As 2018 begins, we’ve all probably thought about new routines for the new year start to think about new routines for the new year. Resolutions about exercise, diet, finances and other things all come with a new routine. Every morning, I think, I will wake up at 5 a.m. and run for three miles before I have to get my son ready for school. Or, I will start using one of those meal-planning apps so that I can create a weekly dinner menu for my family. The greatest way to ensure that something gets done is to make it a part of your daily or weekly routine.
These routines can be about service as well. Growing up, my parents had a weekly routine on Sundays. My father would go to the grocery store and buy deli meat, bread and fruit. My mother would bake her unbelievable chocolate chip cookies from scratch and start to prepare sandwiches Sunday evening. By Monday morning, all the lunches would be packed — complete cookies—and my father would deliver them to Manna House on his way to his office. Manna House serves the poor and homeless a nutritious meal seven days a week, 365 days a year. Their program serves more than 60,000 meals a year, primarily to the homeless in midtown Baltimore.
My parents began doing this as a part of a charity project for my youngest sister’s bat mitzvah, but it became part of our family’s routine. In the winter, my mother would knit hats to put in the lunch bags. Some weeks, she would make brownies instead of cookies to put in the lunches. (Some weeks she made both.) The key to my parents being able to sustain this practice for over a decade is commitment and routine. It is just part of the list of things they do to prepare each week.
So, if you resolved to be a better person in 2018 — to do more for your community and participate in more volunteer activity — consider projects that are easy to make a part of your routine. Find something that is a part of your preparation for the week so that it is easy to remember and to incorporate into your schedule.
Before you know it, it becomes more than a routine — it becomes part of who you are. Happy New Year.