Change Your Life In 2018-November Challenge: Make Kindness A Habit

It's the perfect time of year to focus on kindness.  Holidays can be a very difficult time, so although it's important year-round, it's definitely appreciated right now.  Study's show that doing something for others, without any expectations, makes us happy.  It's also a great, natural, stress reliever.  The old saying "it is better to give then to receive" is so true!  So why don't we practice this more?  Well, in a world of high-stress lives and over-scheduled days, it's surprisingly something that I think falls off of our radar.  Although we are kind to people throughout the day, it's more of an unconscious gesture.  I don't think we take time to consciously be as kind as we could be.  Or as kind as we would like to be.

This topic is something that was really important to me.  It's not because I find being kind difficult, rather, I sometimes find staying kind difficult and I want it to become easier.  Let me explain.

Think of a time you've gone into a store.  You're in a decent mood but in a hurry or under a bit of stress.  You go to checkout and the salesperson is just downright rude and miserable.  For me personally, if I'm off my game even a bit, I can be sucked into this.  Sucked into responding to the miserable person in a manner that matches the way I feel they are treating me.

And that's not ok.

If you’re just joining in, the “Change Your Life In 2018” series is my quest to make some small changes this year.  Rather than setting easily forgotten resolutions I wanted to focus on 12 changes that would help me learn and grow as a person.  I’ve chosen to focus on one change per month so that it could not only become a more manageable goal, but I have a better chance at making these new habits as well.  I hope you’ll join me in the challenge!

I want to make it a habit to forgive those that come off as rude to me and extend grace toward them.  After all, every one of us has had bad days and likely have snapped at someone or responded in a way that we hadn't intended.  It's typically not about the person they are rude to, it's all about emotion coming out in a less than desirable way.

Putting others above yourself is a great way to make kindness a habit, although the first step should be to start with kindness to self.  You've got to cut yourself some slack.  If you can't forgive yourself, how will you forgive others?  If you can't tame your self-critique, how will you do so for those around you?

There are many things we can do to express kindness throughout the day, some ideas are:
  1. Make eye contact with strangers and smile.
  2. Give a sincere compliment to someone each and every day.
  3. Help someone, even if in a very small way.
  4. If someone in line around you is agitated and complaining, turn it around gently.  They may not be appreciative in the moment, but it's something that will likely stick with them and affect them positively later.
  5. Assume the best about others, regardless of how much they are irritating you in the moment.
  6. Recognize when it's you that you're mad at (but reflecting it onto your spouse, kids, or others).  
  7. Show appreciation for little things.  
  8. Check your body language and delivery.  Sometimes this can change without you being aware.  For instance, if you believe the person you're speaking with is rude or angry, your body language and/or delivery can match that without you even realizing.  Take stock of the impression your giving and make sure it's the message you want to send.
  9. Listen better.  Instead of listening to respond, listen to listen.
  10. Give what you want to receive.  (feeling unappreciated?  Instead of focusing on that, change the vibe to positivity and show others an abundance of appreciation)
  11. Say "thank you" more.
  12. Silence (and ignore) your phone when speaking with others.
  13. Stop making assumptions.
  14. Give positive reviews to someone who has given you exceptional service.
  15. Leave notes of encouragement in public places for others to discover. (such as those from the Kindness Rocks Project)

Now it's your turn!  What are some of the things you've struggled with?  What types of kindness tactics have worked for you?

Next month’s topic is: Live In The Moment

Find the introduction to the series here: 12 Things You Can Do To Change Your Life In 2018
Find January's challenge here:  Letting Go Of Regrets

Find February's challenge here: Figure Out What To Do With Your Life
Find March's challenge here: Setting Goals & Chunking Them Down
Find April's challenge here: Change Your Routine
Find May's challenge here: Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone
Find June's Challenge here: Simplify Your Life & Find Your "Why"

Find July's Challenge here: Your Thoughts Are Your Reality 
Find August's Challenge here: Take Care Of Yourself
Find September's Challenge here: Be The CEO Of Your Life
Find October's Challenge here: Find Happiness Today .

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