Welcome to 2017! We are all excited about the new year and how to make it and ourselves better. The majority of us set goals/new year’s resolutions and then the majority of us don’t accomplish or keep them. Congratulations to those who do.
There are so many things we all would like to accomplish — lose that extra weight, save some money, get that promotion, buy a bigger house, downsize, etc. Whatever it is, we need to put forth the effort and maybe think outside the box or in reverse order to make things happen. Don’t make goals so big you can’t accomplish them. Baby steps will get you there faster than running forward and sliding back.
You know, someone shared an idea with me from America Saves Week — save a dollar a week and add a dollar to it each week. So the first week is $1, week two is $2, week three is $3 and so forth. Sounds like a great plan and then at the end of the year you would have $1,378, which is a considerable amount of money, enough to keep you out of debt at Christmas next year. Some people say it gets too hard after a while as the amount of money saved increases. Well, one my friends does this program in reverse order so the amount of money saved gets less as the year goes on, and we are all more committed at the beginning of the year. So she starts week one with $52, week two, it’s $51, week three, $50, etc.
Do you have too much stuff in your house? I know I do. Challenge yourself to clean out a box or shelf and donate one to five items a week until you feel you have accomplished what you needed. Do it with a friend and check in with each other to make sure it is happening. Having someone else you’re committed to doing it with will keep you on task.
We can do many things, but I want to challenge you to do service this year. Whether you are single or have a large family, you can do this. Sit down as a family or an individual and make out a 12-month service plan. Start with January and find some service work you can do. Work at the food bank, haul wood for elderly individuals or take them a treat and spend time with them. Do each month of the year through December. Write your service down and hang the list where you will see it. You will have the whole month to do it. I would suggest doing it at the first of the month rather than the last so you’re not rushed.
One year at a fundraiser, I bought a dessert a month for a year. It was great. I looked forward to it each month. Now, imagine how you feel when you do service. It is a great feeling isn’t it? Imagine getting that feeling every month. Serving others takes the me out of the picture and puts the focus on someone else. We can help ourselves and our youth understand we can do things for others and not have to get paid for it or get something in return. The feeling of compassion and love is good enough.
Now, I don’t know how many of you will do this. But imagine if 100 families or individuals take this challenge and how that will affect our community. The feeling will spread to others, and it will make Fairbanks a better place than it already is. I’m going to take my challenge and I hope you will too. Let’s show our youth that people still care about each other and they can too.
4-H is a youth organization for youth K-12 that helps youth learn about certain items of interest to them, but also teaches them life skills. 4-H has a club structure with leaders who are adult volunteers with current background checks. To learn more about the local program, contact Marla Lowder, Tanana District 4-H agent, at 907-474-2427. You can also check out our web page at www.alaska4h.org/fairbankstanana-district.html. 4-H is a part of the Cooperative Extension Service of the University of Alaska Fairbanks.