It’s the time of your where we all become super focused on bettering ourselves – and that’s great! I don’t know about you, but my New Year’s Resolutions tend to last approximately 10 days and then the bleakness of January gets the better of me and I slip back into old habits to try and cheer myself up on the long road to spring. However, I think if I managed to find a balance between improving myself and making a difference I would find it a to easier to stick with it – it’s always harder to give up when you know other people will be affected as well.
Here are some ideas for resolutions that will make a difference and keep you motivated:
1. Get fit while supporting the training and employment of people leaving prison
New social enterprise The Hard Yard run fitness classes designed and run by ex-offenders. The classes are all in urban spaces, require no equipment, and are really hard work – ideal for getting back on track after Christmas. Classes cost £15 each (or less with package deals), but you know your money isn’t just helping you lose weight – it’s helping to change the lives of ex-offenders by providing them with training and employment.
2. Do exercise while doing good
If you prefer to be a bit more hands on, then perhaps Good Gym is for you. You can take part in mission runs where you help older people in the community with one-off tasks, coach runs where you regularly run to visit an isolated older person, or group runs where you run together to help out with community projects. They’re all over the UK in 39 different locations, so have a look for a group near you.
3. Give your training focus by getting sponsorship for a cause you care about
Getting started with a new training routine is harder, and sticking to it is even harder. That’s why lots of people choose to sign up to an event – maybe a 10k, half marathon, or triathlon. But you can take it one step further by agreeing with a charity that you will gain a certain amount of sponsorship for taking part in the event – that way you have no chance of backing out! Most charities would be delighted to have the support, so do a bit of research about causes you care about, pick a charity, and get it all set up – all you’ll need is a JustGiving page.
4. Prepare yourself for your next promotion with some skilled volunteering
It can be hard to know how to show your employer you have the right skills to take a step up. Perhaps you’re going for your first management position and need to prove your leadership skills, or maybe you just want more responsibility in your area of expertise and need to find a way to show you can think about your role differently. Well, skilled volunteering might be the way to go. More and more employers are using skilled volunteering as a cost-effective but impactful alternative to traditional training programmes. Using your skills to mentor or coach young people is a great way to get used to managing people, and will give you great experience of handling difficult pastoral issues as well as guiding people in the right direction and empowering them to solve their problems. Using your expertise in your business area to provide pro bono support will allow you to use your professional skills in a totally different context, forcing you to think about the issues you face day to day in a different way. There are so many charities looking for this type of support. Do some research and reach out with suggestions to organisations that interest you. We’re also happy to help you find a great opportunity – just get in touch.
5. Drink more water while supporting a great cause
This one ends up on my to do list every January, but every year getting through those two litres gets quickly forgotten. Frank Water and Jerry Bottle both sell lovel refillable water bottles that will make you want to fill up and stay hydrated, and they both donate all profits to help provide clean water for those who need it.
6. Get some healthy snacks and support small-scale producers in rural Africa
Let’s be realistic, giving up snacking is almost impossible. But you can definitely make your snacks healthier – especially if you know that your money is helping to provide sustainable livelihoods for farmers in rural Africa. Check out Aduna and stock up!
I hope these ideas will help you take the first step on a path towards a better future for you and for society. Good luck!
If you have any other resolutions that haven’t been covered in this list, let us know and we can help point you in the right direction!