Monday, January 12, 2009

Resolving to Help

As the chaotic holidays came to a close, I have found myself keeping the time honoured tradition of trying to come up with a New Years resolution. Almost every year, I make grand plans to lose weight, try new things, spend less and exercise more. By January 30th, these resolutions have all been put on the shelf for another 330-odd days, as the couch and potato chips beckon.

I found myself wondering why my resolutions typically don't work, and why very few people keep their resolutions. I realized that I have never made a resolution that involved anyone but myself. My resolutions always focused on making myself better, rather than making a contribution to someone else.

Over Christmas, around 20 IDEAL volunteers spent a day giving their time and energy to 250 special persons at 3 events. Presents were given by 'Santa' and his elves to these very deserving individuals, who were given an opportunity to celebrate the holidays a little early. By the end of the events, I was told that the energy in the rooms was tangible. The events were considered a great success by all involved, and plans are already underway for next year's events.

My New Years resolution this year is a little different from last year's. It isn't about trying to improve myself, but about giving a little more of myself this year. I'm not planning to radically change my life, but the IDEAL events next year will definitely have one more set of hands to help. That's a resolution I can keep.


Don Yeo said...

Your 2009 resolution may be “a little different” but, as a result, I believe the Law of Unintended Consequences will bring you self improvement results anyways.

I quote Dr. Ann Vincent, an internal medicine physician at Mayo Clinic who researches the mind-body connection “Several studies over the years have found links between altruistic behavior and improved physical and psychological health”

‘Experts’, and every one of our Ideal-Way volunteers, (including our volunteers with Down syndrome, Autism, etc) enthusiastically report enjoying strongly uplifting and positive feelings through volunteerism. They can’t ALL be wrong.
Persons with

This blog’s fine history of insightful positives continues to impress. Bravo!

Don Yeo, CEO

Maureen Lee said...

Great post, Jenny! You reminded all of us - in a gentle way - to be more mindful of what we can contribute to the larger community.

I agree, Don, that there is ample evidence that "volunteers are more satisfied with their life than

So, Jenny, I'm taking your advice: the to-do list that's stuck to my computer is coming down - and a new one is in the works: my new resolution is to focus more on what I can do for others. You have a wonderful voice, which gently encourages us to walk the walk, without hitting us over the head with the message. Bravo!

Brian said...

Your 2009 resolution says it all for me and my wife. We came to the same conclusion as you. fyi, I checked out the Ideal-Way website and really enjoyed it. We are in the Toronto area and would love to volunteer with your group sometime if you are looking for more hands. Keep up the great work!

Pierre said...

Like JennLee, one of my New Year resolutions is to 'pay it forward'.

I also agree with Don Yeo's "Law of Unintended Consequences" as it applies to the goodness of human nature.

Mahatma Ghandi expressed it as "The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

Like some other kids, 12-year-old Trevor McKinney believed in the goodness of human nature. Like many other kids, he was determined to change the world for the better. Unlike most other kids, he succeeded.

Joe said...

Great post Jen. I've never been a big fan of making News Years resolutions but I love your new take on them. It may be a little late, but I'm going to change my normal resolution ritual as well. As everyone else mentioned, helping others is the best way to make yourself feel better. Thanks Jen!

Addie said...

Wonderful post Jenn!

What did Albert Einstein say? "You haven't lived a perfect day unless you have done something for someone who can never repay you." Based on the comments, it looks like the 'pay it forward' theme is catching on. And to Joe, it is never too late.

Martha said...

Brilliant post!! I love the quotes that I have been reading. If anyone would like to read a whole page of other great quotes on giving visit the website. They are wonderful.

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simona said...

wow! this wonderful "Just Show Up" Blog is even being read in Japan!

I wonder which other far away countries may have fans of "Just Show Up"?

please keep up this great Blog. thanks.

Patricia said...

This year of 2009 is going to be bigger and better than last year for IDEAL-WAY because its volunteers and members are all on the same page with the same heart and desires to make things better for others. I have found there is nothing more rewarding than doing on to others. The Christmas event was heart warming and the appreciation of those wonderful individuals we went to make a difference for just makes us want to do more for them. This is definately the year of giving more of ourselves to others and making a difference.

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