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Re-examine your resolutions, have a selfless experience

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Brooke volunteers at the Montgomery County Animal Shelter in the Woodlands. Photo by: Roxanne McDaniel

It’s that time of the year again – the time when you reassess the promises you made to yourself in January and profess to the world: “This year, this year things will be different! This year, I will…” But somehow, these mostly empty promises have ended up in the back burner of your daily life. Somehow, these well-intentioned but mostly vacuous semi-goals have gotten forgotten in the mundane.

Sure losing weight, being more productive and saving more money would be nice, but then again, wouldn’t you just need a new you in order to achieve that?

Here is my suggestion: Do become a “new” you. And how do you do that? Well, you have to start with the desire to be wholly, completely different than what you normally are. You begin with the desire to make someone else, someone not in your immediate family, happy. Someone not connected to you, someone in need, someone you haven’t even met yet.

I say this because, except for mothers or fathers, often all we think about is ourselves. We go on through life thinking about what newest gadget or purse or shoes we can buy for ourselves, what can make me happy or how can I get more. Few people in this world actually do more for others than they do for themselves. Here is how we can fundamentally begin to change ourselves – we can choose to give our time, however limited it may be, to others.

I have always loved volunteering. It is a seemingly selfless experience where you give your precious time to an endeavor bigger than yourself. It is a collection of moments where you are able to lose yourself in the middle of improving a cause by lending a helping hand.

As far as resolutions, volunteering is the biggest, most change-worthy decision one can make.

Give your time, your most prized possession, to a senior in a retirement home, to an abandoned dog at an animal shelter, to a parolee trying to right his wrong, to a child in need of guidance, to planting a tree in need of growing or simply to building a better community. We can all find a reason to want to be a better person, and trust me, the road to that will be infinitely more valuable than any pounds lost or new purses. I guarantee it.

I recently became a volunteer at an animal shelter. Animals are a cause that is near and dear to my heart, and they create a happiness in my soul that is beyond words. If you find that a cause can light you up, the way a smile from one of your relatives does, you will see that other changes that you seek in your life will also show up, perhaps even effortlessly. There are few things in this world as beautiful as giving a little bit of happiness to strangers; you will feel fulfilled after realizing that something as simple as a few words of encouragement, such as walking a shelter dog or helping cook a meal for the homeless, will give you an infinite amount of happiness beyond what can be bought.

Make today the day that you truly change yourself, and hopefully you can also impact someone else’s life. The joy we will all feel from that decision will be felt for years to come. You are not only changing yourself, you are changing an entire community. The love resulting from that decision will always be felt.

Make a difference, volunteer now.

If you need ideas or suggestions, please contact me. I’d be happy to help. Good luck on your journey!



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