Every year after the New Year’s parties die down, we make the gradual post-holiday adjustment back to our day-to-day lives. But there’s one slight difference between the day-to-day of 2013 and that of 2014. Many of us also fill our notebooks, Facebook pages and smartphone lists with New Year’s resolutions to make the next year even better.
Most people start strong with their resolutions. They go to the gym every day for a week, deep clean the apartment and buy fresh ingredients to make healthy food at home instead of eating out. But they eventually get too busy with everything going on in their lives and stop trying to accomplish them. If you have not accomplished a single resolution in the past, you are not alone. Forbes reports that more than 40 percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, but only 8 percent of those that do actually keep them.
One way to help you stick to your goals is to broaden the impact. Every year, people have very similar and materialistic New Year’s resolutions. They range from getting fit by going to the gym more and eating healthier to saving up some money for a new car. The purpose of all of these resolutions is to better oneself through personal gain.
This year, I suggest you to take a different route.
Instead of making a resolution that is materialistic, focus instead on everything you already have going on. Resolve to appreciate all of the good you have in your life. Rather than strive for more, take a step back.
Here are four selfless resolutions to keep you on track and help others on the way:
1. Call your parents and other family members. Most of us have some family members who really care about us and are always there for us. Whether it is your siblings, cousins, parents, grandparents or family friends, we all have somebody who is there for us and wants to see us do well. Make a point to call these people regularly and update them on the goings on in your life. Don’t forget to ask them about their lives as well. Everyone can benefit from a listener.
2. Go to class. Although you are the ultimate recipient of this resolution, attending class every day is also a way to appreciate what you have and recognize that there are others who are not as fortunate. There are many people in this world that did not have the opportunity to go to college. Instead of bragging about sleeping through class or browsing Pinterest or Facebook for the entire period, try to make an effort to not only physically be in class, but also be there mentally. Don’t waste the opportunity given to you.
For further incentive, it’s wise to remember that when you continuously skip class, you are actually losing money. If you do the math, we pay more than $100 per class each week. Plus, we are only in college for a short time in our lives. Make it a resolution to take some time to appreciate what you have going on in your life currently.
3. Give back to the community. We all know St. Vincent DePaul’s famous question, “What must be done?” What can you do with the extra time you have in your life? DePaul has so many wonderful volunteer opportunities, so make it a goal to join one of them this quarter. Ranging from volunteering with the elderly in nursing homes each week to service immersion trips during winter and spring breaks, there is a myriad of options to suit your interests and availability.
4. Pay attention to the little things. Many of us have a lot happening in our lives, and we may not even have time for two hours a week of volunteering. If you are in that situation, make it a resolution to do one selfless act a day. Whether it is holding the door for somebody, brushing the snow off an elderly person’s car, paying for somebody’s coffee behind you in line or even just sending your loved ones a text telling them you love them, none of these will go to waste.
If you’re feeling extra ambitious this year, don’t just make these resolutions alternatives to your initial list. Make them additions. It’s not wrong to continue trying to lose weight or saving money to buy something you enjoy. Just remember to appreciate what you already had entering the new year and don’t lose sight of others in your life.
Keeping your resolutions
It can be hard to fulfill everything we set out to do, so here are a couple of tips to help you increase your chances of keeping your resolutions for this year.
Š—¢ Tell a friend. Disclosing your resolutions to somebody else will help keep you accountable. Your friend can help remind you to stick to your resolutions and take you to task if you start slipping up.
Š—¢ Write it down. Putting your resolutions down on paper will make them seem more concrete and possible to accomplish. It’ll also serve as a reminder in case you forgot what you pledged on New Year’s Eve.
Š—¢ Don’t get discouraged if you slip up. Remember what your resolutions are and don’t count the number of times you’ve messed up. Forgive yourself if it happens, and then continue moving forward day by day.
Š—¢ Do it with a friend. If you have trouble accomplishing something on your own, ask a friend or roommate to join you. You can encourage each other and help each other out when your motivation wanes.
Get your volunteer on
DePaul has a range of volunteer opportunities and groups you can join to help you follow through on your resolution to give back to the community. Whether they require regular weekly or monthly volunteer hours or attendance at a one-time events, there’s likely one that fits both your schedule and your interests.
DemonTHON – DePaul’s annual dance marathon involves a year of fundraising that culminates in 24 hours of dancing to benefit the young patients of the Lurie Children’s Hospital as well as their families. You can get involved by joining the team that organizes the event or simply fundraise and participate in the dance marathon, which will be held May 16-17 this year. Registration to be a dancer is now open and can be accessed on their website.
Contact: Blair Janis, executive director – firstname.lastname@example.org
DePaul Elderly Care – Part of the DePaul Community Service Association, members of this group participate in weekly activities with the elderly at St. Paul’s, a nursing home for senior citizens. Volunteers play games with the residents and plan and participate in bigger events with them.
Contact: Madison Printen, coordinator – email@example.com
Website: Visit the DePaul Elderly Care (DEC) OrgSync page.
DePaul AIDS Project – Members of this group volunteer each week with their partner organization VIDA/SIDA. Their mission is to inform and educate DePaul students about HIV and AIDS and engage them in service in those communities in Chicago.
Contact: Kathleen Anaza, president – firstname.lastname@example.org
Website: Visit the DePaul AIDS Project OrgSync page.
Hoops and Hopes at the Kelly Hall YMCA – Also part of the DePaul Community Service Association, the volunteers in this group meet at the Kelly Hall YMCA on Chicago’s West Side twice a week. They tutor the kids there, as well as play games and eat dinner with them. The goal is to develop and foster meaningful relationships with the kids.
Contact: Daniel Junk, coordinator – danieljunk75@ gmail.com
Website: Visit the Hoops and Hopes Kelly Hall