Of those who do set resolutions (these add to more than 100% because some people set multiple resolutions):
- 34% set resolutions related to money
- 38% set resolutions related to weight
- 47% set resolutions related to self-improvement or education
- 31% set resolutions related to relationships
- The younger you are, the more likely you are to achieve your resolutions
- 39% of those in their twenties achieve their resolutions every year or every other year
- Less than 15% of those over 50 achieve their resolutions every year or every other year*
Those statistics are actually much higher than I imagined them to be — or maybe I was just remembering how long I kept my past resolutions. Resolutions are usually long-term promises to change something that’s an ingrained habit. Long-term promises are harder for some than others.
According to USA.gov, the nation’s official Web portal, Americans commonly resolve every January to:
- Lose weight
- Manage debt/save money
- Get a better job
- Get fit
- Eat right
- Get a better education
- Drink less alcohol
- Quit smoking
- Reduce stress overall and/or at work
- Take a trip
- Volunteer to help others
There are only a few of those resolutions that can be accomplished by anything but establishing a long-term habit — that should last a lifetime. And don’t misunderstand me, accomplishing any or all of those resolutions will greatly improve your life. All I’m suggesting is that instead of setting yourself up for failure on January 1, with a lot of ill-thought-out promises, that you try some of these ways to change the world around you — one person at a time. Remember this quote by author Albert Pine: “What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal.”
Take 30 seconds to change the world:
Smile at a stranger.
Hug someone you know.
Pick up a piece of trash and throw it away.
Let someone else cut in front of you in the grocery line or in traffic.
Tape the exact change for a soda to a vending machine.
Pray and/or pay for the person behind you at a drive-through.
Prepare a sack lunch or buy fast-food gift cards to give to homeless people
Sign up on the national organ-donor registry.
Feed the birds.
Apologize, even if you really don’t want to.
Physically touch a lonely person at church—make it a habit.
Hold the door for someone and let them go first.
“Report” an employee’s good job or kindness to their manager.
Take a few minutes to change the world:
Teach a kid to fly a kite — spend time playing.
Write a thoughtful, endearing and sincere letter.
Donate blood and/or help organize a blood drive at your church.
Write a thank-you letter to a member of the armed forces who is currently stationed overseas or visit a local VA hospital.
Shovel snow for someone.
Do someone else’s chores.
Walk your friend’s dog.
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