Do you avoid New Year’s resolutions? Or are you like many of us, who mark the yearly change in calendars with a list of new things to try and the determination to break bad habits once and for all?
No matter when you decide to make a change for the better, we’ve often heard that the road to success starts with setting your goal, breaking it down into small steps and celebrating achievements along the way. This happens to be a great approach to one of the more common New Year’s resolutions: “volunteer more.” Volunteer managers everywhere recommend starting with a small goal, like volunteering once a week or even once a month and building from there. Aligning volunteering with other personal goals and testing the water before jumping right in will help you avoid burning out and giving up.
As we move between progress and setback in confronting the global pandemic, and grapple with the physical and mental upheaval, making a resolution amid so much uncertainty might feel strange. I like the advice from United Way Heart of Florida (Orlando): “Don’t bury that feeling. Claim it, own it and act on it. Healing yourself by helping others is one of the healthiest ways to confront what weighs you down. Don’t forget how you felt during your dark days of the pandemic. Remember, some of your neighbors feel that way all the time. There are so many ways to empower them and shape the future of our community in the process.”
Besides helping meet critical needs, volunteering – just being kind to others – can improve our health, alleviate loneliness and expand our social networks. Compared to a year ago, volunteer opportunities – both in person and virtually – are easier to find, especially after the holidays.
So take that small step toward a better life for yourself and others. Join your local United Way in building thriving communities for a happier 2022.