As I’ve already established and made known, I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions. I do, however, believe in New Year’s revolutions, revelations, evolutions, and everything in between. That’s a roundabout way of saying that, although I think that New Year’s resolutions sometimes box people in — leaving us with unrealistic goals that wind up by the wayside once it becomes clear that they will not manifest perfectly because, oh look at that, life took over — I do nonetheless believe in ongoing goal-setting. This is not, I feel, New Year’s specific. But I do tend to set goals in relation to time markers — such as birthdays, anniversaries, and yes, brand new years.
Whether or not you’re into New Year’s resolutions per se, early January — the time when the holiday mayhem is over (and yes, that was me shouting it from the rooftop this morning) — is the perfect time to size up our pro-animal projects, and perhaps get out the drafting paper for some new ones. Or revamp the ones we’ve got. It’s time to take stock and act accordingly.
I am also a big fan of reassessing. I think an ongoing discussion we should all be having with ourselves is: “Self, what are my life goals? In what ways am I working toward them? Through my job? My volunteer work? Both? Is there anything I need to adjust in order to better work toward my life goal?”
With all of this in mind, the post-holiday season is ideal for reevaluating our animal activism, and figuring out where we can and should step it up. Tied into that is, of course, the sustainability factor — and I’m not talking about hemp socks or hybrid cars. I’m talking about our own sustainability. The animals need us to be in this for the long run. Are we positioned to stick around? While the fact that in the U.S. alone, 286 chickens are killed every second, may make this a life-threatening emergency that must be addressed RIGHT NOW, are we nevertheless fighting the good fight in a way that takes care of our own needs, too?
Below are 10 questions that might help you take stock of where your advocacy is as we start 2012. As always, check in daily with Our Hen House (and weekly with our podcast) for ideas and opportunities to change the world for animals.
10 Questions Animal Advocates Should Ask Themselves
- Am I effectively doing what I can in my life to change the world for animals?
- Am I appropriately putting my talents and skills into use with regards to my animal activism?
- Am I feeling fulfilled in the process? Is there anything I can do to feel more fulfilled?
- Even though working in animal rights can be hideously depressing and infuriating, am I noticing the tiny victories along the way? Am I seeing the good stuff?
- Is my activism sustainable or am I on the fast-track to burnout? If it’s not sustainable, why not? What do I need to do to change it up? Perhaps that means temporarily shifting my focus, whether to a different animal issue, or a different tactic?
- Do I have a safe space around me — through my romantic relationship or my social circles, or even online — in which to express my fears and desires as they pertain to my animal activism?
- Is there a dream I have for promoting animal rights that I am ready to work toward?
- Am I taking care of myself? Do I have enough energy? Am I getting enough sleep, eating healthy foods, and getting enough exercise?
- Am I learning something new every day that will further enrich my own knowledge and insights regarding animal issues?
- Am I remembering that, just as I have mentors, I am probably a mentor to someone else — even if I don’t know to whom? Therefore, am I setting a good example?