By Angela Henderson  Executive Director Child Advocates of Northeast Oklahoma

Here we are, January something or another, and most of us have already jumped ship on our New Year’s resolution for the year. “This year I’m going to eat healthy and actually use my gym membership.” “This is the year that we get our budget on track, tackle our debt, and actually save for the future.” “This is the year that…” Why is it that each year we set these lofty goals only to fail before we even reach the end of the first month?

According Forbes.com, only 25 percent of people will still be committed to their resolution by January’s end (if you’re in the 25 percent, congratulations!) and only 8% will make it to the end of the year. So what is the disconnect between our aspirations and our long-term buy-in?

Planning experts will tell you the problem is with the size of the goal we attempt to bite off and chew at once. I have heard people say they want to read 24 books this year. That’s a great goal and it’s only two books a month. However, most struggle to even start the first one. The goal is too daunting to even attempt.

Then there’s the group that wants to become more financially fit. Again, this is an admirable goal that we should all consider but, how many of us operate day-to-day without a household budget? The goal is worthy. Execution is the problem.

So what are we to do? Experts suggest that we develop a plan of bite-size, attainable mini-goals if we truly want to make it beyond the first month of the year, let alone get to Dec. 31. Instead of “I’m going to lose 50 pounds this year” we need to focus on “I’m not going to eat out this week and I’m going to the gym for a half hour on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.”

“Small daily improvements over time lead to stunning results.” – Robin Sharma

The difference is in mindset. We need positive feedback and encouragement. We need the small victories every week that are the foundation upon which other goals can be built. Robin Sharma says “Small daily improvements over time lead to stunning results.”

The second hurdle we must overcome to achieve something great this year is to forget about our past mistakes. Have you ever given up on your goal because of one missed day? It seems like every year I make it a goal to read through the Bible, but then Jan. 3 comes and I forget, or I was too lazy, or I was too busy, or I… One missed day often derails our entire goal. Who says you can’t finish just because you missed one day?

This is why Jon Acuff devoted an entire chapter of his book “Finish” to this failure. Acuff’s chapter entitled “The Day After Perfect” asks “What do we do the day after we’ve ruined our goal?” The answer is often the opposite of what we actually do. What we should do is pick up right where we left off. In reality, even after a missed day or a derailment of the goal train, we are still doing more than the year before. If we would only get back to center, in time, our small leaps over hurdles will accumulate into giant bounds over obstacles previously unimaginable.

So, how does this connect to a non-profit whose mission is to rewrite the stories of abused and neglected children throughout northeast Oklahoma? Most of us aspire to be better citizens this year than we were the year before. But how do we actually attain this goal?

First, simply liking and following our Facebook page, @CANO4Kids, does more than you could ever imagine. It may be hard to believe that such a simple step could actually make a difference, but it really does. Every time we run an online promotion for an upcoming event, training, or fundraiser, you and your Facebook friends will be in the loop. Each Facebook follower adds an additional 338 people (the average number of friends Facebook users have) who hear about our cause.

Second, take your commitment to the next level and give of your time. If you are serious about giving back to your community and truly making a difference in the lives of kids, we are the volunteer opportunity for you. Check out our upcoming trainings at http://www.cano-casa.com/training/ and commit to one this year. Last year, we told the stories of 239 kids; however, there are more stories to be told. Will you help us ensure that no child’s story is left untold?

Finally, donate. We devote a lot of time and the best available resources to training our volunteers. Volunteers are the backbone of our organization and it is crucial that they know the ins and outs of the court system, family dynamics, and child welfare. Would you take the next step in supporting us by giving of your hard-earned money so we can continue providing the best resources and sending the best people to speak for children who need it the most?

I hope you are taking this year’s goals one bite at a time. We are thankful for everyone in the communities we serve. There are some generous and big-hearted people in northeast Oklahoma.

Together, we can rewrite the stories of every abused and neglected child in northeast Oklahoma!

— By Angela Henderson

Executive Director

Child Advocates of Northeast Oklahoma