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Athletic clubs are crowded in January as people commit to better health. Diets commence. People clean out their closets.

I have those goals, as well, as I think about my New Year’s resolutions for 2016. But this year, I’m thinking more deeply about what my resolutions should be. 

Why? Because when I think about 2015, a lot of wonderful things come to mind. But it has also been difficult to witness some of the tragedies happening around the globe, including in my own country.

In the wake of these tragedies, I find myself drawn to both places of comfort where my family and closest friends are and to new places to explore, see other communities and connect to new people and cultures.

 This past year was rich with those experiences, and I resolve to take my learnings forward into 2016 with these New Year’s resolutions:

1) Listen intently.

One of the places I traveled to was Cuba. It is simply fascinating, as were my conversations with the Cuban people; I learned so much and discovered a whole new perspective on the definition of culture. 

2) Be curious. 

What gives young people focus, energy and positivity when their career opportunities are unclear or simply limited? I found words of wisdom in youth everywhere I went — in Cape Town, Haiti, Baltimore and San Fran to name a few. I learned new ways of drawing out their stories, identifying ways our hotels could help. And, my seven nieces and nephews have given me great practice in the 1:1 conversation.  

3) Pack my values everywhere I travel. 

Values -— when shared, acted upon and exchanged — are a universal currency of sorts. We packed meals for the hungry during a conference in Atlanta. I discovered where my values were instilled, too; this year, I joined alums from my alma mater on a spring pilgrimage to Assisi, Italy, the birthplace of St. Francis, who modeled how to embrace peace, the environment and social justice.

4)  Start and end the day in peace, with gratitude and a sense of the sacred. 

Enough said.

I think the lessons I’ve learned while visiting places near and far are quite universal; they connect people across continents. They nurture a sense of peace and understanding. This is one of the reasons we’ve started a collaboration with Peace One Day, a nongovernmental organization driving a movement to engage individuals and organizations to be an influence for peace. This is a bold but most worthy mission.

 Follow me and other travel insiders on LinkedIn at Overheard@Marriott


Written by guest blogger Mari L. Snyder, who is the Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility with Marriott International, Inc. One of the world’s leading hospitality brands, Marriott International, Inc joined the Peace One Day Corporate Coalition in 2015 and have plans to mobilise their network at 4,300 of their properties in 81 countries and territories across the world for Peace Day 2016. This blog post was first published on Mari's Pulse page on LinkedIn.