It’s that fresh and beautiful time when we consider all the possibilities, and our dreams for the new year. You may have already started a new fitness regime or made a list of books to read in 2015. Relationships, though they are a such a valuable component of our lives, are often harder to condense into New Year’s Resolutions.
So what about those of us trying to be good neighbors? How can we create stronger community this year? Here’s a few ideas for New Year’s resolutions for neighbors:
Become a “front yard” person.
Maybe the first step is simply to get outside your house more. But when you do, ditch the backyard for the front porch. Build a snowman or set up the sprinkler in the front yard. (Use your own discretion about which activity makes sense!) Read a book on your front stoop. Or take the time to sweep your steps and driveway. Simply spend more time where your opportunities to interact are greater.
Meet someone new.
Who on your street have you never met? Or don’t know well? Make an extra effort this year to reach out to them. You may have to consider the best way to connect, but it may require just stepping up and knocking on the door. You can do it!
Participate in a new way.
You might resolve to engage your community in a new capacity this year. Consider joining an established group: civic league, local Bible study, neighborhood watch, PTA, or a park committee. Or you may choose to take the lead to organize a block party, trash pick-up, or celebrate a neighbor’s wedding/new baby/graduation/etc. Whatever way you decide to get involved, choose something you enjoy and have fun!
Keep a welcome basket on hand.
If your neighborhood is fairly transit, you can be sure you’ll have a new neighbor this year. Why not make it your resolution to always have a little welcome gift in your closet? You can include take out menus from local delivery places, some nonperishable treats, and bubbles or chalk for kids. Then, you’ll always be prepared to welcome the new folks on the block.
It can be hard to create space for agenda-free listening, but it can be the greatest gift you can offer someone. Maybe for this year, your neighboring resolution is to just listen to your neighbors. Sit down with the chatty senior or ask the talkative kid about their school day. Then, just listen.
Relationships can’t always be measured like the number of times you will actually floss this year. Still, there can be value in evaluating the ways we connect in our communities and considering new leaves to turn over in the new year.
How will you be a better neighbor this year?