mouth to say something whether it’s to my husband, a friend or one of my children, and I instantly regret it. We teach our children to recognize social boundaries of when it’s appropriate to say something and when it isn’t. But, many of us can probably relate to jumping in with a comment only to feel that the timing was wrong or thoughtless given the circumstances.

Avoid the vicious cycle of negative talk. It’s important to tread carefully around negative thoughts and gossip. While venting is okay and unavoidable from time to time, I find that it traps me in a cycle of negativity that can be very hard to climb out of. Venting in my journal is a better way to avoid dragging other people into my negative mood and avoid the sinking feeling of disappointment in myself later. Negativity de-motivates and robs my spirit of creative energy and it steals the positive energy of the innocent in my environment!

Listen more, talk less. I learn so much more from people when I listen to their stories and their thoughts. By avoiding the temptation to interrupt people with my own ego-centric comments, I can pay closer attention to what those around me are saying rather than considering my next remark.

This year, I hope you’ll join me as I take each month to explore communication themes, conversation skills and challenges with the goal to help us grow into stronger, more efficient communicators. From internal dialogue to public speaking, a keen awareness of how we present ourselves to the world reverberates in all of our relationships and impacts the image we create in our community. Our relationships with others deeply impacts our overall happiness and our health and well-being. If for no other reason, shouldn’t that be the reason we focus on our communication habits?

Best wishes to you and yours for a prosperous and happy New Year!

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