Making New Year’s resolutions about helping others

What if making a New Year’s resolution meant committing to mentoring a child or volunteering with a charity? A local campaign called Resolution13 asks people to give it a try.


Wharton School graduate Justin Reilly took up the challenge. He wrote a poem a week for an entire year to draw attention to causes like the “It Gets Better Project,” which produces videos trying to inspire hope in gay and lesbian kids. He named the project 52 Reasons to Breathe.

Reilly’s part of a growing roster of individuals who’ve embraced the goal of Resolution13. Last year, the project was called Resolution12; before that, 11.

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Co-founder Chaz Howard is chaplain at the University of Pennsylvania. He says participants publicly announce on a website their service-minded aspirations for the new year.

From his office on Locust Walk, Howard picked out one example.  “Someone wrote last year, ‘I resolve to smile more, both at friends and strangers. So many people walk around with a scowl. I resolve to walk around with a smile.’” 

“The thrill for me has always been seeing people discern what they want to resolve,” Howard said. “Seeing people’s passions turn into actions. It’s awesome. It’s wonderful to see that happen.”

Howard says it’s much easier to keep our word when we choose something meaningful to others, instead of mundane promises such as losing weight.





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