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What’s Your New Year’s Resolution?

Are you going to make a New Year’s resolution? Will it be about losing weight, changing a habit, taking a course, or any number of other things that would improve your life? Statistically 40% of us will make a resolution, but only 8% will achieve their goal, according to a recent university based research project. Over the years I’d guess that all of us have been members of the 40% club. But by the end of January we’ve slipped into the 8% failed category. I’d like to propose an alternative view on the matter of New Year’s resolutions.

No matter how well intentioned, reasonable, or even noble, most New Year’s resolutions focus on the self. What’s the matter with that? A little body and soul ‘self-improvement’ couldn’t be a bad thing, right? True! But what I want to propose is a New Year’s resolution that is counter-intuitive in nature; i.e., not focused on the self, but others. What I’ve observed over the years is that when a person resolves to do something for somebody else, some cause, an institution or organization, they inevitable keep their resolution throughout the year, and years to come!

When people resolve to look outward from their immediate needs, a whole new world of opportunity is awakened. After years of trying and trying to make very important needed changes on their own, individuals who look ‘outward’ will find themselves with a clearer, life-changing, perspective on life. There’s a bit of irony in that after years of trying so hard, it was really a simple matter of letting go and reaching out that made all the difference.

It’s not about what we can get out of life, but rather what we can give to others that really improves our lives. As we approach the coming year, with equal amounts of anticipation and anxiety, may we be resolutely resolved to reach out to those around us to become more giving and forgiving, compassionate, merciful, loving and kind. That will be the type of resolution that pays great dividends for us and our world 365 days of the year.