Happy New Year! 2014 is here. Crazy. I still think the 90s were a decade ago.
So…I am a chronic resolution maker. I love the idea of a fresh start. My resolutions are pretty typical: be healthier, floss more!, read more, save money. Every single year I’ve set resolutions with the best of intentions. However. I’ve never kept ANY resolutions. Around February (or, if I’m being honest, the second week of January) my resolutions fall to the wayside and life gets in the way.
There has been one resolution I’ve kept. Last year, I heard about Ann Curry’s 26 Random Acts of Kindness in relation to the Sandy Hook shootings. It seemed simple enough. 26 acts over the course of a year? Why not? I could try to do something in the wake of a heartbreaking national tragedy.
I started with my typical gusto and completed some random acts that I always thought about doing but never got around to, like joining Be the Match, a bone marrow registry. You can register for free, and it is extremely easy. Plus, you get to swab your cheek for cells, which made me feel like a scientist. I may have even worn my glasses for it.
I also did a bunch of fun things, like leaving lottery tickets or Starbucks gift cards in public places (the library computer stations, a gas station pump, a library book).
It was an adrenaline rush to do something random and fun that hopefully brightened the day of a stranger. It felt good and was bigger than myself. It wasn’t all about me. As an inherently selfish person it was a great change of pace.
As I continued on my years journey, I admit I fell off doing random acts during the summer. I revisited the challenge in October and realized I had 20 random acts to complete still. While it was tempting to write it off as another failed resolution, I thought about how bad I would feel when the one year anniversary of Sandy Hook came around. How would I feel seeing the faces of those 6 year-olds and realizing I had, in some way, failed them?
I regrouped and made a list of acts to complete. I donated blood for the first time (so easy! Free cookies!), taped some money to my office vending machine so someone could have a free afternoon snack and soda, finally got around to donating some extra canned goods we weren’t going to use, and I sponsored a Dane County Humane Society cat. Murphy is still available, FYI, and looks like a cute kitty.
My fiance, Kris, got into the action, too. Together we gave away some game tickets we won to some lucky, random kids in an arcade. Kris signed up for a program that automatically deducts a minimal amount from your paycheck to a charity of your choice.
By the time the one year anniversary of Sandy Hook came around on December 14, I had completed 26 Random Acts of Kindness. Some were small (I held the door for a large, slow moving family at a store when I normally would have slid past them without helping), some were free (giving blood), and all of them felt good.
This years resolution? Sure, I have the typical ones. I’d like to save money and be healthier and read more and write more. But the resolution that I am determine to keep is committing 30 Random Acts of Kindness this year. Kris is 30 and I will be turning 30 and we both agreed to undertake 30 acts this year in celebration of our age. I look forward to this being a yearly resolution. Trust me, it is easy to keep. And I suck at keeping resolutions.
Best of luck coming up with your resolutions! I hope you consider doing some Random Acts of Kindness in the coming year. Let’s face it, we can all use a little warm and fuzzy in our lives.
You can read more about Ann Curry’s Random Acts of Kindness here: Ann Curry’s 26 Random Acts of Kindness