Join the Revolution for a happier New Year

By staff writers
January 4, 2011

"How can you make 2011 a happier year for yourself? By thinking of others."

This may not be the main reason for 'doing good', but Professor Susan Blackmore, psychologist and writer, says there are benefits for everyone from resolving to think more socially at the New Year.

She was responding to the launch of Resolution Revolution, a project launched in December to encourage 'Revolutionaries' to resolve to do something for someone else in 2011.

A 'social resolution' may be a small thing like joining the organ donor register or clearing a neighbour's icy path. It may be a bigger commitment such as volunteering with a local charity or tackling an important local issue.

There are several ideas at the Resolution Revolution site which offers information on making effective resolutions, resources for schools and the option to sign up for reminders to assist in staying on track and achieving resolutions made for 2011.

"It's about more than donating money or 'liking' something on Facebook," Susan Blackmore said. "Resolution Revolution is about getting involved and doing things.

"What would you like your New Year's resolution to do?" she continued. "Make you thinner, healthier, happier? That's great in principle - but we all know how hard it is to keep New Year resolutions, especially if they're all based around not really feeling all that good about yourself. Joining Resolution Revolution means you turn your efforts out to others instead of in. You may even find this is the way to a happier 2011 for you too, making it easier to stick to your own personal resolutions.

"As research shows, getting involved and helping others helps the helper too. So make this year's resolution one that really works."

The British Humanist Association (BHA) is supporting Resolution Revolution and hopes outward looking, "social" resolutions will become a new tradition. The BHA president, Guardian journalist Polly Toynbee, described Resolution Revolution as a means of "turning good intentions outwards to others."

She added "The more people that get involved, even in a small way, the bigger the impact is. Spending cuts don't make a cohesive society but generous actions do."


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