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Editor's column: Make a resolution that matters

Don’t worry about yourself in 2014, do something for someone else. It’s even better than losing a few pounds.

January 4, 2014
By Per Peterson , Marshall Independent

A lot of people gave up on making resolutions a long time ago. The whole idea of promising yourself you'll do something has become nothing more than a clich. A worn-out clich (one of my resolutions is to stop being redundant in my writing. Oops.) Mostly, when we set resolutions we're just setting ourselves up for failure.

The problem is, all we do is tell ourselves we're going to quit smoking or drinking, or lose weight. That's not enough. Unless we have a firm plan in place and a support group, keeping resolutions is nearly impossible.

In other words, we're too lazy to commit. We tell ourselves we're going to change, then June rolls around and we haven't lost a pound and we're still buying cigarettes.

My problem with resolutions is they're too self-serving. Sure, it's good for you and your body to cut back on sweets and lose weight, it's good for your lungs and heart to put an end to your smoking days, but if we really want to make a resolution that means something, we should all try to think outside our own box.

Why not make a resolution or two that will benefit others? Why not stop caring about ourselves more than our neighbors, or, for that matter, our strangers.

If you feel the urge to make a resolution because it's Jan. 4 - essentially the start of a brand-new year - do this: Resolve to do something that will put a smile on someone's face.

I'm one of the most pessimistic and cynical people you would ever want to meet. My cup is neither half full nor half empty. It's just empty. I'm grumpy. I complain. I'm a curmudgeon in sheep's clothing. But every time I do something nice for someone, it just plain makes me feel better.

The possibilities for feeling better for all of us are endless. I'm not talking about changing the world here. Just make an effort, or a bunch of small efforts, to make a difference in someone's life.

Help someone load groceries into their trunk. Wait that extra five seconds and hold the door open for a person behind you. Let someone go before you in the check-out line if their kid is screaming or if it looks like they're in a hurry. Shovel someone's sidewalk, not just your own. Volunteer to do something for others instead of waiting for someone in your church or your kid's school to plead for your help because no one else stood up.

Resolve to be a better person. I know, clich, but it's so simple it's ridiculous. Besides, it's easy and it will make you feel better. Better yet, it will make someone else feel better.

We'll never live in a utopian society, but simple acts of kindness can go a long way.



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