A sure way to boost our own happiness is to do something good for other people. It’s easy to have the intention, but sometimes it’s hard to put that into practice. Julissa’s got some great tips to get us going, making it easier and more fun to do good things.
How do you motivate yourself to do as much good as you can?
I love playing games with my family. We can’t stop racking up points on Mario Cart, a Monopoly game in my house is almost at the 2 year point, and the dictionary is bent from Scrabble challenges. Games have power over us because we long for the jovial competition and the excitement of just being together and having fun.
At the same time I’m always trying to find ways to have us do good deeds together. But somehow, while it’s easy to arrange a family Pictionary tournament, all my plans for volunteering crumble. Of course, it’s my intention to give back and to pay it forward, but then the engine light in the car goes on and my dog needs to go to the vet, so instead of paying it forward I just seem to be paying it out.
It’s hard to go from wanting to do good to crossing that threshold toward actually taking action. So how can I motivate myself and my family to take it to the next level? Maybe by making it a game!
Do good with your family
You want to display a moral compass for the children in your family but it’s hard to get everyone together and certainly rough to convince the kids to participate in something that might seem so boring. But there are ways to get beyond talk and make it fun. Programmes like #the30daykindnesschallenge have simple, tangible, and small scale ideas like, leaving a thank you note for the postman, or writing uplifting messages in chalk on the pavement. These are projects you can do with your children that are absorbing and give them the satisfaction of doing good while spending time as a family. And I know my postman definitely appreciated it.
Pick a time of day (or day of the week) and perform a random act of kindness
Setting reasonable goals is key to following through with a kindness challenge. If your work is flexible, you can designate one time of day (or maybe one morning a week) to a random act of kindness. Generators, like this one that we created at work, can help you come up with randomised ideas for today’s good deed.
Participate in a kindness challenge
On social media, challenges for writing novels or exercising regularly have motivated friends of mine to fulfil their lifelong dreams. Recently, various ‘Kindness Challenges’ have popped up with the idea of getting people out of the ‘idea phase’ and into the action of being better to each other. By sharing these and challenging others to do the same, it’s possible to go viral with goodness. Recently, for example, a simple push up challenge was devised to raise awareness about veteran suicide. It’s now millions of push ups later and my arms are looking pretty good too.
Do good when doing something else
You can even do good when you’re buying swimsuits or new socks. Sites like iGive and the AmazonSmile allow you to shop and give small amounts to any charity you choose and at no cost to you!
Do good at work
We spend plenty of our waking hours at work, so why not talk to your co-workers about something good your workplace could do. For instance, one pizza restaurant in Philadelphia set up a pay-it-forward pizza programme. Customers can donate $1 meaning that homeless members of the community can have a slice of pizza for free, and the restaurant is full of post-it notes with messages and letters of gratitude.
See it in action
With modern technology you can actually experience how your good deeds have an effect on others. For example, a mobile app, Good Cards, has a way to track how paying it forward pays off. Simply pass the good card on to someone for whom you’ve done a solid favour and ask them to do the same. Each time, the card gets logged in the app with information on what happened and how it’s moving. Right now Good Cards are spreading across the globe and constantly putting out a flow of positivity.
Or there’s the uKind App that turns kindness into a game. It allows you to trade and share kindness points with friends and relatives. Do a good deed and receive points in return. Give points to someone who has done you a favour. There’s even a kindness wall where you can share the good will with everyone. While I haven’t yet tried these – the uKind App seems like something my family could easily get into.
So I’m going to look to resources like these to find simple actions that make everyday a little brighter. With the multitude of possibilities, it’s easy to create kindness under all kinds of circumstances. It can start with something as small as a slice of pizza, but soon doing good will get to be as addictive as any digital puzzle game.
About the author:
Julissa Arangure-Garcia works in Community Outreach for American company Shari’s Berries