As I get older it seems that the holidays come faster and faster each year. When you have children it’s almost like there is never a break from holidays. Once the New Year begins I hardly have enough time to breath before it’s time to start planning birthday parties and designing new Halloween costumes. I can’t complain though, I love my job as a mother and I am as close as it gets to being a hip Martha Stewart to the 30 something’s. Although, I prefer to identify myself as June Cleaver with an edge. My point is, it gets more difficult each year to find time for resolutions when there are so many other obligations on the table. Most of us tend to make resolutions that focus on common issues like weight loss, quitting smoking or drinking, and securing our financial futures. Let’s be honest though, how many of us actually stick to these promises? At best we survive on ambition alone for a couple of weeks after New Year’s Eve, but eventually the majority of us become so overwhelmed with daily life that we quickly fall back into old patterns. It is no secret that these common resolutions are notoriously ridden by failure. It’s not always our own fault. So many factors weigh heavily on the success of weight loss, and improving our health, and sometimes we may have to tap our life savings when a failing economy hits us below the belt. After so many years of falling off the resolution wagon myself I decided to change my thinking. Rather than making myself empty promises of fitting into the jeans I loved so much in high school or putting away enough money to finally travel abroad, I chose to set goals that are not only easy to fulfill but also provide eternal enrichment for my soul.
It all began in 2001 when my daughter was only 1 year old. I wasn’t getting any closer to losing that baby weight and my wallet was surely getting thinner as I purchased a thousand diapers a day. I had quit smoking, but a glass of red wine was a bedtime staple. I took a moment to think about the things I missed the most, the things that used to bring me peace but that I could no longer find the time to enjoy. What was it that I could resolve to bring back to my life without killing myself trying to obtain it? After racking my brain for a bit it hit me….READ A BOOK! Yes, that was it. If I could just read everyday even it I only had 10 minutes to do it, I would be so much happier. And what does happiness bring? Well, happiness creates more endorphins in my brain. Endorphins give me energy and ambition. That energy and ambition gives me the strength to be healthy minded. A healthy mind encourages me to take better care of myself. When I take better care of myself I lose weight. Weight loss helps me save money because rather than buying new clothes I can pull out those skinny jeans. I love the way I feel in those jeans so I strut around with pride and confidence and the confidence clears up all the clutter in my head and helps me to get out into the world and share my contagious joy. With all that joy my body feels so great that my desire to smoke or drink is almost non-existent. So you see, a small resolution that is easy to keep can have a profound effect on your entire life. It’s been 9 years since I resolved to simply pick up a book and since then I have read every single day without fail. The moment I finish one book I already have another one right next to me to begin. I have lost 50 pounds and I occasionally have a drink on the weekends. Before I made that change in my life I was a young mother that couldn’t even chase my daughter around the yard without being in pain, now my daughter can’t keep up with me. You wanna know something else that happens when you succeed at your personal goals and feel happiness? You feel a desire to help other people as well, because you have that extra joy to spread around. When you get to that place in your soul where you have the ability to help others it’s sometimes hard to decide where to start, so I have a few suggestions for you. There are thousands of foundations out there to support but I chose a handful to share with you that are near and dear to my heart.
RAINN: The nation’s largest anti-sexual assault organization.
One of “America’s 100 Best Charities” —Worth Magazine
RAINN operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline, and publicizes the hotline’s free, confidential services; educates the public about sexual assault; and leads national efforts to prevent sexual assault, improve services to victims and ensure that rapists are brought to justice. In 2007, RAINN expanded its hotline services with the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline, the nation’s first secure web-based hotline that provides live and completely confidential help to victims through an interface as intuitive as instant messaging. RAINN uses its community partnerships to put critical information into the hands of young women and men at concerts, on campus and in communities. Through these efforts, RAINN educates more than 120 million Americans each year about sexual assault. And that is just a small taste of what RAINN does for the world.
