A Resolution Solution

I write a column for the local weeklies in the greater NLR area. The following is a copy of my New Year’s column.

A New Year is upon us, and that means it’s time to make that list of New Year’s Resolutions. We will pledge to eat less, exercise more, spend less, save more and of course (my favorite), go to church more often. Typically, January is a time to be introspective and explore ways in which we can improve ourselves. Fitness and weight-loss centers love this time of the year, as do writers of motivational and self-help books. Self-improvement is an admirable goal, but this year I’d like for you to consider a different kind of resolution. Instead of looking inward this year, why not reach out?

What if, for 2011, everyone resolved to do something to improve someone else’s life?

Those who are concerned about poverty can resolve to serve lunch in a soup kitchen once a month or offer professional services (medical, accounting, legal, mental health) for free to organizations who help the homeless get back on their feet. If cancer has touched your life, you might commit to running (even if you’re not a runner) in an event to raise money for research. If you have been thinking of opening your home to a foster child, perhaps 2011 can be the year it happens.

Not able to actually get out and do something? You may not be able to travel to Haiti to help the people there, but you can pledge a portion of your income each month to relief aid. You may not be able to drive, but once a week you can call or send a letter to someone who is sick or lonely or grieving. If there is an issue that seems beyond any help you can offer, you can commit to praying about the problem daily.

There is so much good to be done in the world, it’s easy to get caught up in the possibilities and never end up doing anything. Just pick something. Commit and make it happen.

I am going to resolve to design and offer a “healthy meals on the cheap” workshop for low-income families. I am the queen of the cheap and easy meal, and I have long wanted to come up with a way to share this knowledge with those who struggle to feed their families from week to week. This is the year. I’ve put it in print. Now I have to follow through.

For those of you who aren’t able to put your resolutions in the newspaper, you can go to www.resolution11.org and post your commitment online. Tell your friends. Start today. When we help others, we can’t help but be improved ourselves. May 2011 be a blessed year for one and all.

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