New Year, New YOU?!

Happy 2014 everyone!

Not a big resolution maker myself, I am aware that the start of a new year is a good time to reflect back on the successes and failures of the last 12 months and set goals for yourself going forward. This is very logical to me. But I was particularly disheartened this year with advertisements enticing people to get to the gym and eat right (not that this is new) and people’s facebook messages proclaiming various self-centered goals. Why is the pressure each year to LOOK a certain way instead of BEING a certain way?

I repeat, not big on the resolutions, but I would like to challenge others to join me on a quest to set self-less resolutions. How can I make someone else’s 2014 better?

I am going to start by committing to volunteering. I grew up going to Hebrew school where the idea of tzedakah was impressed upon us. Tzedakah, according to Wikipedia, is “a Hebrew word literally meaning justice or righteousness but commonly used to signify charity… referring to the religious obligation to do what is right and just, which Judaism emphasizes are important parts of living a spiritual life”. In LA, I volunteered with a wonderful organization called Reading Partners but have not replaced that rewarding experience with anything in DC. Want to know why? Same reason you are going to give me: I don’t have the time to volunteer and get to the grocery store to ensure that I eat right, and make time for my family, and work, and get to the gym, etc. etc. And frankly, you might be right. You may not be able to make the time to volunteer on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. I am committed to finding the time, but if that is feasible for you, what are other ways you can help out?

Monetarily? Make a list of issues that are important to you. Animal rights, childhood obesity, the arts, etc. Anything. Then find a charity or non-profit that is committed to helping out with that cause. My husband and I decided to forgo giving each other holiday gifts this year in lieu of making a donation to a charity in the other person’s name. I donated on Tom’s behalf to Give Directly a wonderful organization that removes the middle man and gives your donation directly to a person in need. Tom donated to Partnership for a Healthier America on my behalf. These are just two examples of literally thousands of organizations that need financial help.

How about less-committed time? Look into places where you don’t have to make a weekly commitment. Soup kitchens or helping to clean a park. Can’t run a 5k for charity? Volunteer to help organize the event. Volunteering is also a great activity for the whole family on weekends. Contact your children’s school and find out if they have recommendations of kid-friendly places to help out.

In addition to volunteering, my self-less quest is leading me to stop taking my relationships for granted. Step one: reinstate date night with Tom. Every Thursday. We will NOT make other plans (unless there are mandatory work commitments) and spend time out of our home doing something different. Step two: make more time for my friends. I even drove to NJ last weekend for the day to see a dear friend from Los Angeles who would (randomly) be in my hometown for the weekend. Some call this crazy – driving 3 hours to see a friend for dinner? But 3 hours is a lot shorter than a flight to LA and if I didn’t go, I wouldn’t see her for a much longer time. My friends are important to me so I need to make sure that they know that.

What are other self-less goals you can set for 2014?

Or should we all remain resolution-less and embrace that we are who we are as this pretty spot on (and hilarious) article points out: Got to love British humor!




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