Wednesday, December 30, 2015

15 Ways to Start the New Year with Service and Community

It’s the New Year’s resolution to end all New Year’s resolutions, and it’s so, so Girl Scouts! This year, do things a little differently, and resolve to give back to yourself by giving back to others. That’s right. We’re calling for a resolution of service! Because when you help others, you just can’t begin to imagine how much good it actually does for your own soul. It’s really the best kind of win-win.

And it doesn’t have to be anything big. In fact, it’s really the accumulation of all the small ways we can be of service to others every day that can make our lives significantly brighter and more meaningful, while helping us feel more connected within our communities. In 2016, what do you say we all resolve to make the world a better place, together, by committing to practice these powerful and simple acts of service to others as often as possible? 
  1. Be kind, particularly to those who are not exactly your cup of tea, so to speak. It might be hard, but it will be meaningful.
  2. Be gentle with the environment. Avoid littering, recycle, and regularly sign up for community cleanups. The more we do to keep the outdoors in good shape, the more we can all enjoy it!
  3. Show compassion. Sometimes that’s the greatest gift we can offer someone.
  4. Practice good manners. “Please” and “thank you” go a long way in making others feel appreciated and respected.
  5. Be helpful as much and as often as possible. Help create a sense of community wherever you go.
  6. Listen more. Sometimes all people truly want is to be heard, and to know they matter.
  7. Volunteer once a month—or more if you can. Learn about volunteering with us—it’s important work and so much fun!
  8. Give out lots of compliments, just because. Make someone’s day with the simplest acknowledgement of a great smile, a fun outfit, or an inspiring talent.
  9. Speaking of smiling, do it more often. It makes everyone feel good—even you!
  10. Leave notes of encouragement for family, friends, and coworkers. The right words can always make a day brighter.
  11. Forgive someone who has slighted you, even if you don’t feel they deserve it. It might move them to show the same compassion to someone else.
  12. Hold the door open for someone and give them the gift of feeling special, even if just for a few seconds.
  13. Strike up a conversation with a shy person and help them come out of their shell a little. Just because they’re not one to initiate conversation doesn’t mean they don’t have a story they’d like to share.
  14. Reach out to a friend you know is going through something hard and offer to spend time with them, or just listen. People won’t always reach out for help, but they will often accept it with open arms when it’s offered.
  15. Bake some goodies for an elderly neighbor, and hand-deliver them. Sit and chat a while. Let them share stories and feel the joy of friendship.