8 Reasons to Be Kind this Year and 3 Kind Acts You Can Do Immediately

As we begin a new year it has become increasingly clear how important it is to be kind to one another, and how lacking the world has been in kindness in the last year. While we may not be able to change things on a global scale, we can make a difference to those around us by sharing a little kindness in unexpected ways in this coming year. Here are my top 8 reasons why we should all focus on spreading kindness in 2018.

  1. Karma

Whether you believe in Karma or not, we can all agree that what goes around comes around in this world. And, we all know that sharing out kindness increases our chances of getting kindness back.

  1. Kindness Feels Good

If you are anything like me, you get a goofy grin on your face when you know you have done something really cool for someone else. It makes us happy to do kind things to someone else, and we all love it when we can surprise someone with an unexpected kindness.

  1. Kindness Lowers Your Stress

When we focus on being kind, we are by default shifting our focus from ourselves to others. We stop looking at our worries and problems for a while. Dwelling on our shortcomings, our own problems or being inward looking only adds to our stress. Helping someone out who is in a worse situation can, in fact, lower our stress level and add some well-needed happiness endorphins to our bloodstream.

  1. Kindness is Contagious

Like a smile, kindness is contagious. It makes both the sender and receiver feel great. People who feel great spread more kindness. What a great thing to catch kindness and spread it all around!

  1. Kindness Broadens Our Perspective.  

In order to be kind, we have to pay attention to what is happening around us.  It makes us take notice of things we hadn’t seen before and see things from someone else’s point of view.  A broader perspective helps us to keep things in context when times are tough.

  1. Kindness Connects Us to Each Other

When we share kindness, we show the other person respect and ensure they feel less alone.  By recognizing someone’s need for help and acting on it in a compassionate manner, we make the recipient feel valued.

  1. Kindness Makes a Difference

We can never really know the far-reaching consequences of random acts of kindness. A simple kind act can change someone’s day and could be the difference between someone giving up or finding the strength to keep going. Never underestimate the power of kindness and the impact it can have.

  1. Kindness Teaches Us

When we act, we often have little eyes watching and learning from our behavior, good and bad. How fabulous it is for children to have acts of kindness exhibited often in their lives, what a great lesson to learn young.

3 Simple Ways You Can Show Kindness Right Now

 

  1. Call someone who is alone for a chat.

Give someone who lives alone a little of your time with a call to just say hi and see how they are.

  1. Compliment someone in a meaningful way.

Think of ways to compliment people in great ways. Not just about their looks, but about the way they handled an event or spoke.

  1. Smile more often

It’s hard to be seen as kind if you always look too serious or grumpy. Smiling really is infectious and is one of the quickest ways share kindness around.

Kindness is a powerful thing and something we can never have enough of. After all, in a world where we can be anything, let’s also be kind.

New Year’s Resolutions – Will we ever change?

Ok, so let’s be honest, who is still managing to stick to the resolutions you made on New Year’s Eve? If you are anything like the majority of us who make resolutions you have already given up. Sure, some of us manage to keep up the momentum for a little longer. Yes, the gym is still busy, but go back in a few weeks and all those newbies who were full of determination to get in shape will be gone. But, they will be back again next January to try again.

If we all know we are not likely to keep our resolutions why do we keep making them? What is it that makes us think we can change the habits of a lifetime in one bold statement at midnight on the 31st December? According to historians, we have been making resolutions each new year for millenniums. Historians believe the ancient Babylonians were the first humans to start making these resolutions. More than 4000 years ago they would celebrate the new year with a full 12 days of festivities, during which time they made promises to their gods to pay their debts and return any objects they had borrowed. Unfortunately, we don’t have statistics on how many of these celebrating Babylonians remembered their promises a week after the festivities.

Others along the course of history have also made determined resolutions at the change of year. The ancient Romans under Julius Caesar offered sacrifices to the gods and promised to behave better in the coming year. Early Christians took time to look back on the mistakes of the previous year and also resolved to do better in the coming one. Now the habit of setting new year’s resolutions has become a more secular event, posted on our Instagram or promised to friends over a few too many glasses of bubbles at the strike of midnight. Instead of making promises to the gods, we promise ourselves varying goals of self-improvement.

Definition:

New Year’s resolution is a tradition, most common in the Western Hemisphere but also found in the Eastern Hemisphere, in which a person resolves to change an undesired trait or behavior, to accomplish a personal goal or otherwise improve their life.

Yet, despite our good intentions statistics say only 8% of us will be successful in making a permanent change through the habit of a new year’s resolution. But this dismal history of making and breaking resolutions probably won’t stop us from continuing to do it every year for another 4000 years.

So what is the key to making a change? And why do we seem to fail so miserably at keeping these grand resolutions? The answer is both time and timing. We expect that making a resolution at the strike of midnight at the end of the year is all that is needed to make a dramatic change in our lives. We forget that habits of a lifetime might take a little more time to change. We also have very little compassion for ourselves when we fall off the wagon of our resolutions. Instead of seeing a relapse as just a hiccup on the way to change, we see it as the end of the plan; we failed so we might as well give up now and try again next year.

