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It’s that time of year. We prepare for Santa’s arrival by asking ourselves what will be the verdict – Naughty or Nice? I think of it as life’s annual performance review. Which box will be checked: Excellent, Satisfactory, or Needs Development?

naughty or niceMany of us want to be in the Nice category, although I know some who proudly excel at the Naughty. Undoubtedly it’s a challenge to stay on the Nice side. Just like Luke Skywalker’s journey to avoid following in his father’s footsteps, it’s a struggle. (With all the Star Wars hype, I couldn’t resist the analogy. Not sorry.)

Identifying with Nice is similar to declaring New Year’s resolutions, which pop up and fade out rather quickly. Few people maintain those resolutions. Why? Well, going on a diet or a visiting a gym day-in and day-out for months on end is not easy. Being Nice is the same way. It’s a consistent and dedicated effort. Sometimes it’s difficult, and other times it’s just downright impossible.

And we’ll fail. Many times. I do. Impatient gestures at the driver in front of me who is texting after the light turned green. A snarky retort to the cashier when I ask for help and she assumes I magically know “Alice” and where I’m supposed to find her. Or taking something out on those closest to me because they’re here and I can.

The good news is that I know people who really do excel at being Nice, who admit their shortcomings and downfalls, and who may stumble but always get up and keep going. Their admittance of being human inspires me to try again each day. I say please and thank you even when I don’t have to. I smile at someone who may look sullen or down. And I am appreciative I have the chance each day to choose if I am Naughty or Nice.

Maybe I’ll always check the Needs Development box under Nice, but that’s okay. It means I’m working toward the right choice.