January is the perfect time to set new year’s resolutions. And while there is nothing wrong with trying to exercise more or eat healthier, we here at StoryCorps are in the human connection business, so naturally, our resolution suggestions are all about personal connection. 

In our modern world, you may already feel hyper-connected through the 24/7 nature of traditional and social media. But some of these channels can amplify divisive opinions, especially political ones, making us feel more isolated and divided. What we’re often missing is more meaningful person-to-person connections, which can expand our sense of community, while reminding us that we have more in common than divides us.

StoryCorps’ One Small Step initiative brings strangers with different political beliefs together for a conversation—not about politics—but to get to know each other as people. We’ve seen first-hand how simply talking face to face to someone with whom you might disagree has the power to bring people and communities together, one conversation at a time. 

So in the spirit of feeling more connected to one another, here are our top five resolution ideas for 2023:

  • Start a Conversation: Maybe it’s with the grocery checker, mail carrier, or a new neighbor. Simply greet them, ask a question, or give them a compliment. Most people will appreciate your effort and be more inclined to chat the next time you see them. Who knows, you may even make a friend.

  • Get Involved: It’s easy to stick with your familiar routine, but what about opening yourself up to a new experience and meeting new people? Sign-up for a class, participate in a One Small Step conversation, or join a club or sports team. Doing something you enjoy is a great way to connect with others.

  • Lean In: People often feel uncomfortable when someone offers an opinion they don’t agree with. But practicing active listening is a great way to build empathy and show someone their perspective matters, even if you don’t necessarily agree with it. Active listening means being fully present in a non-judgmental way for the conversation, asking open-ended questions to encourage further responses, and listening to understand instead of listening just to respond.

  • Activate your Community: Encourage your church, workplace, or any other group you’re a part of to come together for a local cause like holding a food drive for your local homeless shelter or partnering with StoryCorps to create your own One Small Step DIY program. Not only will you connect with people you might not know otherwise, but you’ll feel great bringing people together for a good cause.

  • Get the Word Out: Whatever you do to feel more connected to others, share it with your networks and encourage them to participate. For example, email your friends to let them know where they can donate to your favorite charity or post a badge to your social media channels to inspire others to participate (check out One Small Step social media badges here.)