Studies have shown that people have a difficult time keeping New Year’s Resolutions. While this is bothersome if we hope to lose weight, exercise more, or cut back on sweet treats, it can be especially disappointing when we forget to keep one particular resolution: give back to charity. If you believe you will forget your mission and give up on helping others, here are some easy ways you can stay on goal and give back to others as often as you planned.
Step 1: Remind Yourself Of The Purpose
Most resolutions are easy to quit because the only motivation is ourselves. The difference between giving back and going to the gym is huge — you are helping others instead of yourself. Keep a list of all the charities you want to support and regularly remind yourself of why they are important to you. Believing in the cause is an important factor to staying on track, and sometimes we need a reminder of the good a charity is doing.
Step 2: Set A Reasonable Goal
Although we would all love to be the ones to end world hunger or find the cure for cancer, these goals are impossible. Good goals are SMART — Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-Based. A SMART goal for charity could be “Donate $200 to [charity] by March 1st” or “Volunteer at the animal shelter 4 times in February”. These goals hit every part of SMART, so you are more likely to stick to them.
Step 3: Develop A Plan
Once you have your SMART goal, it is a good idea to create a plan of action. For example, you may decide to set aside $50 each week to meet your $200 donation goal, or you can call your local shelter to set up times to volunteer throughout the month. This way, you will have something to put on your calendar and continuously remind you of your goal. It is also a good idea to set aside a short period of time near the end of your goal to set up your next goal and plans.
Step 4: Reinforce The Plan
Even if you follow the previous three steps, you still may be tempted to back out of your commitment. Hold yourself accountable by explicitly detailing your plans to a friend. Maybe this friend will join you in volunteering or donating. At the very least, they can be someone to fall back on for support when you are unable to motivate yourself.
Giving back to others is one of the best New Year’s Resolutions you can have, but it is also one that you should take extra steps to keep. If you are already struggling to meet your goals, it is not too late! Sit down today, follow these steps, and you will soon be back on track to help others this entire year.