A different kind of New Year’s resolution

Resolutions

How many times have you promised yourself you would lose weight in the new year, or maybe stop smoking? And how many times have your New Year’s resolutions been broken by February 1st or even sooner?

Instead of promising to give up or do something to make yourself feel better, how about making a resolution to make others feel better? If you’ve always wanted to volunteer, find a cause that you can embrace and sign up to make a difference. After all, it’s easier to break a promise to yourself than it is to others who are relying on you for basic needs.

If you love animals, volunteer at an animal shelter or rescue group. For those avid readers, what about signing up with Literacy Volunteers of America? Or, if you like crafts, think about spending time at a nursing home teaching residents how to crochet or knit or whatever it is you are talented at? If you’re musically gifted, you can also play some music for the seniors and maybe show them how to play a simple tune or two.

Doing something for others will also make you feel better about yourself. The rewards of volunteering are not just experienced by the recipients, but by the givers as well.

In an article by Hilary Young, titled Why volunteering is so good for your health, it was stated that people who volunteer say it makes them feel healthier, lowered their stress levels, enriched their lives, and improved their mood and self-esteem. Some of them even reported “that their volunteer work has helped them manage a chronic illness by keeping them active and taking their minds off of their own problems.” Aren’t these some of the results we’re looking for when making those New Year’s resolutions?

Whatever your interests or talents, there is a cause looking for help. People find it easier to give money, which by all means is sorely needed. But it’s getting out there and joining with other people who have the same goals in mind that makes volunteering more meaningful.

Written for The Country Register published across the U.S. and Canada.

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