Resolve to make the world better


Sometimes I wonder if we have the spirit of the New Year resolution all wrong. For the most part, the most popular resolutions are all about improving the way the world views me.

Some of the resolutions that immediately come to mind include lose weight, get a better and higher-paying job, quit smoking, drink less, become more organized and take a trip.

Granted, many of these squat in the genuine personal-improvement camp. But these goals likely also include the desire of other people’s favorable opinion.

Out of curiosity, I got on the Internet to see what the Top 10 2011 New Year’s Resolutions were. I was a little surprised.

In addition to many of the resolutions I just listed, this compilation for the new year also included the desire to help others.

It was interesting, I thought, that out of all of these “improve the way the world looks at me” resolutions shined an “improve the way I look at the world” resolution.

I’ve decided that my resolution for 2011 should also be to improve the way I look at the world. I may be slightly heavier than Michelle Obama would appreciate, and I do need to work to make more money before my wedding this summer, but I think these ideals are better objectives than resolutions.

It’s my philosophy that I could lose a few pounds and make a few bucks, but still not have any changed views of the world. Because, let’s face it, our earth is generally broadcast and presented as a dark and scary place.

Take a second to close your eyes (and not read the next paragraph) and think about the top three news events that you remember from 2010.

Perhaps your list includes the Haiti and Chili earthquakes. Maybe the first thing that popped into your head was the massive oil spill that polluted the Gulf Coast and beyond. Did you lose a job? Did you have to go through one of these new airport X-rays? Perhaps the end of your year was tainted by the news of North Korea attacking South Korea.

Sometimes when I watch the evening news or log into Google to catch up on my current events, I’m scared to step outside the door.

Ultimately, I have to ask: Did your account of 2010 include any positive items? Last year really did contain some exciting and uplifting events.

For you, these may include specific victories at the Winter Olympics. Do you remember the successful rescue of all 33 Chilean miners? Or perhaps the idea of peace among rivals shines through when considering the Florida pastor who opted not to burn a pile of Korans on Sept. 11.

Maybe you are excited about our military becoming more accepting and open. How about the way our world banded together and responded with speed and compassion when responding to the Haitian earthquake?

It is for this reason that my New Year’s resolution is to focus more on the good news and become less cynical of the world both overseas or in my own backyard. I plan to be more open to differing ideas and less critical of leaders I might not have chosen.

And I invite you to join me.

I’m certainly not calling for us to become less aware of the bad things, and I am certainly not asking us to become apathetic about bad news. Instead, let’s think of ways we could make a difference and become more empathetic toward the people affected. Don’t dwell on the bad; celebrate the good within the bad.

When you watch the evening news, don’t switch channels when the stories get less exciting, because generally these are the less-advertised stories of good news. Look for additional good news on the Internet, and discuss the good things with your friends.

I started doing this last year, and already I feel more connected to the people we share this planet with, and more happy in general. There’s still a lot of work ahead of me, and I hope that you’ll join me in this resolution.

Let’s share our possessions, share our friendship and share our faith. Let’s make our New Year’s resolution to improve the way we look at the world.


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