Another Resolution Around the Sun

I hate New Year’s resolutions, and I know I’m not the only one. Year after year, we feel expected to self-flagellate at the altar of self-improvement. Joining a gym. Quitting smoking. Reaching an arbitrary number of daily steps. Achieving visible abs immediately after two weeks of relentless cheese consumption. The list goes on. 

This year, I’m resolving to do resolutions differently. Here are three ways that you can do that, while helping yourself and your community.

Volunteering & Engagement 

Hyphen8 are lucky to work with some amazing nonprofits – we’re proud that our work helps to deliver life-changing impacts. As part of our social mission, we donate 8% of our time and profits as pro bono work to charities that are close to our heart. However, there’s always more that I can do. That’s why my resolution this year is to give more of my time directly to local causes that I care about. 

I recently volunteered at the St Werburghs Community Centre for Festive Friends, who provide free social events for isolated older people. As a table host at their Christmas Dinner, I had the chance to hear people from all walks of life share their stories. I sang carols, ran around with mulled wine refills, ferried stranded guests around Bristol, and loved every minute of it. 

In 2023, I’ll contact local charities and community groups, and I’ll use GoodGym to find other ways to give back (without needing the promise of a free Christmas dinner to tempt me). 

Elaine Forth is going through an application with the Girls Network to become a mentor for young women. Mentoring is both her personal ambition, and also a priority focus for Hyphen8 to develop as a structured programme. 

person holding older person's arm comfortingly

Keep It Up! 

Just because it’s a new year, it doesn’t mean you need to start doing anything differently! Maybe you already give up your time to a worthy cause, and you just commit to sticking with it. Hyphen8 has many people who already give back in their own way:

Ange Murray volunteers as an usher at her local community theatre’s pantomime and Santa Show every year, and expects to return in 2023 to keep supporting local culture (oh no she doesn’t, oh yes she does!) 

Haoming Yau takes a more active approach and runs Social Sports Mix, an inclusive fitness group that runs free events in London to raise money for good causes, including Comic Relief and DEC’s Ukraine appeal.

Hayley Wade is committed to dutifully attending her local blood bank and continuing to provide the NHS with life-saving human juice, and it’s not just for the free cuppa and biscuit – she’s done it for years and will keep doing so. If (like me) you’re a lapsed donor, why not sign up for a blood-letting session now?

group of people in park in exercise clothing
Social Sports Mix

Test the Waters 

Think of this as a chance to test the waters, rather than committing to something you might hate. Over the years, I’ve racked up six failed gym memberships, each of which comes with the shame of failure and months of unnecessary direct debits before I admit defeat. My house is littered with the ghosts of abandoned hobbies. 

Instead of telling yourself that you’re going to GO TO THE GYM TWICE A WEEK FOREVER, why not pick a topic to become passionate and knowledgeable about for three months.

Let’s say, “I’m going to learn about art”. For three months, you go to galleries, read articles, and try to understand what gets arty people so hyped about oil on canvas. If cultured people ask you about your favourite painting, you no longer have to resort to Van Gogh’s Sunflowers because it’s the only one you can think of (I’m 100% guilty of this). 

At the end of those three months, take stock. Have I enjoyed this? Do I want to carry on? If not, has it given me any ideas about what to try next? 

Failing is part of the plan (unless you love it) and it has an end date. You’re not resolving to spend a lifetime on something you might not enjoy – you’re just setting an intention to try something out and learn more about what you like. That alone is enough of an achievement!

woman in art gallery looking at three large oil paintings