We are already well into January, and most of us have made our resolutions and are shakily trying to make them stick. But have you thought about including a bit of charity work in your plans to help you stay motivated and keep going?
We’ve looked at some of the most popular New Year’s Resolutions, and how you can achieve your own goals while helping others. We think that is what you call a Win Win.
1. Get fit
One of the best motivators for getting fit is knowing that by doing so, you’ll be supporting your favourite charity and helping others to have a better life. Sign up to a race, get family and friends to donate to your Charity Choice fundraising page, and suddenly you’ve got a real reason to get those running shoes on and your heart rate up.
2. Save money
The Money Charity have lots of great tips and resources that can help - plan your budget and track your spending with their handy spendometer app and downloadable budget planner. The Cititzens Advice Bureau can also give advice if you are facing problems with debt, benefits, or employment.
3. Do something for charity
Well this one is very easy! Charity Choice can help you to find the type of giving that is most suited to your lifestyle - browse our website for different options and see what you feel most inspired to do. The most direct way of course is simply to search our directory of charities and then make a donation. One way to make it more fun would be to choose a different charity every month and then check their websites to find out exactly how your donation will be helping others. You could even set up a ‘charity club’ with friends, which would work in the same way as a book club – each month you could meet up over coffee to talk about the charity you’ve chose to support that month and why that cause is important to you. A great way to find out about some charities you might not have heard of, and share the issues closest to your heart.
4. Go travelling
It shouldn’t be hard to do something that is meant to be fun, but sometimes we end up visiting the same old places every holiday rather than broadening our horizons and going somewhere new. If you sign up for an overseas charity trek, you’ll not only get to do something totally different, but you’ll also be able to do so with a group of like-minded people while doing something to help others. We can’t think of a more refreshing holiday idea!
5. Give up smoking or drinking
We are already two weeks into Dryathlon for Cancer Research, but there are lots of other fundraising events throughout the year that can help you stay on track with your health goals. You could try Stoptober to give up smoking, or Go Sober for October (for Macmillan Cancer Care). If you don’t want to wait that long, it is really easy to set up your own challenge, or do one with friends. And of course it doesn’t have to be cutting out booze or fags – if sweet treats are your weakness then you can easily set up a No Chocolate Challenge by yourself or with a team of supportive friends!
6. Learn to bake
With the Great British Bake-Off gaining a cult following over the past few years, it seems everyone these days is inspired to learn to perfect their pastries and get a bit of dough. It can sometimes be a problem finding enough test subjects to eat all your baked goods though… so why not hold a cake sale or coffee morning for charity and line up some willing test subjects for your baking experiments?
7. Declutter and get organised
Forget spring cleaning, the start of a new year is when lots of us decide to de-clutter our homes and get more organised with our lives. Instead of throwing away your perfectly good things or wasting hours of precious time selling on eBay, think about donating your things to charity. Clothes, books and homewares are always welcome at charity shops, while larger items such as furniture, TVs and equipment could be listed on the Charity Choice donations board – so charities can find exactly what they are looking for and you know your things are going on to a good home!
8. Run a marathon
The London Marathon is in March, and there are still charity places left! If you don’t quite have time to fit in training for London, there are lots of others taking place around the UK and Europe. Think about Paris, Blackpool, or Brighton. And don't forget it is really easy to set up a fundraising page on Charity Choice for whatever type of run you decide to do.
9. Learn a new skill
Whether you want to take better photos, increase your confidence at public speaking, try out some building work or even learn a new language, there will be a volunteering opportunity that will suit you, and help you to learn something new while also helping others. You might also want to get more practice with a skill you already have – one easy way is to offer your skills on the Charity Choice volunteering board and let charities get in touch with you!
10. Spend more time with family and friends
Over the holidays we all spend so much time with family and friends that we remember we should appreciate them more, and resolve to spend more time together. But gradually over the year other things get in the way, until we find ourselves at Christmas again. So why not make a regular date to volunteer together this year? This means you get to do all the other things you’d like – whether it is getting outdoors, meeting new people, gaining skills or just helping others – at the same time as spending quality time with the people you love most. Warm fuzzy feelings galore.
11. Try an extreme physical challenge
If you’ve always wanted to skydive or bungee jump but your courage fails you at the last moment, signing up to do it as a charity challenge makes it much harder to chicken out at the last minute. There are regular organised challenge events that take place throughout the year, or you could arrange your own. Just set up a fundraising page on Charity Choice and take the plunge!
12. Enjoy more live music
Volunteering can also help you to save money while doing your favourite activities – for instance, loads of charities including Oxfam, Shelter and ActionAid have places for volunteers at some of the UK’s most popular music festivals. You can also do training with St John’s Ambulance to be a first aid volunteer, which has the added benefit of giving you a new skill. Local arts events like film festivals or even the Edinburgh Festival (yes they are a charity too!) are also always looking for volunteers, and it is a great way to see some amazing acts for free while also getting involved in your community.
Want to find out more about these different ways to give, while achieving your own goals too? Browse the Charity Choice website for inspiration!