by Stephanie Coles

Like many of you, I spent the last week of 2017 contemplating what I would like to do differently in 2018. What goals should I set for myself? I jotted some notes down, but I was curious about what others were doing. I needed inspiration.

Here is what I found. Last year, a digital marketing company called iQuanti reported on the most popular new year’s resolutions based on people’s Google searches. The results were as follows:

  1. Get healthy
  2. Get organized
  3. Live life to the fullest
  4. Learn new hobbies
  5. Spend less, save more
  6. Travel
  7. Read more

Their findings may not come as much of a shock; it’s a good list. They are all great things to think about when trying to improve oneself. And although I don’t know how these trends may have changed over the past year, I would wager not much.

Because I’ve been hyper-aware of Niger while volunteering to blog for Wells Bring Hope, I couldn’t help but wonder how different this list would be if I was Nigerien. I imagine my list would look something like this:

  1. Find regular access to clean water (61% of rural villagers lack safe water)
  2. Take care of 7 children (average number of children per family)
  3. Avoid extremism (more information here)
  4. Protect myself from disease (specific disease risks include malaria and diarrhoea, cholera, hepatitis and measles)
  5. Learn to read (literacy rate is 28.7% for adults and just 15% for women)

The more I think about the gap in privilege between myself and the average 30-year-old Nigerien woman, the more I’m grateful to have connected with Wells Bring Hope. Rather than let the disparity of these lists depress me, I choose to let it inspire me.

I am sorry to say that last year at this time, I wasn’t focusing on a new year’s resolution that would allow me to give back or inspire people the way that writing for Wells Bring Hope has. However, in September I started on this journey to write for WBH, and it has been one of my proudest achievements of 2017.

This entry is a call to ask you, the readers of this post, to find a way to use your privilege to help create change in 2018. This is a call to pause, to think about a cause you’re passionate about, find a way to make a difference, and to act. It only costs $30 to give someone access to clean water for life. Try giving up an espresso once a month and use that money to become a recurring donor. Just $5 each month adds up and by the end of the year, your contributions will have transformed two lives. Find a way to focus the energy that comes along with a resolution into something larger than yourself. Then find a way to inspire others to do the same.