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Is it possible that two words could have such a profound impact if they were regularly applied…yes! It seems so simple for kindness to rule the day; the question is, why does it seem these days that it doesn’t always reign supreme? Even as I ask myself these questions, there is the other part of me that continues to say, be the change you want to see. So I’m taking this opportunity to reflect and share how I can be more intentional about being kind, whether it’s in the things I say to others, the action I display or in my thinking.

The saying goes, “sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me”. This could not be further from the truth. The way we speak to others can have a profound impact on how we make those around us feel. That’s why it’s so important to show kindness through words. This doesn’t even require that you know someone well. Making a perfect stranger's day by saying something thoughtful could be just what was needed to turn that person's day around. Because of the increased stress that so many people deal with, offering encouragement is one of the simplest ways to show kindness.

Because being kind isn’t just relegated to what we say, showing acts of kindness to those around us, not only has a lasting impact on the recipients but it also has a way of making the giver feel rewarded as well. I can’t count the number of times where I’ve shown an act of kindness, the warm and fuzzy feeling it gives me, but sometimes it requires intentionality and it doesn’t always have to be anything big. Something as simple as looking back to open the door for someone walking behind you or letting someone ahead of you in the grocery line that had fewer items can be thoughtful gestures.

Beyond what we say and what we do, there is also learning to be kind even with your thoughts. This could be related to what you think about yourself or someone else. Not to sound “out there” but there is considerable evidence to show that what we think does impact us and others. That’s why it’s important to show kindness to yourself and others in this way. In line with this, because what we think plays into what we say and do, there is a direct connection.

There could not be a more ideal time to practice kindness than now. As we watch the daily news, stream online programming or scroll through social media, it’s evident that we need to go back to the basics. At the core of that is treating our fellow man with kindness. This can be exemplified in what we say, what we do and even how we think. We all have a responsibility to want to be kind to ourselves and others and it doesn’t take a special formula, just a little intentionality. I submit to you today to keep it simple…Be Kind!

The beginning of a new year always presents a fresh opportunity to create a “new you.” With this can come the spectrum of transformations. Some transformations require simple adjustments, while others dictate a more intense, long term process. Most would say that the level to which an individual commits to the process is congruent to the results and long term benefits achieved. The “why” and the “what” needs to be considered to seek the best chance at success.

It goes without saying that you get out what you put in. When evaluating the type of transformative goal you have, it’s always important to be clear about the “why”. The reason for this is, it helps to build the foundation in order to yield the best results. Oftentimes when we are not clear on the “why” that means we are doing something that correlates to the level of comment we are giving.

Beyond the “why”, it’s what is necessary to see the transformation through. Having a clear lay of the land as they say will assist in this. Ways this can be defined is by understanding the variables including; cost, time commitment, support needs, professional experience and skill set of others. Along with this is the importance of clearly defining what, if anything, is involved in order to achieve optimal benefits or results.

Whether your eyes are set on a simple transformation; changing up your personal image, changing your diet, starting a new exercise routine or something more in-depth; going back to college, starting a business or changing careers, the “why” and the “what” have to be clearly defined. No one goes into a transformation wanting to fail, but if you don’t have the proper tools in place, failure is likely what you’re setting yourself up for. Make 2023 the year that you take the appropriate steps toward a rewarding and successful transformation.

When I was a child I recall the lyrics of a song my mom would often sing where a part of the song said, “I have joy, joy, joy down in my heart”. I would often sing these words to myself while I was aimlessly in play. As I’ve gotten older, it takes a certain amount of intentionality to be joyful. The holidays is the perfect time to crank up the joy meter. You can enjoy a favorite activity, spend some quality time with your favorite people or revisit a special childhood memory.

Around this time of year I always look forward to doing one of my favorite activities…ice skating. Something about being on the ice, going around the rink listening to the holiday music always makes me happy. I don’t do it as often as I used to. But, it never fails, the moment I’m back on the ice, there’s a jubilance that comes over me. I always look forward to when the next time will come.

For me, there is nothing like spending quality time with the special people in my life. I have an amazing tribe of family and friends. When I get to share a good laugh among my close connections there is nothing like it. I’m always fascinated by the positive energy felt through laughter. Then, there are times where having a really great conversation brings joy.

Reflecting on your childhood sometimes has a way of bringing up joyous memories. I can think of a number of them, but some of my fondest were the many hours playing board games and card games with my siblings. The game Life, Monopoly, Uno, Connect Four, Othello and BattleShip. As much as I enjoyed when I won, I found the most enjoyment of the togetherness we were able to share.

I try to look for as many ways to be joyful and spread joy. This sometimes requires intentionality; especially with the responsibilities that come with being an adult. But, during this holiday season try to create opportunities to experience and share joy. The world could use a little more of it! Joy, Peace and Love to you during this season and into the coming year.

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