If we want to have any hope of lasting success our new year’s resolutions need to have a timeframe that is a lot longer. Many believe it takes around 21 days to change a habit. In fact, it takes a lot longer. For lasting change it is better to allow up to 60 days for a new habit to settle in. Setting a longer timetable will give you more chance of success. Give up on the desire for immediate results. Nothing happens overnight. It has taken you years to settle into your current habits. These will not change quickly. Overcoming a bad habit can be a lifelong process. Add this to the knowledge that we will screw up sometimes. We will miss the gym, gorge on chocolate cake and down a few too many glasses of wine. If we see these ‘screw-ups’ as simply part of the journey towards change rather than signs of our weakness we might actually pick ourselves up and keep going with the resolution. The only other alternative is to stay on the treadmill of making and breaking resolutions each January and vowing to do better next year. How many years would you like to try that for?

Another key point about lasting change is to realise that the 1st of January is no magic day. You are not going to wake up in the next year with a bucket load of willpower that you didn’t have the year before. Better to make a change when the time is right for you. Plan your change in advance and do it well equipped and ready to succeed. Embrace the fact that changing a habit is about changing a pattern that you liked. Find a way to like the change rather than dragging yourself miserably through the first week of January only to find release when you finally break the resolution and get back to doing what you have always liked.

So to finish on a brighter note, if you have already broken your New Year’s resolution don’t give up yet. You can keep working your resolution all through the next 12 months and arrive at the next New Year’s Eve already improved.

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The One Thing You Can Do in 2018 to Improve Your Health and the Health of the Planet

There is no way to sugar-coat this, the best thing you can do in 2018 for your health and for the future of this planet is to cut meat and animal products out of your diet. But, before you skip to another page looking for an easier topic, take a moment to let us tell you the reasons why changing your diet, might just change your life and help the planet.

For Your Health

The WHO has just listed meat as a carcinogenic. Yes, carcinogenic, as in cancer-causing agent, right alongside smoking and excessive drinking. Health professionals have come to realize that meat and particularly processed meats are not actually good for our health. Worse than that, excessive intake of these meats increases your risk of cancer, a lot.

Most people already know that too much meat is bad for them. But many don’t realize how much your body will thank you for changing to a plant-based diet. To begin with, your stomach is much happier on diet of water and fibre as opposed to one full of hard to digest muscle and sinews. It only takes a few days for you to notice the increased energy you will have when cutting animal products from your diet. And should I mention, the weight loss that usually goes along with a switch to whole foods? There is a long list of reasons to change your diet for the benefit of your health; reduces inflammation, lowers your cholesterol levels, reduces chances of getting stage 2 diabetes and many more.

For Our Sustainability

Changing to a plant-based diet is the way of the future. With more than 7.6 billion people on this planet, we just cannot go on eating animals at the rate we do. Current US consumption levels estimate that the average American will eat 7000 animals in their lifetime. That is an insane amount of meat and billions of us eating meat at that rate is going to cause a lot of problems. Our diet of meat already contributes to hunger crises in other parts of the world. This is happening as the majority of crops being grown around the world are now for feeding animals rather than humans. By being part of the change to plant-based diets, we are stepping towards a future where we can try harder to feed everyone on this planet in a way that is sustainable.

For Our Environment

Meat production is the leading cause of CO2 emissions on our warming planet. One kilo of meat produced creates the same amount of greenhouse gases as a 3-hour car ride. Meat production is the biggest consumer of water and land in the world and the demand for more is expanding each year. The need for more land to feed animals has caused the deforestation of some of the most important oxygen producing forests on our planet and is the reason for the extinction of many species who lived in these biodiverse ancient forests. Reducing our global demand for meat is one large step towards reversing some of the damage we have made to this planet.

For the Animals

Eating meat and animal products is not just bad for us; it is also bad for the animals. Yes, I am stating the obvious, but somehow we seem to have overlooked that animals are beings that also feel suffering. Many people give up meat simply due to the mistreatment of animals in process of producing food for our plates. Animals raised for food production suffer throughout a process that sees them only as products for consumption. Abuse of animals in this process is also more common than you think, and downright inhumane practices happen daily. If you need more evidence of this I suggest you have a look at one of the many documentaries on the subject. The documentary Cowspiracy might just be the tipping point you need to forever remove meat from your plate.

For Our Common Good  

Changing to a plant-based diet is one of the best choices you can make for your health and for the future of our planet. More than this it is a choice to live a more compassionate life. It starts by becoming more aware of how our choices affect ourselves, the planet and all those we share it with. This shift towards conscious compassion for our planet and all those on it is the most important and impacting change one can make. And it is one I hope you will consider as we head into 2018.

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