As we round out the month of January, how many of you have stuck to those resolutions? How many of you are actually going to the gym, eating healthier and curbing that foul mouth? I usually start the new year off strong, but come mid-month, I’m over whatever I resolved to change and fall back into old habits.

Well perhaps we are all making the wrong kinds of promises, selfish promises if you will. The past few weeks, I have overheard several people complain about who is running for president, debating the real reason why Will Smith is boycotting an awards show and how bad certain roads are.

The only way to change the outcomes of these conversations is to do something about them. Talk is cheap unless you are talking to the right people and are actually working toward an end game. Registering to vote and getting educated on the issues our potential commander in chief will face is a good start. It’s all fun and games until Mr. “You’re fired” is in the White House and calling all the shots.

Even with two mobile 1-year-olds, sticking to a plan has its obstacles, but making excuses doesn’t help anyone excel. Instead of vowing to drop the rest of the baby weight or saying sayonara to gluten, again, I want to be a better person. I want to pay things forward and help others. I want to make my community a better place to live. I want my kids to grow up in a better world.

It’s so easy to get wrapped up in yourself, as you cannot pour from an empty cup, but if you woke up this morning in a warm bed, had something hot to eat and put on fresh clothes, you are doing a heck of a lot better than most people.

Take a look at the people of Flint, Mich. Residents knew something was wrong and they rallied for change. Their concerns were dismissed by countless people of authority and power. In the words of Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, the government failed them at the federal, state and local level. However, Flint’s residents pushed and pushed, and although it took way longer than it should have, help is on the way.

Actors across all races rallied together to get The Academy, which is 93 percent white, to seriously look at the way it and the movie industry conducts business. Others are joining the diversity conversation and are making a social statement about change.

It’s time for a wake-up call.

We can’t sit idly by and hope someone else will make things right. If we don’t flex our First Amendment muscle we are no better than our enemies. Together, we can help those less fortunate, both human and animal alike. Instead of complaining and never doing anything about it, make 2016 the year you actually do something meaningful.

Don’t like the way your taxpayer dollars are being spent? Go to a city council meeting and be part of the decision-making process.

Are your closets getting harder to close? Take the time to declutter your life and donate your excess to those less fortunate. In about an hour, I was able to fill three large bags with clothes, shoes and home goods. Removing that stuff from my home was freeing, and donating it locally made my soul feel good.

Got old towels and blankets? Consider donating them to an animal shelter.

Are you spending too much time on social media because you have way too much free time? Find out what volunteer opportunities are available.

Don’t let 2016 fly by and leave you wondering where the year has gone. Instead, resolve to make a difference and make it count.

Contact Vanessa Lynch at or 254-501-7567.

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