The month of January always includes lots of conversations, articles and social media posts about resolutions and goals for the year. I realized that year after year, mine often involve losing a few pounds, exercising more or other ways to improve myself. I’m sure a few of you may have had similar experiences J. This year I changed my focus and decided to put that energy into resolutions to make other people’s days happier. I can say that almost one month in, it has been very rewarding and thought it would be fun to share the experience.
Here are a few ideas – I’m sure you may already be doing a lot of these things – but I found that making a list was a good reminder to follow through!
- Smile – You never know what someone might be going through or perhaps they are having just ‘one of those days.’ A friendly smile from a stranger might just be the moment that turns someone’s bad day into a good one!
- Send someone a handwritten note – With the ease of technology and social media in our lives, it’s rare that someone takes the time to send a note, whether to say thank you or just to say hello. I don’t know about you, but I still love to get real mail.
- Take time to listen – I know that I can get distracted at times, so I promised myself to put down the device and give my undivided attention to whomever I’m with. Even better, I’ve discovered, that people often follow your example. Try to be the listener who says: “tell me more.”
- Compliment someone – We all get a little extra pep in our step when someone pays us a compliment. Whether it’s your best friend, a coworker, or a complete stranger, a few kind words can go a long way.
- Pay it forward – Every now and then, pay for the person in line behind you at the coffee shop. It’s happened to me before and really made my day.
- Call, text or email a friend just to tell them how important they are to you – Receiving a message from someone we have spoken to in years can be a wonderful surprise. It can also be the first step to rekindling a great friendship. So, write an email, send a text, tell them you’re thinking of them. That little easy contact could be the re-start of something great, even if you haven’t talked to them in a while.
- Hold the door open – I know this seems like a given, but sometimes we are all in such a rush that we forget about what’s going on around us. By slowing down and simply holding the door open, it shows that someone else’s time is just as valuable as our own.
- Put money in a stranger’s parking meter that is about to expire – They certainly will appreciate it!
- Let someone merge in front of you in traffic – We all have places to go and people to see and someone will certainly do the same for you soon.
- Tell someone when they are doing a good job – It’s as easy as that. Remind those around you that what they are doing is appreciated and helpful.
- Learn people’s names – Everyone is important. Take the time to learn the names of people you see regularly: the barista at your favorite coffee shop, the security guard at work and the mechanic who works on your car. Next time you see them, greet them by name. It’s so easy and almost always guarantees a smile.
- Last but not least, be kind to yourself – Kindness starts within. Each day take a moment to think or write down things you are grateful for. Research shows that being kind to yourself keeps your body and mind strong and healthy. You can really only spread kindness if you start within.
I hope everyone’s year has gotten off to a great start and that these small acts will inspire you. Taking the extra time to show people that you care, even in the smallest of ways, can make a difference in someone’s day and maybe together we can make the world a little brighter.