I know it’s corny, but I believe in New Year’s resolutions. There’s something so motivating about the fresh start offered each January that motivates me to aim higher, try harder and do more.

OK, maybe I don’t honor all of my promises perfectly, but I’ve always noticed a big improvement in whatever area I’ve decided to tackle.

So this year, I’m taking on one that runs against human nature: My resolution is to stop participating in gossip.

Over the past few months, I’ve been keenly aware of the negative outcomes that occur when people bad-mouth others behind their backs, and I’ve decided that the habit is truly destructive.

Frequently, I’ll be chatting with someone in the pool and spa business, and listen as they run down a competitor or fellow industry member. If I know the person — and believe in them — it makes me uncomfortable. Conversely, if I know the person and agree with what the gossiper is saying, it’s hard not to join in the attack. There’s something both alluring and poisonous about the bond formed between two people who are putting down a third.

Sometimes I’m unfamiliar with the gossip-victim. If that’s the case, then I have to struggle to remain objective about that person or organization because the gossiper may have a weird ax of their own to grind.

Finally, it seems as if it’s always the same folks who speak ill of others, and that makes me wonder what they say about me when I’m not around to defend myself.

There are many people I admire, both inside and outside the pool and spa industry. Almost all of them have three traits in common: Honesty, respect for others and a generosity of spirit. Those qualities are the anti-gossip. If everyone strove to attain them, our industry, as well as this entire country, would be the better for it.