How many times do you read about people who set goals for the new year that were meant to create a “better” version of themselves? “I’m gonna lose 30 lbs.” How many people who set unrealistic weight loss goals as a New Year Resolution actually achieve that goal? And when the next New Years Eve rolls around, they reflect on a failure and vow to do it in the next year?
Why do we want to start the year off with by choosing to add a new pressure in our already stressful lives? Particularly if the goal is really tough to achieve? Setting weight loss and healthy goals are great. But maybe not for a New Years Resolution.
Take A Cup Of Kindness
How about starting off the year with the goal of being more kind? Kind to yourself for starters. Don’t set yourself up for possible failure on the first day of the year. Give yourself a break from new pressure for at least the first day.
And then pass it on.
One moment of a shared kindness costs nothing. It doesn’t even require a lot of planning. There’s plenty of need for it out there, and even one act of kindness means you’ve already succeeded in your New Year Resolution. Success feels pretty good so you’ll probably want to do it some more! The great thing about one act of kindness is it creates a “Butterfly Effect” according to Psychology Today.
“Studies show how kind acts radiate goodwill by incentivizing the benefactor to, in turn, generate kind acts. For example, a study in Science Daily showed that goodwill is contagious and that thoughtful acts have a domino effect. One person’s generosity will spread to three people. Those three people will each pay forward the kind act to three others, benefiting nine in all. Those nine will continue to multiply the kindness. This leads to a ripple effect and subsequent waves of kindness. It is not hard to see how a single act contributes to a kinder, gentler world.”
The traditional Scottish song we recognize on New Years Eve is based on a poem published by Robert Burns. The lyrics “we’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet” refers to the tradition of raising a glass, or a cup o’ kindness meaning with “good will, friendship and kind regard” and in remembrance of “noble deeds.”
Random Acts of Kindness may be simple choices like
- Checking in on a friend who may be lonely,
- Sitting to listen to a family member who just received a life-changing diagnosis,
- Donating to a food bank,
- Sending someone a cute picture of an animal for no reason at all,
- Sending an inspiring text to someone you know is struggling,
- Offering support to vulnerable neighbors.
- Being a good listener.
- Compliment your family and friends with reckless abandon.
Being more kind IS creating a better, and yes, even more mentally healthy you.
So let’s all "take a cup" and raise it to kindness. It doesn't even need to be a pint of Scottish stout, or a glass of Champaign. It can be herbal tea, or even hot chocolate.
Here's to a year of more kindness.