I’m looking over my New Year’s Resolutions list and it looks remarkably like the same list I made last year. And the year before that. And the year before that!
Sure, I’ve been able to mark a few things off, but there are some really important resolutions that still remain. What is the difference between the resolutions that succeeded and the ones that failed?
In every case, my repeat resolutions are ones I have tried to conquer alone.
They are the resolutions that I have been determined to do myself, either because I had something to prove or because I was too proud to admit I needed help in a particular area.
But any self-improvement effort has a better chance of succeeding when it is done with others. Support groups, buddies, and mentors can exponentially increase the likelihood of individual progress toward a goal. Partners keep us focused, they teach us new tools and tricks, they inspire us when we lose hope, and they hold our feet to the fire.
Any work done in a group setting also has a number of hidden benefits we often fail to recognize. Working with others challenges us, and forces to face the truths we hide from ourselves. It puts us in a setting where we have to give as well as receive, and this give and take process reshapes our personality for the better. We learn to exchange our pride for humility when we ask for help. And we gift others with our experiences and talents. When we work in community, not only do we become better people, we help create a better world.
Here are some ideas for supercharging your New Year’s resolutions by sharing them in community:
If your resolution is to lose weight – Join a support group of other people who have this goal. Find a buddy to go on the weight loss journey with you. Be a buddy to that person as well. Consult with a nutritionist. Join an online forum where you can chat with people around the world who are losing weight together.
If your resolution is to break an addiction – You will find the answers you have been looking for in a support group. Smoking cessation classes, alcoholics anonymous, narcotics anonymous are all support groups that have demonstrated a greater success than individual efforts. Seek medical, psychological, and spiritual help. Develop a team of a people and groups who will support you in this effort. And as you heal, be sure to help others along as well.
If your resolution is to improve your skills – Take a class. Check out your local community college, or enroll in an online class. Conferences and seminars are a great way to meet new people and get cutting edge information about the things you care about. And this may sound backwards, but you should also consider teaching others in a class, workshop, or by writing a book or paper. Teaching helps you rethink what you think you know, develop new skills, and help others in the process.
If your resolution is to exercise more – Get an exercise buddy who will walk, hike, or take a yoga class with you. Join a bicycling club or a kickball team. Work with a personal coach or be a personal coach. Volunteer at a local senior center to lead seniors in appropriate exercises or organize an exercise group.
If your resolution is to improve your finances – Consult with a professional to help you develop a plan. Meet with people at a reliable credit counseling program. Take a class on personal finance or home ownership, or go to a workshop about manifesting prosperity in your life. Make sure you are sharing the journey with your spouse or significant other.
If your resolution is to make a difference in the world – The best way to start is by connecting with others. There are numerous community groups working on issues that are relevant to your neighborhood and your interests. Can’t find a group interested in your community calling? Then start one! Even if the path to progress doesn’t seem clear now, assembling a group of like-minded others to talk it through will make the next steps apparent.
They say that only 8% of our resolutions will be kept this year, so why not do all you can to make them successful? If you could have achieved these things alone, wouldn’t you have done that already? Think about how you can infuse your efforts with community, for better success than you can possibly imagine. Happy New Year!