Happy 2018. If you are like me, you are contemplating the year ahead and setting some goals for all that you hope to achieve over the next 12 months. Just yesterday I tweeted a great NY Times article* (click here) which summarised some great research on self control. The article shows that self control based on ‘willpower’ wanes over time, and thus 90% of us tend to very quickly give up on the new year’s resolutions. Willpower alone, can actually be detrimental to our health, due to the added stress that we place on ourselves… it’s easy to give up and not persevere when we just focus on a large goal.
The research suggests that when your goal is correlated with a long term future focussed outcome, and linked with gratitude, compassion, and empathy, people significantly increase their perseverance and have a 30% greater chance of achieving their resolution. As we value the future more, we are less needy of instant gratification, we persevere and we are more patient.
Add to this, a degree of reflectiveness where you break your achievements into short term successes and celebrate and take pride in your efforts, your resolution is more likely to be achieved.
So what’s the key to a successful resolution, and what does this have to do with www.kotdwarahelp.org? I suppose I just want you to consider how you might link one of your New Year’s resolutions to a worthy cause that is future focussed and gives you plenty of authentic opportunities to show compassion, grow empathy and in doing so, be mindful and grateful for your personal life circumstances. Each one of us is already ‘better off’ than someone else, so why not start 2018, being thankful for all you have. Through a stance and mindset of being grateful and optimistic for all that your future promises, commit to making a difference in someone else’s life.
Just in December our supporters contributed to making all of the following possible because of the hard work of Amit and Daisy Samuel and our staff team in Kotdwara;
- We distributed warm winter clothes to the 220 children who come to our 6 small schools
- We blessed our teachers with Christmas gifts (a warm blanket each)
- We had a Christmas pizza party with the girls who attend our Technology Centre
- We blessed a number of homeless people, mostly elderly, disabled and/or suffering mental health problems, by talking with them, and giving them warm clothes, blankets and food hampers.
- We worked with the police to present community anti-trafficking and anti-drug awareness programs.
In December we also received some wonderful accolades;
- We received an award from the Senior Superintendent of Police recognising and thanking us for the help we give them with the anti-human trafficking and anti-drug programs. This fantastic achievement was highlighted on the news of local television.
- One of the Hindi newspapers commended our work in a feature article on 25th December.
Back to the NY Times article which also goes on to show that people who focus on dispositions that enhance self control also combat another problem of modern life: loneliness.
“Today, more than half of all Americans report feeling lonely …But study after study has shown that those who are seen as grateful, warm and justifiably confident draw others to them. Because these emotions automatically make us less selfish, they help ensure that we can form relationships with people who will be there to support us, when we need it.”
As you start this new year, we would be delighted if you set yourself a resolution to align your goals with our goals. We really need our friends to commit to setting a financial goal across 2018. At www.kotdwarahelp.org we have big plans for 2018, and we cannot do this without the help, support and ongoing generosity.
A final quote from the NY Times, which I love…
“So as 2018 commences, take more time to cultivate these emotions. Reflect on what you are grateful to have been given. Allow your mind to step into the shoes of those in need and feel for them. Take pride in the small achievements on the path to your goals. Doing so will ensure that every future New Year’s Eve will have more to celebrate than regret.”
Thank you for being a part of our story, and for making a difference in the lives of people who really are some of the world’s poorest of the poor.
Happy New Year. May your hopes and resolutions for 2018 be blessed and with no regrets. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you would like to know more about how you can connect with our people and projects.
* David DeSteno – New York Times Dec 29, 2017. David is the author of the forthcoming book “Emotional Success: The Power of Gratitude, Compassion and Pride.”