Every year, most of us make New Year’s resolutions. We will lose those 20 unwanted pounds, go to the gym every week or work out every day, and quit smoking. We tell ourselves that this year, we will eat better, work harder, clean the house more often, organize the garage, yada, yada, yada.
Well, most of us don’t. For those of you who are diligent, earnest perfectionists who follow through, we salute you.
How did we get started on this crazy tradition anyway?
About 4000 years ago, the ancient Babylonians decided to celebrate the new year and that, for some reason, we should resolve to do something to better ourselves in the new year. They promised their gods that they would pay all their debts in the new year and return stuff they had borrowed from their friends and neighbors. Lofty ideals, right? This likely morphed into what we now know as our New Year’s resolutions. The Babylonians believed that if they kept their word, their pagan gods would favor them and help them in the new year. If not, they would fall out of favor, and bad things would happen to them. While we don’t fear great retribution if we continue to eat fast food or never clean the garage, we might feel slightly disappointed in ourselves when we get to February. Our resolution is in the proverbial waste basket.
So, Marshall, what can we do to make it easier to keep resolutions?
How about we make ones that are easier to stick to?
Living in a small town (and yes, we are a very small town but one with big shoulders), we have the opportunity to resolve to do some things that will work for the greater good of us all.
Resolve to STAY LOCAL!
Yes, things may be cheaper on Amazon, and they will drop the stuff at your door. But your local stores lose out when you do that. Do you realize that when you shop at local stores, you help them pay their rent on their storefront and mortgage on their homes in our great little town? It means that their kids might have a better life. Those kids go to school with your kids or your friends and neighbors’ kids.
Spending money locally means better lives for those people and those they serve… which is also yours. When our local businesses thrive, we can do more for the community. Local businesses are the support system for the whole town. They step up when we ask them to sponsor events, give away things at one of our many cool happenings, set up booths, and help us all do the things we love about Marshall. They donate time, goods, and often money. They participate in everything that makes us the fantastic little town we are. So… buy from them even if it might cost a tiny bit more for something.
Support our local churches.
You may not be religious, but that doesn’t mean you can’t support the churches that help people in our town when in need. While you are meeting one of your resolutions to get organized, there may be some clothes you can donate to a clothing drive. You can buy canned goods and non-perishables and ask the churches if they have families that could use some help. Reach out; they will be happy to hear from you.
Honor our first responders and the people who keep our town running.
If you see a police officer, an EMT, or a firefighter out and about, thank them for their service. Yes, we want to do that for our military members, but do you thank nurses, teachers, city employees, the people who work tirelessly for less than stellar pay? Do that. That’s an easy resolution to keep. All it takes is a friendly word or a kind action, which will mean a lot to those folks. They deserve it.
Spread kindness and practice gratitude.
You live in or around the great town of Marshall, Illinois. Be grateful for that alone. Show your gratitude for all the good things in your life by being kinder and nicer. Things may not be perfect, but there is always something to be grateful for. Be thankful for the little things and spread that joy. Kindness costs nothing. It’s easy to practice; a lot easier than losing 20 pounds, quitting smoking, or giving up fast food.
Let’s make New Year’s resolutions easy this year.
Happy 2024, Marshall! Let’s make it the best year ever!!