5 Reasons to Make Serving Others Your New Year’s Resolution
It’s that time again—to resolve to do better in the new year. It is an interesting phenomenon that when the calendar rolls over to a new year a lot of us use that time to try (at least for a few days) to start afresh to improve how we live. We could do that any time during the year, but the new year seems to provide fresh motivation to do better.
The truth is most of us have learned that resolutions don’t work. That doesn’t mean we don’t think about doing better in the new year, just that making resolutions will not get the job done. Then why would I choose to do this first blog of 2022 about a resolution to serve others? Call me naïve (it wouldn’t be the first time) but my hope is the early days of January is a time when more people are looking to reset their priorities just because it’s early January and I want to capitalize on that mindset to encourage you to resolve to serve people in need more often and better in 2022.
Most resolutions are inward focused.
I did a little research into New Year’s resolution-making and wasn’t surprised by what I found. Most of them are self-centered and have a failure rate of 80 percent. When I looked at some of the most common New Year’s resolutions, serving others was either totally missing or relegated to a lower priority than other, more self-centered resolutions like losing weight (the #1 resolution year after year) or getting one’s finances in order (consistently in the top 3 each year). Even when I looked at resolutions proposed by a faith-based organization, serving others faired no better. One site did encourage its readers to “find a way to make a difference in someone else’s life and serve a non-profit,” but it was number 21 out of 22 suggested resolutions for the year.
Of the 9 most common New Year’s resolutions, every one is inwardly directed. Clearly, when we think about doing better in a new year, we are focused on ourselves. Doing better means making our own life better, not others’. Unfortunately, this is another piece of evidence in an already compelling case of how self-centered we are. In the interest in transparency, I have to admit that I am no better than anyone else. When I think of doing better, my mind usually goes to my own life. I am convicted. Doing better in 2022 will mean thinking of and doing for others more than myself. Will you join me?
5 reasons to make serving others your New Year’s resolution
When I was researching New Year’s resolutions, I came across one site that promotes serving others. I am disappointed it is not a faith-based site but from a government source—serveminnesota.org. I use their reasons to resolve to serve others this year. The reasons below are theirs, the explanation of each is mine.
- Serving others helps your physical and mental health. I have said this in other blogs. Health professionals agree that serving others makes us healthier physically and mentally. Without going into all the details of this point, suffice it to say hormones that boost our mood are released when we serve others AND hormones that contribute to stress are reduced at the same time.
- Serving others helps us develop new skills. For example, helping low academically performing students improve their reading is good literacy training. Volunteering in a nursing home teaches us the best ways to help aging people do their daily activities.
- Serving others facilitates meeting new people. Not just new people, but people in need. Many of us seldom interact with people in need. Doing so, helps us understand their needs/situations better and enhanced our compassion for them—always a good thing!
- Serving others helps us learn something new. Serving others often stretches us beyond our comfort zone. Occasionally, serving others requires learning a new skill in order to meet their need. When serving is done in the same setting for people with similar needs, learning happens whether or not we are aware of it.
- You will keep this resolution. This is my favorite reason . . . because most resolutions have an 80 percent failure rate. I choose to believe this is the resolution that has the best chance of working because of reasons 1 – 4 above. The benefits of serving others (and there are more than are given in this blog) continue to motivate us the more we do it.
What about it?
Have I convinced you to resolve to serve others more often and better in 2022? Who of us does not yearn for a better year in 2022? Who of us would not like to see the general mood of the country more peaceful, more unselfish, less conflictual, less angry than 2021? Then let us resolve to serve others whenever and wherever we can this year . . . not because it’s a new year but because it’s the right thing to do.
Please take a moment to let me know your thoughts on this blog. Will you include serving others as one of your New Year’s resolutions?