Friday, January 2, 2015

A New Year's Resolution

Bill Fortune/American Red Cross

Every year we all-- well most of us -- go through it. You know the agony of creating New Year’s resolutions. It’s as if life had a “reset button” and at the beginning of a new year everything changes. But does it, really? I know every year I go through the effort to make changes.

I resolve to eat more kale. Seriously?
Unfortunately, only about 8 percent of Americans actually achieve their resolutions. I am part of the other 92-percent. Maybe that can be the new hashtag for 2015, #the other 92%. Last year I resolved to eat more kale. Seriously, eat more kale. How long do you think that one lasted? A resolution like that is kind of like resolving to finish a tube of lip balm.

According to these were the top 5 New Year resolutions from 2014. Do any of them sound familiar?

1 Lose Weight
2 Getting Organized
3 Spend Less, Save More
4 Enjoy Life to the Fullest
5 Staying Fit and Healthy

I am sure that at one time or another many of us have made at least one of those resolutions. And, being a member of the 92-percent club, I can safely say that I failed in each attempt. However, in 2009 I made an important resolution. I was retiring from a 40+ year career and I knew that it was my year to give back and to make a difference. That year I resolved to volunteer my time. That year I became a Red Cross volunteer.

That particular resolution, to volunteer, shows up frequently in America but it had never been on my list. There wasn’t enough time in the days, weeks or months. I was too busy focusing on career and family. But that year it was at the top and I have to say it was the best resolution I ever made and one of the few that I successfully completed.

The Red Cross made it easy to do and quickly absorbed me into the Red Cross “family.” Within weeks I was using skills I didn’t know I had to help people when they needed it the most. I was learning new skills, seeing new places and meeting new friends. Complete strangers were coming up to shake my hand and saying, “Thank you for doing what you do!” I was becoming “one of the helpers.” I was making a difference.

So, what will your resolution be for 2015? Will it be one of the typical top 5 resolutions? Will you resolve to eat more kale? Or, will it be one that you can actually complete and one that makes you feel good about yourself? Will it be the one that, at the end of a long day of helping people, lets you fall asleep knowing you made a difference?

In the New Year, resolve to become an American Red Cross volunteer. Visit and click on Volunteer.

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