Editors Note: Well that didn't go as planned! Covid-19 has certainly changed the way we all thought 2020 would go, but this post still matters, maybe even more so now. --
Ah the new year. A time for reflecting upon the events of the past and looking forward to a future full of exciting new adventures. It’s also a time for making something known as a New Year’s resolution. Traditionally, this means that you pick something to change that will improve your life or the lives of others or maybe even both, but in most cases is forgotten long before Spring has sprung. I’m here to tell you that New Year’s resolutions don’t have to be grandiose obstacles with a high percentage chance of failure. There is something very simple that each of us can add to the top of our new year resolutions list: Be Kind.
In fact: We challenge you to wake up every morning and make that be your number one thought for the day. Write this on a note next to your alarm clock or phone: What can I do today to be kind?
It doesn’t have to be something complicated or difficult to achieve. You can give an unexpected compliment or let someone merge in traffic when you’re really in a hurry. Wave to your neighbors, speak kindly to the grocery store bagger, say “yes” to something your kids want to do, wash the dishes when its someone else’s turn, invite someone to lunch, listen to someone who needs to talk. On of my most difficult opportunities to be kind will come when I really want to say something contradictory, but instead I just keep my mouth shut. No one else but me will know but that’s ok.
So many opportunities to be kind are free and the gift you give to someone else is priceless. Passing on a smile to someone who could really use it can make a big difference and increase the odds they’ll pay that kindness forward. You can even be kind to yourself. Having a particularly tough day? Give yourself permission to put your feet up, close your eyes for a moment, and remember something positive and special. This of course takes practice, but it's totally worth it.
The greatest simple act of kindness that I can think of is to ask your friends and family to join you in your quest. That’s why I’m here asking you. Then ask them each to include two more people in the conversation. Even if they don’t pledge to be kind every single day, imagine how much kinder your world might be with even a tiny bit more positive influence on those around you.
Some days, you might turn on the television or read the news and feel like there is nothing left of kindness in the world. Mr. Rogers was probably the kindest person that many of us feel like we know, yes I know that reference is a bit dated, but google him if you need to. His mother used to say, when there was a catastrophe, "always look for the helpers." No matter how bad things are, there are always people helping. Working in thankless silence just to turn that catastrophe around a little bit. When it seems like everything is going wrong around you, you can be the helper. And if you make kindness your new years resolution this year (and stick with it), I promise your life will be richer for it.
What kind acts are on your list? We’d love to hear it in the comments below. There are many groups and web pages out there to help if you run out of ideas. In Arizona, there is the Be Kind People Project, a non-profit group that works to teach youth a positive approach to social, emotional and academic learning. Cool to Be Kind is a Facebook page with hundreds of ideas for simple acts of kindness. We can’t list them all here, well we could but who has time, so check out kindness.org, csr.plannedacts.org, and youkindness.org for more ideas.
In addition to our pledge to spread kindness, below are some Advanced Primate team member resolutions for 2020.
- Tim: Feels like resolutions are often a way to set yourself up to fail and prefers to call them goals. He has a goal to find something to be happy about everywhere he goes whether that’s in the car, outdoors, at home, or at work. For example, two older people walking down the street holding hands makes him smile. A dog playing makes him happy. Every time he thinks about his next hiking adventure with his Origaudio Mission Pack, he smiles.
- Chris: Has his sights set on funning a marathon this year. He has not been able to run that far yet, but he has a half-marathon in April and will schedule a full 26.2 miles this summer. To help himself prepare, he has been reading motivational books and loves his new Knockaround Sport sunglasses with rubberized contact points for running – they don’t slip or bounce on his face.
- Jan: Wants to learn to be grateful every day. At the end of each day, she will write down something that she is thankful for. It could be something small that happened that day or something good in her life in general. She will keep the journal and review all 365 days next New Year’s Eve (how much fun will that be?!?). One product from Advanced Primate that she is very thankful for is her Jelt belt – it is easy to put on, comfortable to wear and goes thru airport security, even without TSA Pre.
Resolution 2020: Be Kind