It happens the same time every year, the last week of December arrives and looming thoughts of how we are going to approach the next 365 days begins to consume our minds.  How can we initiate a better exercise regimen to take off those extra ten pounds?  How do we alleviate ourselves of that unwanted debt to put money aside for our future?  How can we administrate our time more effectively so that we’re not so stressed and overwhelmed day in and day out? These and other weighty questions take up residence in our brain as we prepare to usher in 2012. 

Resolutions, as they are popularly known, are a great inspiration for lighting a fire under our behinds and starting the New Year off on the right foot.  While we know how important it is to take stock of our health and finances (and certainly our stress!), we of course believe there is always extra room for improvement in the manners department.  So while you’re on the treadmill dreaming up ways to save money and manage your time, we encourage you to test out our top 5 Manners Makeover tips over the course of the next twelve months. We promise, you’ll be happy you did!

#1 Be mindful of your digital footprint.  Over the last year, we witnessed many a celebrity who had fallen from grace because of a very unfortunate electronic posting via Twitter or other form of new technology. As we have been conditioned to be conscious of our carbon footprint in the past, it’s time to get serious in the New Year about our digital footprint.  Make sure to think twice before typing your deepest darkest thoughts or posting a questionable photo. If you feel like sharing, better to do it in person. You’ll be less likely to regret it in the morning.

#2 Don’t look a gift horse in the mouthIn an age where celebrity is king and privilege is the norm, in the New Year, it is much more becoming to be gracious and humble than entitled.  If an act of kindness is extended, a gift is given or an offer is presented, don’t blow the gesture by acting foolishly.  Instead, show your appreciation by being respectful, grateful and enthusiastic.  This is guaranteed to bring more rewards in the future.

#3 Brush up on current events.  We are heading into a big year, election year.  Although, we do not want to jam our political positions down anyone’s throat, it is important to keep abreast of what is happening in the world, not only to be able to make interesting party conversation, but also to be more mindful so that we don’t just roll thoughts off the cuff and get ourselves into trouble.  In the New Year, it is much better to engage in intelligent dialogue than to speak without consideration.

#4 Resolve to be more tolerant We are living in a globalized society where it is more necessary now than ever to show tolerance in our daily interactions whether they be in the workplace, our neighborhoods or our communities at large.  In the New Year, we are guaranteed to experience a more peaceful existence if we take the time to be more understanding of others regardless if their opinions, beliefs or backgrounds are similar to our own.  After all, it is our differences and uniqueness that truly make us interesting.

#5 Favor quality over quantityThe British royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton was the epitome of elegance and class and truly set a benchmark for America and the rest of the world.  With all the power at their disposal, it continues to be their grace, humility and charity that shines through. In the New Year, rather than emulate the latest reality television star, it may be wise to be more selective with our role models.  The days of mindless mass consumption have faded, it’s time to put our energies towards more meaningful pursuits. 

Now that we’ve shared with you our top 5 manners makeover tips for 2012, we want to remind you that there are certain manners that shall forever remain timeless and should never be made over.  (1) Treat others the way you would like to be treated. (2) Send a handwritten thank you note for any act of kindness or for a gift. (3) Offer to lend a helping hand to those who are ill or in need of assistance. (4) Never show up to someone’s home empty-handed. (5) Remember the magic words and you’ll always be in good standing: please, thank you, you’re welcome, excuse me and I’m sorry.

Happy New Year!!