Last year I made just one resolution: Do something nice for somebody else every day. Sure, I had other resolutions in the back of my mind (like cut down on caffeine, be more productive, spend more quality time on my son, advance in all the careers I dabble in), but ultimately that one resolution to do something nice stood out. And just to make sure I did do something nice every day, I kept a running list on my computer.
Of course I tried to make it too hard at first, only to realize that something nice can be something small, as long as it is nice. So I threw all OCD caution to the wind (well, except for the fact that I was keeping a list) and looked for ways to help others each day. Sometimes it was complimenting someone, opening a door, or simply cooking for my family when I felt like just pouring up three bowls of Raisin Bran. Other times I did something more profound.
What I learned most was that we can all do something nice for someone every day, whether it is smiling at a stranger, putting back a grocery cart, or specifically praying for someone who is sick. Even if you go all day seeing nobody but your immediate family, you can find someone in need of help or encouragement. (And if you see nobody at all, you can still pray or send an encouraging message.)
Probably the most refreshing surprise from this resolution challenge was that I was also doing something nice for me every day. That was not the goal at all, but happiness and kindness are contagious. Therefore, I got a blessing out of blessing others.
I challenge everyone to try to go at least a month of doing something nice for someone every day. Christian or not, this will have a major impact on the happiness of those around you as well as your own outlook and attitude. Regardless of your religious convictions, we all should feel compelled to help others. I believe that if everyone in the world vowed to do one good deed each day, the world would be a much better place.
While I still plan on looking out for opportunities to bless and help others, this year I have a new resolution: Find something I am thankful for every day. It may be something huge like thanking God for life and my salvation, while other days may be thanking Him for getting a good parking place. Just like with the good deeds, nothing is too small.
I hope that the thankful resolution will leave me feeling as gratified and fulfilled as last year’s resolution did. Although I plan on thanking God for something every day, I also plan on thanking people when the occasion rises. This is important, as my 2014 resolution proved how compliments and kind words can go a long way.
A few years ago, my mom received a card in the mail from a former student who is now grown up and a wife and mother. The note said that she decided to start thanking people who had influenced her life and that my mom was one of them, and then she went on about some specifics. I remember that my mom saved that note to show me, and probably showed more people as it touched her heart.
So as my last blog for 2014, I encourage everyone to think of others in your New Year resolutions. You should still go ahead and vow to quick smoking, exercise more, or get ahead in your career, if those are important to you, too. All of those type resolutions are great goals. Just put others first in the meantime, and chances are your own life will improve automatically.
Happy 2015 from your Unconventional Southern Belle!