By William Brown
Our New Year’s resolutions and how well we follow through with them have more to do with our community and the support we have around us than our own individual strength and willpower.
Don’t get me wrong: The determination of the individual is vital; however, without a reliable person or group of persons having our backs, we are more prone to let our goals and good intentions fall by the wayside.
New Year’s resolutions are special because we’re all in on them together. Most everyone makes resolutions, whether they want to eat more healthily, stop using single-use plastic, finish organizing the garage, spend more time with their family, or volunteer for their favorite causes. Each resolution has great value to the person working toward the goal. But there is something remarkable about the collective energy of all of us working toward our best selves at the same time.
This past September, I took a fall that tore muscle off of my shoulder bone. The accident was painful, but the recovery was more challenging. Not only did I have to recover from the surgery but also from my relentless schedule. Prior to the fall, I charged through the day at 100 miles a minute from dawn to late into the evening.
I used to take my independence for granted. After the fall, and particularly after the surgery, I had to slow down to take care of myself. I had to learn to gracefully depend on the care of others, most notably my wife, Karen.
As I plan ahead for my New Year’s resolutions, to incorporate exercise into my daily routine, I must acknowledge the support I will receive as I work to rebuild muscle mass. Not only will Karen have my back but so will my friends and colleagues. My community will want to see me succeed. And I, too, will offer support to my family, friends and colleagues as they pursue their own resolutions.
In acknowledging all the support available to us, let us also acknowledge the people of Greenville who go without any: the people who, like us, have goals, good intentions and life-changing aspirations but who lack our good fortune. How might we support them as they move to become their best selves? Since New Year’s resolutions are more likely to be achieved under certain circumstances, how might we provide the right circumstances for others?
William W. Brown is founder and board chair of Legacy Early College. He can be reached at [email protected].