This particular journey began with me wanting to find a way to celebrate my 52nd birthday, and bring to life one of my philosophies, which is: less judgement, more kindness.
For most of our lives we think of a year as a long time, but if the past few have shown us how quickly time passes and how easy is it to lose track of our goals, our generosity, and our good intentions.
I thought it fitting that for my 52nd birthday, and with 52 weeks in a year, what better way to celebrate than with weekly acts of kindness towards others. I decided to start a little earlier than my actual birthday on February 17, which is Random Acts of Kindness Day.
And so my challenge began. One act of kindness each week for a year.
Thinking of a years worth of good deeds can seem daunting. And I realized that by breaking it down, thinking of it week by week, the ideas started to flow. The truth is I can’t call it a challenge, because being kind is easy.
Once I wrapped my head around the fact that it’s not about the grand gestures, big dollar donations or pronouncements of good, it all clicked for me. Kindness is in the small things. A smile or wave at a stranger (week one action!), treating someone you love to some chocolate, flowers or a cup of coffee.
So one week became three, and three became six, and before I knew it we were 17 weeks in, and had accomplished so much.
- Week 3: Give someone a compliment.
- Week 4: Buy some extra to give to food bank.
- Week 5: Be kind to yourself do something just for you.
- Week 6: Leave a positive post it note.
- Week 7: Donate unused clothes for someone.
- Week 8: Call or hug a senior.
- Week 10: Give a shoutout to someone who inspires you.
- Week 11: Buy or make e someone a baked good.
- Week 13: Give yourself a high five.
- Week 14: Hand write a letter or postcard to someone.
- Week 15: Support a local charity.
- Week 17: Support an independent business.
The thing about kindness is that it can come in many forms. There is no minimum spend, no time commitment, the only thing required is your open heart and good intention. Inspire and be inspired and the kindness will continue to to spread.
Remember to treat yourself. Acts of self love are the things that let us love others. Every intentional act will soon become a positive habit, and a habit can last a lifetime.
So I made it a part of Inspire Always. I shared my plan, I shared my deeds and I invited our community to join me. And join me they have. I didn’t imagine that so many would jump on board. I didn’t think about the ripple effect, but the reality is, kindness is contagious.
There has been a cascade of good deeds and every day I see more and more people open their hearts and their minds to the idea that the smallest things make the biggest impact. Every week I’m inspired by everyone in our community, near and far.
With kindness comes gratitude, and not just from the people who are on the receiving end. Each time I give I am thankful. Thankful for the life I’ve been able to live, thankful for the privilege to be able to give.
Week 52 feels far away, but it will be here before I know it. Then comes week 53. With week 53 comes the joy of knowing I was able to complete the challenge and make it a habit for a lifetime.
With week 53 also comes the joy of knowing I’ve inspired and have been inspired by a community of givers.
It’s week 53 that I’m looking forward to the most, not because it means this journey is coming to its end, but because it’s only just beginning.