Making resolutions to better one’s self often go hand in hand with the start of a new year.
- I will spend more quality time with family and friends
- I will earn a promotion and raise at my job
- I will donate my time and money to those in need
- I will further my education by going back to school or taking classes
- I will spend less and save more
- I will regularly exercise and eat less carbs, fat, sugar, calories, processed foods, etc.
- I will get organized and get rid of the clutter
Most of us likely identify with at least one, if not several, of the goals listed above. But studies show that only 8% (yes, you read that right) actually achieve their New Year’s resolutions. 8%. Why do so many of us fall short when it comes to our annual personal goals?
For starters, there isn’t a full-proof one-size-fits-all system that works, since individuals are uniquely motivated. If there was, New Year’s resolutions wouldn’t be an annual proclamation since we would always succeed at making our wildest dreams come true. Many people need structure and actionable goals to see results. Others achieve success when intentions are set and the action steps are left more undefined.
As we embark on this New Year, let’s consider two key ingredients that contribute to making our aspirations come alive: accountability and paying it forward.
When we declare our resolutions, we are putting that energy out into the universe. Whether you decide to share your goals with a select few or post for the masses via social media, the instant you make your resolutions known, something shifts. No longer are these just some ideas floating around in your head. You are now COMMITTED to improving yourself in some way, and you’ll want to prove it to yourself and others that your dreams can become a reality.
So where do we start? Les Brown, motivational author/speaker, so simply and eloquently said, “Help others achieve their dreams and you will achieve yours.” It may seem counterintuitive to focus on someone else’s goals in order to achieve your own. After all, we lead busy lives. But when we take a moment to look outside ourselves, allow gratitude to wash over as we realize how blessed we are, that is when the true magic happens. Because yes, of course our personal aspirations and passions are important, but there are basic building blocks that people in our community lack, and we are fortunate enough to be able to help them.
The time to help those in need is NOW. Not next week. Not next month. Not just during the holidays. Now. Year round. Because what we give away (our time, money and resources) comes back tenfold. At United Way, we are passionate about creating a stronger community where everyone has access to quality education, sustainable income, good health and stable housing. Learn about our 10 year strategic plan — which grew from aspirations — and how you can get involved to help improve conditions in your own backyard. By leveraging accountability and paying it forward, you might just make your 2016 resolutions come true.