February can be a rough month for New Year's resolutions. By now, you might have grown weary of the cold weather or early dusk, being secluded indoors, and having less contact with neighbors and friends. Cabin fever and it's bigger, sadder second cousin, seasonal affective disorder (SAD), make it easy to derail the best-laid plans meant to keep your resolutions on track.
But take heart – you're not alone. Fewer than half the people who make resolutions have already found it hard to stick to them by the end of January.1
Fortunately, these late-winter maladies don't have to spell doom for your New Year's promise to improve yourself. You can recharge your resolutions with a burst of time-tested home remedy: generosity.
Being generous is a healthy choice
As it turns out, helping others might be the key ingredient in revitalizing your spirits. Generosity is an expression of two other traits, compassion and altruism. Both have deep links to helping us live healthier lives.
Helping family, friends and neighbors in a tangible way can provide a boost to your brain and overall fitness. It's been found to reduce the risk of cellular inflammation,2 which, according to modern medicine, is a root cause of cancer and other illnesses. People who live with a lot of stress tend to have a greater risk of experiencing inflammatory symptoms.
Being generous also has been found to reduce the risk of premature death in older couples by half, compared to couples who did not offer support to others. Social contact and physical activity are important ingredients in living longer, healthier lives.3,4 For elderly volunteers, giving time and energy in a faith-based setting has an increased benefit over being involved with secular activities.5
Spur growth: Give of yourself
Regardless of your age, helping others is a powerful way to lift your mood and help you fight stress and depression.2 And seeing how your generosity in action makes an impact on others helps you stay inspired. When you do good, you feel better. When you feel good, the spark to stick to your resolutions is reignited.
Don't let your February rut get the best of your goals for self-improvement. Even the most motivated of us veer off course once in a while. Get out there and give of your time, talents and treasures. You'll be strengthening your community – and your resolve to keep the promises you made to yourself on New Year's Day.
Two resolutions we can help you with right now
Top New Year's resolutions include losing weight, making better financial decisions, quitting smoking, spending more time with family and doing more good deeds for others.1
Thrivent can help guide your Wise With Money Journey so you can do more to support the people and causes you care about most.