The rush and stress of the holidays can sometimes make us lose our faith in our fellow human beings as they make grabs for sale items, cut us off in traffic or let doors slam in our face. But, the holidays also inspire us to be better, so here are a few simple ways we can all be nicer in the new year.

First, we can all work “please” and “thank you” in more often. It’s easy to forget when you’re in a hurry, but it’s a small change with a big effect. While you’re being more polite, work on saying “no” with respect. If you don’t want to do something, or just plain can’t, a simple “no” is enough. Offer to do something else, but don’t over-explain. And definitely don’t say “yes” and then complain the entire time.

Another easy change is to be kind and generous. Keep snark to yourself, let someone else in line and be supportive of friends and family. Give what you can, either by donating time, talents or money. Put yourself in the other person’s place.

These are difficult to do in our world, but unplug, make face time and downsize. When you’re with someone else, get off your phone. Whether you’re in public or at home. If you spend a lot of your time communicating with coworkers and friends electronically, set aside time to talk to them face-to-face. And, try to reduce your dependence on stuff. You have more time to think of others when you’re not chasing a dollar to buy the next big thing.

Finally, learn how to exit gracefully. When it’s time for a relationship to end, have the courage to do it respectfully and in person. You don’t have to throw a party, but a change in Facebook status is as far from nice as you can get.

By just incorporating a few of these steps, we’ll be able to say “Happy Nice Year” to each other from now on.

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