Gay & Lesbian Services of Western New York

New Years Resolutions

A reader asks, “What do you think about New Year’s resolutions?”

Now that’s a timely question! The ancient Babylonians were the first to set New Year’s resolutions and usually it was to return borrowed farm equipment. (Back 4000 years ago, the new year started with the Spring planting season.)

The typical resolutions nowadays are usually about losing weight, saving money, getting organized and the like. Generally, I am not a big proponent of these sorts of resolutions because they are more about better life style and health habits and therefore are good goals all year and all life long. On the other hand, I do believe in setting goals. The idea of using the beginning of the new year as a time to reflect on where we have been and set goals and expectations for the coming year is useful; sort of like a fresh start.

But goals or resolutions by themselves are useless without a plan. There is an old quote, “If you fail to plan then you plan to fail.” For instance, if you walk out your door with no destination and no idea where you are going then you will just walk aimlessly. So, let’s say your resolution is to save money for something you want. You need to figure how much you need, how much to save each week, how you will get the money, where you will save it ( to keep you from spending it before you get to your goal) and so forth.

There are aspects of our lives as GBLT persons that require us to me more aware of ourselves then heterosexual people. For instance, all our life we have issues related to coming out and to whom or choosing not to. As a student, should you consider starting or attending a GSA meeting at school? Should you visit the GLYS Drop-in Center or attend a coffee house? Might you go to your first Pride celebration or even march in the Pride Parade. So what do these thing have to do with New Year’s resolutions?

How about for this year you consider stretching yourself and try something that you have been putting off. Perhaps doing something to affirm yourself such as going to the GLYS Drop-in center or attending a June Pride event or the Parade. Or consider volunteering. I get the most satisfaction and learn the most about myself when I give of my time. And the best part: it’s free. Give some thought to what you might like to do for others, or perhaps for the environment or for animals. Figure out how much time you want to spend initially…maybe an hour a week or a few hours a month. Don’t know where to volunteer? To see what is needed and to get a phone number for information, ask around. Check the business and Yellow pages, Art Voice or watch for calls for volunteers in the Buffalo News. You might even talk to your school guidance counselor about volunteering possibilities or ask your parents to help.

The trick with resolutions is to keep them real, honest, simple and doable. Set a goal and develop a strategy to achieve that goal. Then follow the steps you have identified to get to your goal.

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