happy new yearIt’s that time of year.  U of L wins a bowl game!  I don’t want to talk about the U of L/UK basketball game.  Those Holiday decorations come down.  And we all make a few New Year’s resolutions, whether we admit it or not!

You can find lists of resolutions that detail the most common commitments to a new year.  Items like:

  • “Get in shape.”
  • “Get my finances in order.”
  • “Pay attention to balance in life.”

Or maybe your taste runs to “happywink.org”’s list of the funniest resolutions like:

  • “I will read the manual … as soon as I find it.”
  • “I will think of a password other than ‘password’.”
  • “I will not sit in the den all day in my nightshirt.  Instead, I will move the computer to the bedroom.”

Or perhaps you are looking for a more reflective bent when it comes to setting course for a new year.  Tinkerlab suggests ideas like,

  • “Project organize your life (I don’t even know what that means!),”
  • “Take a picture a day,”
  • “Savor your child’s childhood.”

I like the “Resolutions You Would Actually Keep” list, which highlights gems like:

  • “Procrastinate more.”
  • “Spend more time watching sports or inane television shows.”
  • “Start being more superstitious.”

Of course, do any of these resolutions matter anyway?  Proactivechange, Inc. actually tackled a research project around New Year’s resolutions, using sample size analyses, control groups and all those other elements of a serious study.  Their findings:

  • 75% of resolutions are kept for the first week
  • 64% of resolutions are kept for the first month.
  • And after the first month?  Well, you don’t really want to know!

And yet I am inviting – encouraging – maybe even challenging you to adopt at least one resolution – BECOME AN INTENTIONAL ADVOCATE FOR KENTUCKY’S KIDS!  Make a commitment during the first week of the 2014 General Assembly to contact the Governor’s Office; your House representative; and, your Senate representative.  (Extra credit will be given for reaching out to House and Senate leadership!)  It isn’t hard.  Here’s an easy to follow formula to turn that “become an intentional advocate” resolution into a reality for 2014:

  1.  Become familiar with the 2014 Blueprint for Kentucky’s Children by going to www.blueprintky.org.
  2. Decide THE Blueprint issue that galvanizes you.
  3. Dig into that one issue.  (You can find detailed information such as policy briefs and fact sheets on the Blueprint web site.)
  4. Take an index card and write a statement about that issue that will fit on that card.  Make sure you tell your legislators that you are their constituent (I can’t emphasize that enough!).  Tell those leaders what your issue is and why it’s important for Kentucky kids.  And then make a definitive ask. Interestingly, many elected leaders talk about the number of calls they get in which the constituent lays out a concern but never makes an ask.  MAKE AN ASK!  (You can go to www.lrc.ky.gov and find contact information for your legislators.  For Governor Beshear, go to www.governor.ky.gov.)
  5. Then make that call or send that email or write that letter.  Or do all three!

New Year’s resolutions can be predictable or funny or reflective.  And for sure, New Year’s resolutions can become a forgotten exercise of futility.

But what if?  What if each of you really adopted that idea of becoming an intentional advocate for Kentucky’s kids?   With your commitment, maybe – just maybe – 2014 can become the year when Kentucky moves a bit closer to becoming the best place in America to be young!