5 Things Social Entrepreneurs Can Teach Us About Making Better New Year’s Resolutions

Hands up, how many of you have successfully completed all of yours New Year’s resolutions for 2014?

Often, many of our New Year’s resolutions don’t even survive until the end of January. So we’ve decided to pull together some of the lessons we’ve learned over the year on how to approach our goals. Working with a group of successful social entrepreneurs, we’ve learned a lot. Here are some of the lessons they can teach us about making better New Year’s resolutions that really make a difference.

Start with passion

All success stories start with a passion, a genuine concern and with someone who cares. Write down what really matters to you before turning it into a New Year’s resolution.

When Michael Kelly started Grow It Yourself, it was not about starting a big movement, about getting 50.000 people behind his idea or about transforming Ireland into a big community of food growers through single GIY groups. It was just about his concern that the garlic he was about to put into his trolley in the supermarket had travelled all the way from China. It started with a personal belief and an interest in changing his own food consumption habits.

That’s where you should start. As Simon Sinek taught us in 2014, “Start with Why.”. If you know why you should do or stop doing something, you’re on the right track.

Start small

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. CoderDojo, the computer programming club for kids, has now spread across 50 countries, today with more than 500 active groups, around 250 of which are in Ireland. It all started with one computer club in the National Software Centre in Cork led by the 17 year old James Whelton. He just wanted to get together with peers to code and there was overwhelming interest. When he met entrepreneur and philanthropist Bill Liao, he realised what the idea could become. (Read more about James Whelton’s story in the Irish Times)

You are more likely to achieve big goals if you start with a small step. Put that step on your New Year’s resolution list and the rest will follow.

Find a buddy

The story of James Whelton and Bill Liao is not far away from how Foodcloud began. Starting something new is always easier if you find someone who shares your passion and will walk that road with you. Foodcloud, a project to fight food waste, started when Iseult Ward and Aoibheann O’Brien met for the first time. They began by talking about the fact that thirty percent of all food produced ends up in the bin (read this Time Magazine article for the whole story). Since then, the two young entrepreneurs have developed an app that connects businesses who have too much food with charities who can give food to those who have too little.

Whatever it is you want to achieve this year, you’ll find it more satisfying if you join forces with someone else.

Or even better, get a whole team of friends behind it

Now it’s getting fun. Make a New Year’s resolution that you don’t need to start alone, but instead share it with your friends and build a whole community around it. The idea behind it can be simple. Wouldn’t it be great to have a safe playground for our kids nearby? The solution might be something like Kaboom!, a community programme to build playgrounds founded by Darell Hammond that can be picked up by anyone. All you need is a commitment from a group of people in your community. With a team vision like this on your New Year’s resolution list, you’ll be off and running in no time.

Say it loud

Articulate very clearly what you want to do this year. Don’t worry, you don’t need to jump on a stage and do a TED talk about it. But do tell your friends about it, put it in big letters on your fridge door, or even make it the header of your Facebook page. Make a clear commitment that prevents you from sneaking out of it easily before even taking the first step.

Still stuck for ideas? Help is at hand! We have prepared a single New Year’s resolution that will make it even easier for you to stick at it in 2015.

ChangeX’s 2015 resolution to make a difference in your community can be undertaken by anyone, anywhere. Simply sign up and we’ll help you achieve at least one meaningful resolution in 2015. From the first easy step, to getting something awesome done that your whole community will benefit from, we’ll help. So what are you waiting for? Join the ChangeX shared New Year’s resolution!


This post first appeared on the ChangeX Blog.

Changex.org is a website of proven innovations from across the world. Our mission is to build community wellbeing by unleashing the potential of changemakers everywhere.

ChangeX allows you to discover proven ideas and provides all the information and support you need to get these ideas up and running in your local community.

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