We all have things we care about. Causes that we want to help, or spread awareness of to make a difference in our world. But how often do we actively pursue those causes? For most of us, the answer is “as often as I can, but not as much as I’d like to.” That’s why this year, I’m going to find a cause I’m passionate about and focus on only that one, 100%!
Why focusing on one cause matters
I don’t know about you, but my vein for wanting to help my world runs pretty deep. I care about everything. Which is great, because we certainly do need people who care and are compelled to act on those feelings to improve our world.
The problem with caring about everything is that it’s quite overwhelming. The number of problems, as well as their magnitude, is often just too much to handle. The reality of our impact can be crushing and it can hinder us from having as great of an impact as we have the potential for.
This can absolutely be true even if you aren’t compelled to help every issue that comes your way. Even a few strong connections to a few issues can sometimes feel like too much. After all, we are only one person. Just like any other area of our life, we cannot do it all.
When faced with this problem, many of us ultimately feel like we aren’t doing enough. If we do a little, we wish it were more. If we do a lot, it’s still not enough. The days and years pass by and we find ourselves constantly thinking that this year, we’ll do more.
Fortunately, we can combat this by focusing on one cause that means a lot to us and going all in on just that one.
Being focused on one issue helps you give the most. Rather than it seeming like a huge, overwhelming endeavor you don’t have enough resources for (time, money, etc) you can more effectively manage it.
When we find a cause to focus on, we can turn off everything else. This is no easy feat but it can be done!
By focusing on one issue, we can have a greater impact on that one thing. Any time or money we donate isn’t being divided up across several different groups. Therefore, donating the same amount of time or money actually stretches farther. It becomes much more impactful to the cause we choose.
So if you find yourself feeling like you’re stretching yourself across all of the charities and organizations you want to help, choosing one will definitely help with that!
Additionally, we can increase our own happiness by being able to feel like we really achieved a goal. By maximizing our impact on one cause, we feel that we are making a real difference. Aside from making us feel less overwhelm it makes us much happier!
We don’t end up wishing we could have done more. Instead, we feel proud. We also may see direct results of our contributions which we’re much more likely to see if we focus on just one thing.
How to find a cause to focus on for a whole year
So now you know that your impact can be maximized and you’ll be much happier with your contributions if you choose just one cause. But you have tons of causes you care about. How do you choose?
First, make a list of all of the causes you care about. List everything you currently donate time and money to as well as any charity or issue you desire to contribute to in some way. Then, just pick one.
It really doesn’t matter which you choose. Next year, you can choose a different one! If it helps, rank them in order of importance to you. Maybe you’ll decide to choose the one that feels the most urgent. Alternatively, perhaps this year you’ll choose something local that you can donate more time than money to. It’s your cause. Use whatever criteria you want to decide which one to choose.
Then, list all the ways you can contribute to that cause. Contributing time and money are two of the most common ways to help, but there are lots of others. You can also donate your skills and services, supplies or other needed items.
Also consider that a way to help any cause is to spread awareness. That can be as simple as talking, posting on social media, and using your platforms to spread awareness. If you have a blog or YouTube channel that’s a great way to spread awareness.
You might feel like people will get annoyed with you, but most people will not. Especially since it will just be one thing, rather than every issue that’s wrong with the world. And that will feel less overwhelming and more actionable to others.
You can also focus big events in your life on your cause. Instead of birthday and Christmas gifts for yourself, ask that donations be made to your chosen cause.
Last, write down one thing you’ll do each month. If you’re able to, increase your committment to bi-weekly or weekly actions. One month you may help with a bake sale, the next maybe you donate your time at an event, and the next you ask for birthday donations. If you do this all year, the total at the end will be far greater than you would have imagined had you scattered yourself across several different causes.
One final bonus way to maximize your giving is to choose a total goal for the year you’d like to reach. This can be cumulative of everything you do for the year, such as the amount of time or money given. It can be something you work toward throughout the year and plan to complete by the end.
For example, maybe your goal is to physically volunteer in at least three events. Obviously, you’ll do your monthly actions as well, but then at the end of the year, if you also volunteered in three events, it’s a bonus goal you’ve reached. Just by giving ourselves these little goals, we often push just a little harder to do something extra. Ultimately, you’ll likely complete more than your monthly action items to accomplish that extra goal!
Find a cause to focus on this year!
This year, I want to make the most of my giving. I do not want to feel like I didn’t make enough time or have enough money to contribute to causes I care about. Lifting others in our community is important. I don’t want to feel like I could have, and should have, done more. So I’ll choose just one this year and be proactive with planning the donation of my resources.
I’ll find a cause I want to really focus on so that my impact can be maximized. I hope you’ll join me in increasing your impact and maximizing your happiness in the process. This year, lets get rid of the overwhelm of trying to do it all and focus on one cause that is important to us.