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New Year Resolutions like you’ve never seen them before…

At Concern UK, we can count on one hand the amount of times that we've made it to February with our New Year Resolutions still intact. And we bet you’re the same. Which is why we wanted to provide you with New Year Resolutions like you've never seen them before...

Sunrise at Lake Malawi, Chintheche Inn, Nkhotakota, Malawi.

The phrase ‘new year, new me’ lingers across January much like the smell of Aunt Cynthia’s Reindeer socks. So this year, we thought we’d try something different. Join us in making resolutions that you will not only keep for longer than your Christmas cake – but also that will help some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people. Let’s take a look at some of the more ambitious resolutions that have been made in the past…and come up with some more doable and productive alternatives instead.

Old resolution 1: Eat less food


We all do it. Endless Christmas dinners, tipple and mince pies leave us feeling fat, frumpy and fearing the jean cupboard by the time January comes around. And so we make the decision to lose the blubber, often by means of eating less.

New resolution 1: Grow your own food

Instead, why not start your own vegetable patch and grow your own to reduce your food miles? Even a window box with some lettuce leaves and cherry tomato plants is a good start. In many of the countries we work in, families with limited food resources often eat the same simple meals in order to fill their stomachs. But these meals won't provide the nutrients that are especially important for growing children. That's why Concern provides the seeds and training needed for families to grow their own kitchen garden at home. This will provide families with nutritious vegetables such as spinach and tomatoes that can enrich their diet. So, if you don't want to do the same in your home, why not buy one for someone else that really needs it. 


Victoria Macumi tending to her kitchen garden in Burundi


Old resolution 2: Join the gym

Another old favourite. You can’t quite shift the guilt that the exposing ‘health app’ provokes upon revealing your average daily steps achieved (or not achieved…) so you join a gym and sign up for a gym class, or two, a day. That is, until you realise that this is completely unsustainable and for the next 11 months a mysterious £40 a month is taken out of your bank account…because, you know, you’ll start going at some point!

New resolution 2: Donate to Through to 2

Instead of feeling bad about wasting money on something you don’t use each month, you could feel great about giving children the building blocks of a healthy, happy life. The first two years of a child’s life are essential for their future. If babies don’t have the proper food and care during this special time, the effects can be devastating. Nearly half of child deaths worldwide are linked to malnutrition. For those who do survive, many must live with the consequences: they are likely to be small for their age, perform less well at school and be more susceptible to illness. Scrap your unused gym membership and help a baby through to 2 instead. 

You could help babies through to 2 - Concern Worldwide

Old resolution 3: Get a new hobby

Wake, work, eat, work, eat, TV, sleep, repeat. It can get a bit monotonous, can’t it? That’s why, ever year, we tell ourselves we’re going to get a new hobby. But whether it’s soap carving, stamp collecting, competitive dog grooming or historical re-enactment – we bet our bottom dollar that they don’t last until Spring. 

New resolution 3: Compete for Concern

Why not make free exercise your new hobby? Last year this teacher was so motivated by our work that he got himself fit enough to run the London Marathon to raise money for Concern. However, if the idea of running 26 miles induces dread instead, why not take on a half marathon or the London Triathlon which you can do in a relay team, meaning you can create a special bond with two others who want to transform the lives of the poorest people. 

Heroic Triathletes

Old resolution 4: Turn off Tinder and talk to people in real life

Talk…*gulp*…to people in real life? *GULP* 
Today, the idea of meeting someone in real life is almost as farfetched as the thought that we’ll get a white Christmas. Millennial mind-sets are taking over and there’s not much we can do about it. So, if the idea of turning Tinder off and getting talking to people in real life is too much to bear, we have a nice way of transitioning back into the ‘traditional’ way of socialising…

New resolution: Become a community fundraiser

Why not turn what you love doing into a fundraising event to help vulnerable families facing hunger in some of the toughest places in the world. Dog-lover? Walk those pooches for a £10 donation. Great baker? Sell your cupcakes for cash. Host with the most? Invite your friends over for a dinner party that will make a difference.

Read our ABC guide to fundraising ideas. 

Mia and Grace fundraised for Concern

Old resolution 5: Spend more time with family

Whether it’s your mum’s cooking, your dad’s jokes or simply the warm fuzzy feeling that spending the festive time of the year with family and friends brings, this is one of the most common New Year’s resolutions. And while we are totally 100% in support of it, we figured you could also make some new family and friends…by…

New resolution 5: Volunteer (bookshop, charity shop NI)

…volunteering in one of our charity shops. Currently we have two book shops and one charity shop in Northern Ireland. Derry’s bookshop, Holywood’s bookshop and Ballycastle’s charity shop are frequently looking for volunteers so get in touch. And if you want to hear from a volunteer how much satisfaction he gets from helping out in one of the bookshops, watch this video

Staff and volunteers at Concern's Derry bookshop

Old resolution 6: Sort out your finances 

Improving finances is a resolution that about 14% of people make every year. And we bet it’s about 13.9% of the same people that make it again the following year.

Saving is hard. It may be an unexpected bill or a holiday of a lifetime – whatever it is, we seem to rarely manage to hold onto as many pennies as we’d like. So we’ve got an option that will not only hep your bank account, but also some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable!

New resolution 6: Waste less food

We throw away between 30-50% of all food produced. In a world where one in nine people go to bed hungry, that is scandalous. Save money and waste less food by making another meal out of your leftovers. Love Food Hate Waste has lots of ways you can make the most out of the food you buy. It’s good for the environment and it really helps the bank balance. Think of the money you will save by eating leftovers from the night before for lunch each day! 

Waste less food, save more money

Old resolution 7: Manage stress better

Early morning meditation was always rather optimistic, and Susan at work (although an excellent dancer) continues to cause rapidly rising blood pressure, making stress management a recurring resolution that never makes it to Valentine’s Day.

New resolution 7: Change your career

Perhaps your near-constant feeling of stress is down to not getting enough job satisfaction. If so perhaps you need to change your career, for good. Not for good, as in forever, but work for good causes, work to create positive change. Perhaps you sign lots of petitions, write to your MP regularly, shop with your social impact in mind and donate to good causes, but perhaps it’s not enough. Perhaps you need to make that leap. Idealist Careers has 17 tips on transitioning to the non-profit sector. 

And there you have it! 2019 New Year’s Resolutions made slightly more interesting, and much more helpful.