We did it! 20 days of random acts of kindness to inspire others. Some days were harder than others but we really did make a difference. Incase you missed the challenges each week or want a list of your own, here they are! Click the pink links to see how I fulfilled each challenge.
1. Write a handwritten letter – If you have a living grandparent, relative or even old friend that you know loves getting mail, send them an update on your life. You can send pictures along with it and don’t forget to ask specific questions about their life. Make them feel so special that you took the time out of your day to ask them about theirs.
2. Write a review for a local business – Local businesses thrive on people like you and me. They use local advertising and go the extra mile for you in hopes that you tell your friends to come too. Websites like Yelp.com and Urbanspoon.com make leaving a review super easy. Leave a positive review for your favorite local biz whether it’s a favorite boutique, restaurant or hardware store. You could make the difference for a future customer.
3. Donate something – Chances are you have multiple things in your home that you aren’t using anymore (or maybe never did). Some clothes, a present you weren’t too keen on, or a tape player that works great but your NKOTB cassette just won’t turn anymore. But someone out there could really use it. Take it over to Goodwill or if you know of someone who could benefit from your donation leave it on their porch anonymously.
4. Text a joke – Yep!. Just that. Find a joke (or maybe you have a favorite) and email or text it. The goal is to make the person to have Diet Coke come out their nose. Having trouble coming up with one? Thank goodness Wikipedia gives us the world’s funniest joke!
5. Leave a thank you for your mailman – A government worker comes to your house every day so why not surprise them with a thank you? You are literally 30 steps (that’s approximate of course) from the mailbox. Click here for a list of things you can legally give your mailman. (Hints: Light refreshments are a-okay. Liquor and money are not.)
6. Share an inspirational video -There are so many videos on the Internet that make you feel something. Whether that feeling is hope or empathy or strength, you can feel inspired just by watching a short video online. So the challenge is to find an inspirational video to share. You can email it to a close friend, post it on your Facebook or even take your laptop to a friend (or grandmother’s) home to show them in person.
7. Call a friend you haven’t talked to in awhile - I don’t know how it keeps happening but I seem to get busier and busier each week. A lot of my best friends are all over the U.S. (and sometimes outside of it) so grabbing coffee just isn’t an option. This week give a call to a friend you haven’t touched base with in awhile. Trust me, it will be like time hasn’t even passed.
8. Give or share something homemade - Okay, I know being crafty or a “from-scratch-cook” isn’t easy for some people (me included!) but there are plenty of things you can do for this challenge. You could make a handmade card for a loved one, some cookies to take in to your workplace or even make two yummy lunches and give one to a coworker. The extra effort of hand making something will make someone feel very special.
9. Clean something that isn’t yours - You can go big or small with this challenge. You could wash a family members car or do the dishes after a friend cooks dinner. You can offer to clean up the garage for your husband or mop the floor for your wife. You can help your mom weed in her garden or do laundry for your dad. Anything you do will help lighten the load of someone you love. And don’t forget to do it with a smile. No complaining about how dirty (the car/bathroom) is. This is a positive and loving thing you are doing for someone else.
10. Give a stranger a compliment - You may not be able to plan a specific day for this one. It just happens. I like to give women compliments on their clothes, haircut, etc. Women especially are self conscious so next time you are in a grocery store vocalize how much you love her haircut. (Don’t forget to mean it) If you are a man, be careful with the physical compliments or you may end up with a date You can always compliment a waiter/waitress for attentiveness or a sales rep for their great customer service!
11. Feed a friend – Most likely you are eating at home at some point this week. It may be a mac-n-cheese night but you’ll be whipping it up yourself. Invite a friend over for dinner too! Whether you are a top chef or a microwave genius, you will enjoy spending the evening with a friend this week! (TIP: You could include Inspire Challenge #4 at the same time!)
12. Sign a petition – Be passionate about something. I am sure you already are but finding the time to voice your opinion can be difficult. Change.org makes it very simple to take a few minutes and help a group you support. You can search by category or by keyword. Whether you are interested in supporting animals, education or human rights, you can do it easily from wherever you are at change.org!
13. Visit a loved one – I am sure you have somebody in mind that would just love a visit from you. A grandparent, a friend or even an old co-worker. Just an hour of your time could make someone’s whole week!
14. Device free evening/dinner with your friends or family – Put that iPad and smart phone in the other room! We get so attached to our devices whether it is for work purposes or your Instagram obsession. Sometime this week, dedicate a device free evening. If you are planning on a dinner out – all family members leave their phones in the car. If you are eating at home – put them on silent in the other room. If you are REALLY adventurous plan an ENTIRE evening without your devices. Oh yeah, I just said that.
15. Thank a soldier – You may know one personally that you can call, text or Facebook message a thank you to. Even if they are no longer an active member of the military they are still very much part of it. If you do not know one personally you can always shake the hand of a person in uniform you may run in to or use a service like Soldiers’ Angels. Here is a little about Soldiers’ Angels:
You may sign up for as many days in the week as you would like to write letters. On each day you sign up for, your assigned LWT Team Leader will send you (via email) a new name and address to write to. You are only asked to send one card or letter to each address you receive, but of course may send more if you like. Please remember that for security reasons, all our soldiers’ addresses are confidential to Soldiers’ Angels and can only be shared with other registered Soldiers’ Angels, not outside Soldiers’ Angels. Please note that members of the Letter Writing Team must be at least 18 years old.
16. Send an unexpected thank you - You can call it, text it, Facebook it to someone from your past, handwrite it or if you have access to a plane you could write in the sky. But the BEST kind of thank you is the one that is unexpected. We all have received the generic “Thanks for coming to my ____. I will definitely use the ____ that you gave me. I am so happy to have someone like you in my life. Sincerely, ____.” This time around surprise someone with your thank you!
17. Share music with someone - Technology makes it very easy to send a link to a music video or create a playlist on Spotify and share it. This week, make someone’s day through music. Tell them that these songs reminded you of him or her. You could even have a song ready to go in your car when a friend hops in. Jam out, sing your heart out and share it with someone you care about!
18. Write a recommendation on LinkedIn - It doesn’t take long to write a few sentences about someone you respect professionally. It may help them land a job, a new client or just make them feel good that you took the time to say nice things about them.
19. Send a card for a Make-A-Wish child - This one is near and dear to my heart. Chris and I have been volunteers for the Make-A-Wish Foundation for many years and have seen so many small gestures make a huge impact. This week make or buy as many cards as you can for children that are battling life-threatening illnesses. You can do one of two things. One, tell them you are rooting for them while they are in the hospital. You can include jokes, words of encouragement, cool websites for children to play/learn on and anything else you would like to brighten a child’s day. Two, get them PUMPED UP for their trip. A lot of kids go to Disney World so talk about Mickey Mouse or your favorite attraction there. Or it can be generic about traveling and taking the best vacation ever. Throw in some stickers too if you have some lying around.
Once you make your cards you can mail them to your local Make-A-Wish office. Here is the address to the Make-A-Wish® Ohio, Kentucky & Indiana office: Make A Wish Foundation, Attn: Allison Loper, 7330 Woodland Drive, Suite 201, Indianapolis, Indiana 46278
20. Get a co-worker coffee - You know those mornings when everyone is dragging. Maybe there is a lull in activity at the office or you’ve been up 10 hours already and have two more left in your shift. Walk to the coffee maker and make a co-worker coffee. Or you could pick up an extra latte on your way to work OR you could even bring him or her your favorite travel mug with your special blend from home. Any way you choose to perk up your co-worker will be appreciated!