New Years’ resolutions are a bit of a joke. They are often made by people in a state of inebriation at parties, when wild declarations of intent to change for the better are made in loud voices to friends and anyone else who happens to be listening.
The most common resolutions are to stop smoking, reduce alcohol intake (or stop altogether) and lose weight: and often, all three. These are usually broken by 2nd or 3rd January, adding to that depressing feeling that usually accompanies the dark days of the first month of the New Year.
But there is one resolution that you could make that could actually be realistically achieved. Could you consider doing some voluntary work throughout the year? Volunteers are the life blood of most charities and without the time given freely to help at animal shelters or to fundraise or do other vital work, charities like the RSPCA could not continue to function. If charities had to pay for people to do all the work that volunteers do for free, there would be precious little money left to do the work that the charity was set up to do.
Doing voluntary work has many benefits, not just for the charity but also for the individual. It adds to a person’s sense of self-worth by helping them to feel that they are contributing to society and their local community. Voluntary work also looks great on a C.V. as it demonstrates a willingness to work – and a good reference from a charity can show a potential employer that you are very much in touch with how the working world functions (you know to turn up on time; work diligently; be polite and considerate of others etc. etc.).
Make enquiries before New Year’s Eve with charities that you would like to help. As a starting point, you might want to think about what sort of charitable work you think your skills and background could assist with, but even if you feel you have no relevant experience you could pick a charity about which you feel passionate and become a really valuable and valued volunteer. For instance, you may not have pets of your own, but your passion for helping animals in need and taking good care of them would make you a potentially very good candidate as a volunteer for an animal charity.
When you have chosen a field of charitable work, make enquiries with local or national charities that carry out work in that field. Many have detailed websites with full information about how you can get involved as a volunteer; or you could telephone and ask how you can help.
Remember, though, that this is one New Year’s resolution you really cannot break. It would not be just yourself who you were letting down: you would be letting down a charity and all the people or animals that that charity supported. Be realistic in how much time you have to offer. It is better to offer a little time (say, half a day) on a regular basis (say, once a week or once a month) than to offer a lot of time every now and then. Once you have arranged to volunteer, make sure you honour your commitment and you will be rewarded with bags of self-confidence and a real feeling of wellbeing.
This is a guest post by Claire Chat a new Londoner, travel passionate and animal lover. She blogs about Pets and Travelling in Europe. If you want Claire to write you specific content, you can find email her here or contact her on Twitter (Claire_Chat).