I am starting today, January 1 2014, with a post regarding Random Acts of Kindness. Why? Because I’ve had a few slung my way this past week and it just feels like the right thing to talk about…I’ve also experienced the alternative.

Who doesn’t like a few thoughtful friends, acquaintances, or complete strangers in their life?

I want to encourage you to spend the next week practicing the following steps:

1. Tell someone at work about a random act of kindness you experienced and ask them about one they experienced.

2. Give another driver your parking spot, grocery cart, place in line…etc.

3. Put out bird seed for the winter birds..it’s cold and they’re probably scrounging to survive.

4. Call up everyone you know and wish them a Happy New Year…or send them a quick note via your favorite social media.

5. Put flowers or a plant in a place that’s normally stark and depressing. Spice it up with color.

6. When someone is trying to change lanes or merge in front of you, let them in…don’t do the fake “I don’t see you” thing.

7. When someone at work is stressing over a big project, a problem, or anything at all–take them a coffee or a snack with a nice note attached. Drop it on their desk when they’re not there and surprise them.

8. Give the UPS, Fedex, or Mail guy a gift…maybe some cookies or chocolates…or a starbucks card.

9. Go to a movie, buy a box of candy and take one piece then pass it down the row. Tell the next person to take one and pass it on too. See what happens. Popcorn might work too…

10. Think back on someone that made an impact on your life with their random act of kindness and send them a note of thanks. It’s a great way to start the year off right.

Lastly, when you have a choice between snapping at the obnoxious person that just dumped on you…or responding with empathy or kindness…choose kindness. I know, that’s a toughie…even for me. Two days ago, I had an old acquaintance that has plagued me with mean reviews of books and snarky words because my books are a little too explicit for her send me a very mean note. I have thought for days on how to respond and now have chosen not to. What would be an appropriate act of kindness? I’m having trouble coming up with one.