As 2015 begins nearly every one of us will make some kind of New Year’s resolution: lose that extra weight, finally quit smoking, get a better job, or reduce our personal debt. But what all of these resolutions have in common is that they focus on our own lives. This New Year's let's resolve to turn outward toward one another -- to be part of something larger than ourselves. This is the yearning I hear so many of us hold for 2015 -- to not feel we have to go it alone so often; to genuinely be connected to others; to find real ways to make a contribution to our community. But let's face it, stepping forward isn't always so easy or feel so comfortable. At times it seems we live in the Tower of Babel, where there's little way any of us can change the course of things. But we can. You can.
When you turn outward toward others you can set a different tone in your own life and in your community, and restore a belief that we can get things done, together. You don't need to take on the world, only to start in small ways and build from there. What counts is how we choose to show up in each other's lives. Here, then, are four practical New Year's resolutions you can make real in 2015.
- I will join a small, local effort. So many of us donate money, volunteer an hour, or sign a petition in times of need. In this New Year, join with others to address a local challenge where, together, you set goals, produce results, and celebrate your good efforts. When you work with others you show what's possible.
- I will cross boundaries. The divisions in our communities make us feel people will never come together to get things done. In this New Year, go out and find one or two people who are different from yourself, and talk with them about their aspirations for their own lives and the community. When you do this you break down barriers and increase people's confidence to step forward themselves.
- I will be a champion of the common good. Our common challenges require us to go beyond the endless push of instant gratification that shapes so much of what we do and think nowadays. In this New Year, ask yourself and others when talking about a tough challenge: What do we need for our common good, and not just our own good. Then you can help get things moving forward.
- I will be more open and humble in my conversations. In many discussions we somehow believe we alone know the right answer, and everyone else is wrong! In this New Year, stop yourself from going down this path again and engage in more give-and-take with others. Then you can help us all find better solutions.
Choosing to turn outward toward others in these ways will make a real difference in your community and in your life. You can get started right away. Then we can restore our belief about what is possible.
*Share your resolutions for 2015 in the comment section below*