Saturday, January 1, 2011

Making a Difference in 2011

The other day, I wrote about putting “make a difference” on your bucket list. Today, I want to talk about making it your New Year’s resolution and actually sticking with it.

The first thing you need to do is choose one issue you want to impact and find out one way you can make a difference. Maybe it will lead to other opportunities and maybe you will do something entirely different next year, but this is the one you will commit to this year. For example, maybe you want to help animals, so you will volunteer at an animal shelter.

If you can’t think of a way to help off the top of your head, do an internet search or brainstorm. That means you spend five minutes writing down every possibility you can possibly think of, no matter how stupid. Some questions to consider are what people are currently doing for the issue, what you think sounds like a good solution, and what skills you have that might be relevant. Between those techniques, you should definitely come up with a decent idea.

Next, set a definite goal, and write it down in a calendar or planner. You might want to volunteer twice a month, or spend half an hour a day on advocacy work. To make it even easier to follow, designate those times beforehand. For example, plan on volunteering on the first and third Saturday of every month, or plan on doing your work from 9 to 9:30 pm each night. If you want to volunteer, make sure you find an organization ahead of time and discuss your preferences with them. You can find one on Volunteermatch.org, or by doing an internet search for your city and volunteer interest (e.g. “New York City animal shelters”).

Finally, stick to these goals without compromising for the first month and see how it works. When a month has passed, you will be on your way to creating a habit and you will learn if there are any issues with your ideas.

This should get you on your way to making a difference and sticking to your New Year's resolutions! Post any problems or questions here, and share your goal and mark your progress if you would like!

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