We are heading towards the end of the year, and it is about this time of year that we start to reflect on what we have achieved in the last 12 months and what we want from the future. A common resolution people make is to improve their fitness, their health, to further their career, or to reduce their sources of stress. But what if we took a slightly less self-centered approach to our New Year’s resolutions? What if we tried to use our time and resources to make the world a better place for the people around us?
Here are four steps to becoming a more helpful and kind version of yourself in the new year.
1. Make an effort to show kindness
It is one thing to respond to someone’s request or action with kindness, but it is even more powerful to proactively show kindness to the people around us. The smallest gesture can mean a lot, like helping a stranger with a door when they are carrying bags or pushing a pram, calling in on an elderly neighbor for a chat, collecting shopping for a friend who is juggling lots of responsibilities, or making dinner for someone who is unwell. Be more thoughtful about the way you behave, and you will make a bigger difference than you realize.
2. Volunteer in the community
Modern society is more connected than ever before thanks to the internet, but this can mean that we become disconnected from the people we live among. Consider putting your time to good use in the new year by volunteering for a charity, school, or community project. You could even take it upon yourself to pick up litter in your local area, to teach someone a skill, or to organize your own project or fundraising event. Of course, not everyone is in a position where they can physically volunteer, but they may still be able to help others by volunteering to help with administration, calling elderly or isolated people, or other tasks that can be completed at home.
3. Make a donation to a good cause
An alternative to donating your time is to donate money where it’s most-needed. There are so many charities out there, and whether local, national, or international, they all appreciate a financial donation towards their work. This can make a big difference to the lives of so many people now and in the future. If you do not have enough money to donate, you could ask friends and family to donate to a charity instead of buying you a birthday gift. There are also goodwill stores that will accept donations of clothes, furniture, and other household items that you do not need.
4. Show gratitude
If there are people in your life who help make it a little simpler or brighter, make sure you tell them. It seems like a simple step, but ensuring that you say thank you when someone shows you kindness tells them that you recognize and appreciate them. If someone makes you proud or cheers you up, tell them. Do not assume that people know how much they mean to you. This positivity spreads like wildfire and has a lasting impact on their self-esteem.