I’ve often mentioned the HGP, the Holiday Grand Plan which allows me to enjoy the holidays every year without excessive stress. The HGP is part of the GP, the annual Grand Plan which begins with New Year’s Resolutions, moves through spring cleaning, and then has a food focus part before getting to the HGP.

I don’t do the GP every year, but this year I plan to. The month of January, on the GP, is “a month of self” not, we are cautioned, for selfishness, but to clarify our year’s goals for ourselves, to recommit to habits and routines that have to do with taking care of ourselves, and just generally to pay a little attention to what we need in between the hard work of the holidays and the hard work of spring cleaning.

Now, as January moves toward February, we are instructed to spend some time thinking about our relationships.

The GP actually recommends listing all your relationships, determining what priority they have in your life, and putting them on your calendar. This may sound odd, but if you are a busy person, you have probably allowed a friendship to slip away without intending it, just because you kept meaning to get in touch and didn’t.

I have.

Even family members can sort of fall off our radar screen. We assume that our spouses know we care about them and the kids will wait till we get around to them, and understand that we are busy. But that doesn’t reflect how much we really love them.

So, by making sure to pay a bit of attention to your A list people daily and your B list people weekly and so on, you can be sure that you translate those thoughts into action so that the people in your life know that you think about them.

Since I am a working mother with four kids, there was a spell in my life when I just didn’t have much of a social life. I had lots of contact with people at work, had friendly interaction with the ladies at the gym, knew people from church, but I simply didn’t have time to develop friendships. I enjoyed time with my family, and did lots of fun things with my kids. My husband was the center of my grownup relationships, and my daughters were my girlfriends.

But when my daughters grew up and moved away, I realized that I had to make some grownup friends. I put it on my list of goals for the year.

And since then I have put the goal of developing those friendships on my list each year.

Some people make friends more easily and naturally than I do, probably, but organizing it a bit works well for me.

So today I have book club and tomorrow I have lunch with a friend. Class last night and choir practice tonight, and I make a point of connecting with the people in those groups that I really like.

Maybe some day I will be one of those old ladies who has long-time friends and hangs out with them like a teenage girl. They always seem to be having a lot of fun.