New Year’s Buddy Resolution

I have a new twist for the old New Year’s tradition. How about instead of making New Year’s resolutions about things you want to improve about yourself, make a commitment to help someone else achieve his/her dreams?

It is common to resolve to become a better person, to lose weight, or to be more organized (at least it is common for me to resolve these things). It really isn’t bad to make these resolutions, but I think the whole custom has fallen out of favor because the overall success rate is so low. Though, personally, I think it is better to a least try than to give up to the status quo.

How about reviving the tradition by resolving to help someone else? Let’s call it the Buddy Resolution. The first rule of this new tradition is that you can’t choose the resolution for them. Say, you think your partner needs to lose weight so you throw away all the cookies and buy him/her a gym membership. That isn’t called helping, that’s called manipulation.

The first step is to find out what someone you care about would like to accomplish. Perhaps it is better grades, or to finish a home project, or to become a better cook. The second step is to determine how you may help them to succeed at their dreams. This isn’t as easy as it sounds. A lot of do-good help only gets in the way and leads to greater frustration. Again, I think it is better to work for improvement than to accept the situation as it is. The key is to make sure your friend will accept your help. Find a way to assist that he/she will agree with before you start changing their life.

The joy of a Buddy Resolution is how great it feels to see someone else achieve his or her dreams. It is always more satisfying than doing something for ourselves. Maybe because we are harder on ourselves and seldom truly honor our own achievements, but you can pull out all the stops when celebrating someone else’s dream-come-true.

The final payoff is the hidden, Christian, “this is why a minister is writing about it” reason. By working on a Buddy Resolution we are engaging in a spiritual exercise. As my favorite Christian Bob Dylan song says, “You’re gonna have to serve somebody.” More than once Jesus talks of the importance of serving others. This often sounds like one of those church chores, but it is actually it is as fun, and rewarding, as helping a friends achieve his/her dream. Have a happy new year.

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