by Sandi Austin

Ready or not, here it comes! The end of one decade and the start of a brand new one! It doesn’t seem possible, but it’s a reality. As we prepare to embark on this new chapter, we tend to re-evaluate how we are living our lives – and even make (dare I say?) New Year’s resolutions.

Perhaps it’s your financial state of affairs you’re considering changing. You promise yourself that you will pay your bills in a timely manner, faithfully keep track of your bank accounts, and make an extra special effort to put some money aside for those emergencies that may or may not arise in the coming year. If they do, you’d be ready this time.

Or maybe you’re focusing on getting better at running your household. Are you wanting to de-clutter? Are there things you are hanging on to, but could just as easily give them to charity? Perhaps you are going to make an extra attempt at recycling. Maybe there’s something lying around the house that’s been needing repair for a long time. Is this going to be the time you’ll finally get around to it?

Perhaps the most popular resolution people try to keep is to live healthier. We promise to exercise more, eat healthy meals, quit smoking, perhaps stick to a certain diet.

If faithfully kept, these promises we make to ourselves can be life-changing. While we make every effort to change our lives for the better, are we doing what we can to change the lives of those around us? Whether a person you encounter in your everyday life is known to you or not, you can make a difference by doing simple little things. Need some hints?

  • Give away your smiles. It won’t cost you anything and may just turn another person’s bad day around. And when they return that smile, doesn’t it feel good?
  • Be aware of your neighbors. If they are elderly or sick, offer to get their mail, grocery shop for them, scoop their walk and driveway. That neighbor may not have anyone to turn to for help, and you could be that person who makes their life less worrisome.
  • Open a door for someone else and let them go through first, or allow someone to merge ahead of you onto your lane of traffic. How about letting someone with fewer groceries than you go ahead of you in the line? You’re not in that much of a hurry to get somewhere, are you?

Each day provides an opportunity to spread some kindness. Something happened for me at King Soopers last week. A woman in front of me in the checkout line dropped $20 dollars and told the clerk to pay for my groceries with it. That was the first time I’d experienced this, although I’d heard of it happening many times. Well, my bill was only $9 plus change, so I told the clerk to use the rest to pay for the person behind me.

It felt good to both receive and give. If we could use an opportunity that presents itself to us to change our own life or the life of someone else, we just might help to make a kinder, gentler world around us.

Happy New Year!

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