Founded by its member charities in 1988, EarthShare is an opportunity for caring employees and workplaces to support hundreds of environmental charities through workplace giving campaigns. A workplace giving campaign is an annual, employer-sponsored program that lets employees contribute a few dollars per paycheck as their charitable donation. Today EarthShare represents 71 national organizations and hundreds of local groups in 19 states. EarthShare’s member charities work hard every day to safeguard your health, our quality of life and the natural resources we depend on. All of these efforts are supported by EarthShare’s mission: To engage individuals and organizations in creating a healthy and sustainable environment. But you don’t have to be an employee to help Earthshare’s efforts. You can help by simply contributing through your everyday online purchases. You can feel good about your decision to give through EarthShare. EarthShare practices financial transparency and earned the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance Accredited Charity ranking.
Do Something believes that you have the power to make a difference. It is their aim to inspire, support and celebrate a generation of doers: people who see the need to do something, believe in their ability to get it done, and then take action. At DoSomething.org they provide the tools and resources for you to convert your ideas and energy into positive action and to be part of a generation of doers. At Do Something they have five guidelines that they live by:
- Believe in teenagers. Teenagers can lead today. We don’t require adults.
- Trust teenagers. They provide reliable, easy to access information and activation strategies, but teens decide for themselves what to do.
- Celebrate teenagers. They think all measurable contributions from teens are valuable.
- Respect teenagers. They understand that teenagers have diverse abilities and constraints.
- Value teenagers. Their programs and products are free. They’re not after teens’ money; they want their passion, time and creativity.
With guidelines like that it’s hard not to give kudo’s and contributions to such a fantastic organization.
This simple guiding principle is one of the reasons why TakingItGlobal been successful in enabling youth leaders. How this blueprint is achieved differs for everyone, but they all emerge from this process with the same results. Inspiration from a global community of their peers builds self-confidence. Information provided by tools and resources accelerates their transformation into better agents of change. Involvement through opportunities enables their capacity as active citizens.
Their vision: Youth everywhere actively engaged and connected in shaping a more inclusive, peaceful and sustainable world.
Their mission: To enable a collaborative learning community which provides youth with access to global opportunities, cross-cultural connections and meaningful participation in decision-making.
If you’ve been on this planet long enough I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “the children are our future” and it couldn’t be more true or relevant than it is today. Let’s face it folks, we have a pretty grim future unless we inspire and nurture our children on a global scale. TakingItGlobal is an excellent resource to help you get started.
Their mission is simple but their impact is profound: To save children’s lives and protect people’s health by increasing access to immunization in poor countries. How do they do this? A few ways is through their innovative partnership, funding and technologies. Launched in 2000, the GAVI Alliance is a global health partnership representing stakeholders in immunization from both private and public sectors: developing world and donor governments, private sector philanthropists such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the financial community, developed and developing country vaccine manufacturers, research and technical institutes, civil society organizations and multilateral organizations like the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Bank. By working together, Alliance members achieve objectives, that no single agency or group could achieve:
-Accelerate access to existing underused vaccines;
-Strengthen health and immunization systems in countries;
-Introduce innovative new immunization technology, including vaccines.
This prevents millions of deaths worldwide and contributes to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goal for child health.
You might be asking what you can do to contribute to one or all of these incredible foundations. I have a very simple solution for you that will tie into some of those personal resolutions you have for yourself. It all starts with basic online purchases by using NonProfitShoppingMall as your resource for some of the best retailers in the world. Each and every purchase you make will contribute a percentage of your final sale to the non-profit organization of your choice. For Instance, let’s say you’ve made a promise to yourself to relax more this coming year, or perhaps you’d like to take a trip. There are 2 great retailers out there to help you succeed. Pick up some pajamas from BedHead Pajamas and settle down with that DVD you keep meaning to set aside time for. Or how about purchasing some airline tickets from Expedia.com for that unforgettable trip you’ve always dreamed of. Another great resolution is to boost your ego with a fabulous new wardrobe from Roots.com. Roots has some of the cutest jackets and sweaters for the whole family to keep you warm all winter. One of the most common and difficult resolutions is to be healthier. Whether you want to shed those holiday pounds or have an even bigger health goal at hand, Drugstore.com is the place to purchase all of your nutritional supplements as well as goodies such as a neck & shoulder massager to help you relax. By purchasing from these retailers online you have the ability to help organizations all over the world. This brings me back to my original point….help yourself and you will have the power and the desire to help others. IT REALLY IS THAT SIMPLE.
To each and every one of you, I wish you a beautifully enriching new year.