Resolution #9: 12 Ways to Look Ahead by Giving Back

Each year, 41% of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, and according to, in 2017, the ninth most common was a decision to “do more good deeds for others.” “Lose weight” was the big winner, followed by quitting smoking (#4), making better financial decisions (#3), working out (#7) and assorted others.  But ‘good deeds,’ made it in to the top ten, and there are reasons to believe that it may be a decision that’s more achievable than some of the higher-ranked ones.

For one thing, among today’s busy lives, studies show that volunteering is a great way to regain a feeling of control over your time. Doing things for other people increases feelings of competence and efficiency, and makes you feel like a better person, not just ethically, but all-around. Doing for others decreases stress and can even increase life-expectancy.

Here’s hoping all your resolutions are kept easily and effectively.  And here are a dozen fast, fun ways for adults, kids and families to harness the holiday spirit in your community and get the jump on 2019!

  1. COOKIES FOR COPS …or firemen, hospital workers, postal carriers, etc.  Show your appreciation for your public servants by doubling up on your next baking project and giving the extras away.
  1. DONATE TO A FOOD BANK – After Black Friday hits, the holidays can seem like one long shopping excursion.  Make those trips do double duty by picking up an extra bag of groceries and canned goods, then drop off at your local food bank on your way home.
  1. STUFF STOCKINGS FOR THE HOMELESS – Kids of any age can help fill a pair of warm socks with useful items like water bottles, healthy snacks, phone cards, etc. Keep the prepared stockings with you in the car and distribute them as you go through your day.
  1. VOLUNTEER AT AN ANIMAL SHELTER – When you think about helping the needy, you needn’t limit yourself to just one species. Your local animal shelter or Humane Society needs help of all kinds, from dog walkers to puppy bathers, training assistants and more. If you love animals, this kind of giving back is a gift to yourself.
  1. VOLUNTEER YOUR PET – Interspecies giving works both ways. Your pet can help out as a therapy dog at hospitals, senior centers and rehabilitation facilities of all kinds.  Check out Therapy Dogs United, The Good Dog Foundation or to learn how.
  1. THOSE WHO CAN, TEACH – At youth and senior centers in your area, people who are eager to learn what you know, from computer skills to cooking or Italian to Tai Chi.  You’ll be putting your skills to good use and making new friends at the same time.
  1. BABY-SITTING FOR DONATIONS – Older kids can turn their chores into charitable contributions by offering to help out in exchange for donations to their favorite causes.  Not sure who to give to?  Check out our Causes page at
  1. CLEAN OUT THE TOY BOX – Hospitals, shelters and other charities need toys at this time of year.  Toys “R” Us and Ronald McDonald House, among others, have collection bins at many locations.  Google “Donate Toys” to find where in your area to take those toys you’ve outgrown (but not broken).
  1. FASHIONISTAS: ORGANIZE A CLOTHING SALE – While the kids are giving away new and used toys, the whole family can donate clothes and—especially at this chilly time of year—coats. Check online listings for your local coat drive, or start your own!
  1. GIVE TIME TO THE ARTS – Got the theater bug?  Community and regional theaters welcome help in all departments: building, sewing, fund-raising, ushering and administration.  Stop by and join the show!
  1. DE-TRASH AND RECYCLE – Take the family or a team of friends for an outdoor trash pickup party. Adopt a park or stretch of highway and tidy it up while you recycle papers, cans and plastic. Every car that drives by will thank you, even if they don’t know who you are.
  1. MAKE YOUR NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION TO VOLUNTEER ALL YEAR – To get the long-term benefits of time-abundance, get the giving-back habit and make it a regular part of your calendar. You’ll find that changing the world for the better is a great way to change your life for the better. Why not start today?

To help you find an activity that matches your age, location, and interests, check out Causes at KidsThatDoGood.