Repeat after me: I am becoming a better version of me with every passing day.
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Though we’re not quite there yet, the end of the year is approaching. Not only is it the end of the year, but it’s the end of the decade. Of course, that means that among the holiday decorating and shopping are big plans for new year goals. Naturally, that means people pledging to lose weight, save money, start a business or volunteer more. They’re grand and lofty goals but they all boil down to one thing: be a better person so you can be a happier and fulfilled person.
While those goals are great, they definitely aren’t necessary to be a better person. I don’t have all the answers, but I do know that being a better person doesn’t have to be difficult or exhausting. If you want to be a better person, all you need to do is make a few small changes.
1. Answer those emails
As a freelance writer, who sends several pitches a day I know how deflating it can be to have emails go ignored. Honestly, it sucks! Don’t be the person who makes others feel bad about ignored emails. Be the person who takes the time to respond. Even if it’s not the answer you know the person wants to read, send it anyway. Even a “no, thank you,” or “I’m not interested” is better than having your message ignored.
I do understand that keeping up with emails can be exhausting. My rule of thumb is to answer all emails that take less than two minute right away. The rest get put in my “to respond” folder that gets checked every three days.
So don’t be a jerk. Just respond to that email.
2. Give more compliments
Never underestimate the power of a compliment. Whether it’s a friend’s business endeavor, a stranger’s cute jumpsuit, or your mother’s home cooked meal, don’t just keep it in. Give that person a compliment. Part of being a good person is making others feel good too. If you struggle with it, check out this post from Brazen Living about how to give hilarious compliments.
3. Return the cart to the rack
Unless you have a valid reason, please take the cart back to the return area. When you don’t, you’re causing headaches and possible chaos for other people. Cars can’t park in certain spots, carts end up hitting other cars and someone ends up running around outside chasing them down. It’s really a small task that makes life easier for everyone else and proves that you can be a better person.
4. RSVP to invites promptly
I don’t know if it’s a generational thing or just a sign of the times, but people just don’t RSVP to events anymore. Everyone either says, “maybe”, don’t respond at all, or respond positively and then don’t show up. Not only does it make things difficult for the party planner, but it’s extremely inconsiderate yet so many of us do it. Whether you are planning to attend or not, just RSVP. And if you say you can go but don’t, call the host and apologize. It’s the right thing to do and doing the right things brings you that much closer to being a better person.
5. Learn to apologize and say sorry
It sounds so simple but so many don’t know how to apologize correctly. Learn to apologize. Yes, there is a right way to do it. If your apology contains the word, “if” you’re not doing it right. No apology should ever be conditional. Don’t say “I’m sorry if what I said was out of line and hurt your feeling.” Instead say, “I’m sorry what I said hurt your feelings.” Take responsibility for your actions. And taking responsibility through your apology is definitely a way to be a better person.
6. Drink more water
Other than breast milk, I’m convinced water is like liquid gold. Every time I feel hydrated I feel so good. And apparently hydration is the key to improving your health. Yes, putting your health and nutrition first can make you a better person too. If you have trouble drinking water, get a great water bottle, set a goal and use social media to help hold yourself accountable.
7. Give away what you don’t want or need
I don’t know anyone who doesn’t have a junk drawer or a closet with stuff they haven’t used in months or years. Take some time to go through it and give it to someone who would really appreciate it whether it’s a friend or a charity.
8. Share your story
While people may think that being a better person equates to being perfect, it doesn’t. To feel like a better person, you may want to relate to more people. And relating to more people often means sharing your story – the good, the bad, the ugly, the mistakes, the wins, etc. Whatever it is, share it. It’s within those stories that you touch lives, learn from your past, and hopefully help others with their futures. Of course, it’s when you share and accept your story that makes it easier for you to be a better person.
9. Check up on people and be genuine
Never hesitate to send a card, an email or even a text that says, “I was thinking of you. Just checking in. Hope all is well.” Don’t do it to be nosy, to get some gossip or see how much access you have to that person. Do it because you genuinely care about the person’s well being. Even if things aren’t okay, the recipient will likely feel loved and appreciated at that moment.
10. Don’t do it for the money
When you’re strapped for cash it’s natural do things out of desperation. After all we need money to survive. However, everything we do can’t be for the money. When everything becomes all about the money life becomes stressful and high pressure. Every now and then don’t do something for the money, do it for the love.
11. Produce less waste
As you already know, the earth is in trouble thanks to global warming, overfilled land fills and more. We can’t solve all the problems, but we can start by producing less waste. Take canvas bags to the grocery store, skip disposable zip lock bags and instead use reusable bags like these or ditch plastic water bottles in favor of reusable ones. You can even forgo paper towels and instead use rags and wash cloths. Whatever route you choose, feel good in knowing you’re doing your part to make this world a better place and of course becoming a better person for it. Don’t where to start? Take the tip from Danielle Faust of Ok Dani and simplify your self-care routine. The less steps in your beauty routine, the less products and that means less waste.
12. Smile at strangers
Do I really need to explain this one? It’s truly amazing what a simple smile can do. Brighten someones day. Acknowledge someone’s existence. Just share a smile with a stranger. There’s a change it will make you both feel good.
13. Clean up after yourself
It’s always nice to clean your plate and place it in the kitchen to show your appreciation for the person who cooked it. In a friend’s car? Take your trash with you. Or if you’re staying in a dressing room, take the time put the clothes you don’t want on the return rack. It’s all about leaving a place the way you found it and being considerate.
14. Put down your phone
… unless you’re reading this post on your phone. Seriously though, put down your phone more and live. It sounds so ridiculously simple because it is. Being a better person often means connecting those around, living life and paying attention – all things best down while not staring at screen. Schedule time everyday to disconnect so you can reconnect with what and who really matters to you.
15. Get organized
I admit I’m not the cleanest person around. I have a pile of laundry that’s needed to be folded for days and a bed that still hasn’t been made up this morning. Yet, I still get the connection between cleanliness and how to be a better person. When you’re clean and clutter free, you feel good.
I don’t know about you but clutter makes me anxious and frustrated. I lose things, end up spending more money and get flustered when I’m not organized. It’s only natural that we sometimes feel bad for the disorganization. Sometimes, being a better person isn’t just about doing something good for others. It’s about doing something good for yourself. If anything, make an effort to get organized for yourself. The clearer home and life will do you some good. Don’t know where to start? Check out this post from Everyday Eye Candy on easy cleaning tips or these budget tips from the Thought Card to help you get your finances organized.
16. Do what makes you happy
It sounds selfish, but being selfish isn’t a bad thing. When you’re happy, the world around you benefits. Take the time to do what makes your heart smile. Whether it’s saying yes to volunteering, declining a big job promotion or giving into a nap, the world is a better place when you feel good. Think about it. You’re not doing anyone any favors by making yourself tired, cranky, frustrated, and overwhelmed because you’re too busy people pleasing everyone. The world is a better place when you are at your best and feel your best. So it’s ok to make your happiness a priority as long as it isn’t done maliciously. You’ll soon see that when you smile, the world smiles.
This list may seem simple, but they all have big impact. Nor is it an exhaustive list. And while it they don’t have anything thing to do with leaving huge charitable donations to charities, or creating businesses with impact, they are all things that can make the world a better place and help you be a better person. You don’t need to have a lot of time or money to be a better person. All you need are the right intentions and the ability to show consideration for others.
Have you done any of these things? How have you tried to be a better person?
TERRIfic Words: The person you want to be is already inside you. Otherwise, you wouldn’t want to be that person.