3 ways to change the world if you have a day job
If you’re anything like me, right now you’re thinking about what you want to accomplish this year. It’s time to take stock of where you’ve been, where you’re going and what you want to achieve over the next 12 months. While some like to call these “resolutions,” I like to call them “intentions.” That’s because with resolutions, it’s all about the outcome. It’s absolute. Intentions are more about the journey, so if something isn’t working, it’s easy to pivot and take a different path.
I used to get to the end of the year and think, “I wish I did more that mattered.” And while I set out to change the world, there was never enough time. I’m a mom. A wife. I work. And I travel for my job. And although I’m fortunate that what I do for a living already transforms lives, I was setting personal goals that were completely out of my reach. And then I was hard on myself when I didn’t accomplish what I sent out to do. Since then, I’ve incorporated the following 3 ways to set myself up for New Year’s intentions success. And what I’ve found is that big change is possible!
- Don’t set insane goals.
This first one may seem a little obvious, but it took a long time for me to realize I couldn’t do it all. To accomplish something big, you have to start out with realistic goals that are attainable. While we all have dreams of making this huge impact and changing the world, it’s hard to do when you have a day job.
Breaking down your original idea into smaller, bite-sized pieces can create big change:
- Choose. Select ONE (or maybe 2) issues to focus on this year.
- Define smaller steps. Volunteer 10 times this year. Write your elected officials four times. Donate $500 to different organizations.
- Write it down. Reams of research shows that putting your intentions down on paper, sharing them with others, speaking them out loud, makes it far more likely that you achieve them.
- Think about out of the ordinary ways to engage.
While most of us jump to volunteer or give, there are also some not quite so obvious ways to work making difference into our daily lives. Below are a few examples:
- Invite a match: If you make a charitable gift, challenge everyone you know to do so as well by stating that you will match their donation (up to the limit you set). It will help spread awareness of the issue you care about and research shows that a friend asking is the #1 reason why people give.
- Share the ripple effect: Combine your issue with your own business goals. For example, a realtor recently hosted a party in support of Street Business School. She invited 50 women, raised a considerable amount of money for our organization, and spent the evening with potential clients.
- Offer up your superpower: Incorporate your volunteering into your daily schedule. If you’re an expert writer, event planner, graphic designer or have some other special skill, consider volunteering your time doing what you do on a regular basis. It makes it a lot easier to jump from one task to another and you might be able to fit it in to your regular workday.
- Advocate for your issue: Advocacy can be a powerful tool to take any cause to the next level. Have your book club read a book on the topic or host an evening event where you talk about the importance of your issue. Then write a note to your elected officials!
- Leverage unusual resources: Think about resources within your own organization that can help further a cause. One organization I know dropped the SWAG they were buying to give out at their booth at conferences, and instead used the funds to donate to relevant charities chosen by people stopping by their booth. And a friend convinced her organization to use the money they previously spent on focus groups to hire NGOs to identify and run programs.
- Gamifying your Resolutions: It’s about having fun.
Let’s face it, thinking about changing the world can be exhausting, especially when you have a day job. And, achieving your New Year’s intentions isn’t always the easiest thing to do. That’s why it’s important to align your world-changing activities with great incentives. Yep, I’m talking about Gamifying your New Year’s Resolutions!
You can take this in one of two directions:
One is taking things you already love to do and tying those to making a difference. If you love to read, send $10 to an organization every time you finish a book. Like to cook? Host a dinner party and spend some time talking about the issue you care about, or sharing some written information with guests at their dinner setting. Are you a dog lover? Host a party for your friends and their dogs and have everyone bring items to donate to the local shelter.
The other is to create incentives every time you hit a goal. If you want to volunteer more time, say that you will have lunch with a friend after each morning of volunteering. For every ten people you share your cause with, get yourself a latte/pedicure/night out with the guys.
It’s a lot more fun when you can celebrate each milestone as you move forward on your path toward changing the world.
In 2020, it’s my intention to have fun while I change the world!
Devin Hibbard is the founder and CEO of Street Business School—an entrepreneurial training program that helps women living in poverty go from an average of $1.35 to $4.19 per day by starting their own small businesses. Through a social franchise scaling model, this award-winning non-profit is now training organizations globally to deliver this proven poverty-eradication training, enabling the people they serve to triple their income and lift their families out of poverty, one small business at a time.