A Winning Resolution! Resolution shmezolution!

Gary Jimenez is the Chief Development Officer for Jumpstart. He oversees the organization’s fundraising, communications, and alumni initiatives.

One of my friends told me the other day that their New Year’s resolution was to win the lottery. (Yes, this is a true story.) It seems that when the potential lottery payout grows, people like to jump on the bandwagon and buy tickets; lots of tickets! Well, the Mega Millions lottery jackpot grew to over $100 million earlier this month and the only reason I know that is because I received multiple emails from friends who wanted to go in on tickets together to increase our odds of winning. While I admit that it is fun to dream about, I know that the odds of winning are about as likely as teaching my refrigerator how to marinade and grill chicken for dinner tonight!

Over the past month I’ve been to several holiday parties and dinners. I love spending time with friends and colleagues, both old and new, chatting about the craziness of the holidays, work, New Year’s Eve plans, and inevitably, New Year’s resolutions. I began to think about the dozens of resolutions that have come up in conversations every year: Eat healthier, exercise more, don’t let the mail pile up, save money, volunteer more, pay off bills, visit relatives more frequently, eliminate stress, and in my friends’ case, even win the lottery! Do any of these sound familiar to you?!

When I think about the evolution of New Year’s resolutions, I am reminded of Jumpstart’s core values of learning, determination, connection, joy, and kindness.

We set resolutions with the best of intentions which brings me to what’s been on my mind: Are resolutions short term or long term goals? Should they be permanent or temporary? Do they need to begin on January 1st or can I pick another date? And why do we even feel compelled to have resolutions? Well, I did a little research and found that New Year’s resolutions originated way back in the Roman Empire with the intent of being good to one another. As Christianity became the official religion of the Romans in the 4th century, the practice of resolutions became more about prayer, reflection, and fasting. Fast forward to the 18th Century, the Puritans of colonial America viewed New Year’s as a time to reflect on the past year, plan for the new year, and strive to be better people.

When I think about the evolution of New Year’s resolutions, I am reminded of Jumpstart’s core values of learning, determination, connection, joy, and kindness. These are tenets by which most of us live our everyday lives. So if we get back to the root of resolutions, do we really need them?

You see, I’ve never really been a fan of New Year’s resolutions. However, I love to set goals and I love to see the progress made towards those goals. When I think about Jumpstart and the learning that takes place from one session to the next or from the beginning of the year to the end, that’s what excites me. Learning to write the letters of the alphabet and eventually your name is proof that our Jumpstart Corps members work diligently to help children achieve amazing results.

No goal is too small. Whether it’s learning to write or sign your name in your younger years, balancing your checkbook as an adult, or even taking a much needed vacation in your older years. And if you happen to win the lottery, having mastered those skills early on will certainly come in handy. Now I’m off to buy a lottery ticket…because you never know!

Happy New Year!

Together, we can help all children build the key language and literacy skills they need to take on the world.

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