The beginning of a new year is a clean slate — a traditional time to reflect on the accomplishments (or, sometimes, the lack thereof) of the past 12 months and to look ahead and resolve to do some things differently and better.

Here are some suggestions for resolutions Weston officials and residents might make for 2013:

Listen. There are some big changes coming. Hot topics are sure to include town facilities, safety in the schools, the role of guns and violence in society, the role and size of the Police Department — and other issues equally as pressing are sure to come to the forefront. These are not easy things on which to reach a consensus, and so really listening to each other and giving thoughtful consideration to the ideas of others is going to be key if Westonites want to accomplish more than just talking about these things.

Be respectful. In both personal and public relationships, Miss Manners was right: Politeness matters. No one listens to or wants to work with or play with a bully, a grouch, or someone who is rude. In order to accomplish just about anything, the wheels of progress are greased with respect and simple good manners.

Get involved. Be it local politics, a new playgroup, school activities, taking a class, joining a book group, or volunteering, simply reaching out to others feels so good and is ultimately what changes the world — even if it’s your own small world. Getting involved in something is the best way to learn. Being an informed citizen makes you a better citizen, and better citizens create better and more caring communities.

Try new things. It’s so hard to break out of our comfort zones and do something completely different from what we’re used to — but that’s how individuals and communities grow. Change can be frightening, but it tends to make us stronger. At the municipal level, change this year may take the form of sidewalks through Weston Center, a new home for the dispatch center, a greater police presence in the schools, or a community farm at the Lachat property. Setting these things in motion takes courage and determination on the part of elected officials, as well as citizens willing to support projects that make Weston a better place to live.

Pay it forward. Doing something good for others without expecting anything in return is never a waste of time. If we resolve to do just one thing more and better this year, this is probably the most important. Resolutions are, after all, all about looking hopefully to the future and determining how to make that future a better place. Acts of selfless kindness, big and small, never fail to do just that.

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