The kind list 52 random acts of kindness

Before we ramble off ­­­­that yearly garbage about making use of our gym memberships, eating more broccoli, and saving money for the future, let’s consider a different kind of resolution. This year, why not try something to truly make you happy and to bring meaning to your life? It will be a test of extended compassion. We will call it, The Kind List. This alternative New Year’s resolution is a promise we can make for ourselves to bring happiness to others with our own personal touch.

So here is how it works: In the midst of our hectic, busy lives between work and school or hanging out with friends, make a list of 52 things that you believe will make someone, a stranger, an acquaintance, or a friend, happy. Each week, do one of the things on your list, giving yourself seven days to fulfill that goal. Design your list with thoughts and ideas that are special to you. This is a chance to create a positive chain reaction with a powerful outcome no matter how big or small the gesture.

Here is an example list we made for our pledge to random acts of kindness:

  1. Go out of your way to help someone who is lost find where they are going, even if you are in a hurry.
  2. Leave a bag of popcorn on a Redbox as a little surprise to the next customer.
  3. Reach out to someone you are in frequent contact with but don’t necessarily know, like that nice gas station clerk.
  4. Visit a nursing home.
  5. Give blood for the first time.
  6. Mail a handwritten note to someone you haven’t talked to in ages to let them know you were thinking of them.
  7. Pass along your favorite book to a co-worker.
  8. Fix a family member their favorite dish.
  9. Give up your seat on the bus, not just to an elderly person.
  10. Take time to really listen to someone’s story.
  11. Teach grandpa how to Skype.
  12. Leave a bottle of a perfume you like in the bathroom at work or school for people to use.
  13. Pick a random house to do yard work for.
  14. Offer to watch a friend’s children so they have a free night to go out.
  15. Fix something that is broken at your parents’ house.
  16. Make someone new feel welcome by inviting them to lunch with you.
  17. Pick up a displaced item in the aisles of Target.
  18. Make a little extra dinner to bring to friend who is very busy and does not cook for themselves.
  19. Tuck happy notes in people’s windshield, just not on a rainy day.
  20. Be a social facilitator. Introduce two people that you think have a lot in common with each other.
  21. Read a story with a child.
  22. Tell someone you are proud of them, like mom or dad.
  23. Put money in parking meters running low.
  24. Call someone you usually only call because you need something to instead tell them how much you appreciate them and to catch up.
  25. Wheel out neighbor’s trash to the curb for them.
  26. Tape signs to bathroom mirrors that say, “You are beautiful!”
  27. Bring coffee to someone studying in the library.
  28. On a day when it is raining, bring an extra umbrella with you to give to someone who forgot theirs.
  29. Help someone get their cart full of groceries to their car.
  30. Share your favorite music with a friend by buying them a CD.
  31. Bake cupcakes with your niece.
  32. Give your over-worked mom a day at the spa. Every woman should feel pampered.
  33. Clean up a friend’s house after they hosted a party.
  34. Give a compliment about your server to his or her manager.
  35. Find some old photographs of childhood friends and send what you can in the mail to be delivered to them.
  36. Leave a note in the back page of a book you return to the library to tell the next person who reads it how much you enjoyed it.
  37. Channel your inner kid and play a serious game of hide and seek with your younger cousins.
  38. Pay for someone’s favorite take-out to be delivered to their house on a week night you know they are home.
  39. Give that friend your blouse she always compliments you on.
  40. Gather all in the loose carts in the grocery store parking lot and bring them to the front.
  41. When it snows, shovel someone’s driveway you don’t know at all.
  42. Take the time to say, “Good morning,” to everyone you see on your way to work.
  43. Offer your spot on a crowded elevator and take the stairs.
  44. Give a toast to a dear friend at a party or gathering.
  45. Offer to walk your neighbor’s dog.
  46. Promote a friend’s business on social media.
  47. Send a thank you card to your relatives that always host your family Thanksgiving dinner.
  48. Surprise a friend that lives far away by taking a weekend trip to see them.
  49. Stay late at work if it means you can help your coworker’s agenda for the rest of the week.
  50. Donate some gently used clothes to the local women’s shelter.
  51. Learn about your family tree from an older relative who would enjoy telling you.
  52. Make a memory jar for your best friend with little notes of things you did together throughout the year and give it to them a year later.

By themselves, these goals are small. Each one is easily attainable. But together, making this commitment to uphold every week on making the world around you a better place is a challenge. We are asking you to be the kindness that reminds someone the world is not against them. Be the smile on someone’s face that is inspired to pay it forward. This is a plan that you can’t sweep under the rug around March and say to yourself, “maybe next year.” Let your Kind List give you a greater appreciation for humanity not just today, but all year long.

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