Today starts the first day of Lent and while I wrote about this same topic back when I launched my blog in 2012, I thought it was worth a revisit.
This week is Random Acts of Kindness (RAOK) Week (2/12 – 2/18). It all leads up to National Random Acts of Kindness Day on Friday, February 17th. However don’t forget about the 18th!
While not confirmed, it’s believed that Random Acts of Kindness originated when Anne Herbert wrote, “Practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty” on a place mat in a Sausalito, CA restaurant in 1982 or 1983. Later when Random Acts of Kindness, True Stories of Acts of Kindness, was published in 1993, it set off a chain reaction of support. Americans were inspired to take part after TV, radio and newspapers broadcast/published segments and articles on the subject.
To me, practicing RAOKs is akin to showing appreciation. You’re appreciating those around you by letting them know how much they mean to you – even strangers to whom you may be wordlessly saying, “Hey. I see you! We’re in this together. Here’s something nice for you.” So I try to practice carrying out random acts weekly, but I am always up for focusing my efforts on a greater scale when this week focused on kindness comes along .
You may feel overwhelmed by the task I propose, and are saying, “What can I do?” or “I’ve never done anything like this before.” Never fear I have a few ideas for you.
So I’m sort of on the fence about Valentine’s Day. It could be due to the fact that I’m unattached at the moment and everyone else around me has someone special, but I don’t think my dislike of chocolate and roses, two main staples of this Hallmark holiday, helps.
Still when this holiday rolls around, I can’t help but be a little inspired by all of the craftiness you see in the blogosphere, not to mention the increase in popularity of things to do for
(For those who may be confused: Galentine’s Day is the day where you celebrate your girlfriends. As per Parks & Recreation, where it’s said to have originated, it is celebrated on the day before Valentine’s Day, February 13th.)
Appreciation – It Doesn’t Have to be Reserved for February
I love to show those I care about how much I appreciate them, and while I may not get on the whole Valentine’s or Galentine’s Day bandwagon – and neither should you if it’s not your thing – I thought perhaps I’d turn this into more a heart-themed appreciation post.
I’ve come across some great homemade ideas over the years. So why not skip the card aisle this year and show your love and/or appreciation on February 13th OR February 14th (as we’ve become
trained apt to do) or just do these at any time. Just saying… break the mold once in a while. Appreciation is a year-round thing. 🙂
Today is the The Appreciation Factor’s 5th Anniversary!
Wow! Who knew when I started this blog in 2012 that I would still be here 5 years later. Well….I’d hoped I’d still be here, but you know best intentions and all of that. Here we are, 80+ posts later.
When I started out, I knew that I wanted to create a blog about a topic I was passionate about, so it started with talking about the importance of writing Thank you notes. However, I wasn’t sure that there would be enough content around just writing about thank you notes and I decided to expand it to “sharing appreciation,” but truly it became the overarching topic of appreciation. I also knew that to some degree I couldn’t worry about whether others disagreed with me or not. As I’ve stated in the “about me” page, I primarily write to share my passion about appreciation and gratitude, but I also want to offer a point of view that you may not have considered, or tips to help you share your appreciation.
I’ve been really happy to find ways to expand on my “how to write”/”why write thank you notes” posts to cover Things I Appreciate, like Día de los Muertos, fall, beach etiquette, my fitness quest (still going strong by the way!), New Jersey and many more. You may have also seen two posts where I was fortunate to partner with others. The first as a guest blogger on The Cutie Life, and more recently where I featured etiquette coach, Janet Parnes. Both were extremely rewarding and I’m in talks with other bloggers and professionals to do more!
Two other additions to the blog that have become favorites of mine are Thankful Thursdays where I curate stories and/or videos that I feel exemplify appreciation, have moved me, or talk about people making a difference; and the second where I write about showing appreciation, especially in the form of Random Acts of Kindness (ROAKs) and promoting Giving Tuesday. Both I are causes anyone can do, and both help make the world a better place.
I hope to continue to share some fresh posts on the topics above, and come up with new ones. Part of the
challenge fun about having a blog is that you can come up with new features, approaches or even a new direction. I hope you’ll continue to come along for the ride as I go into my 5th year, as well as share my posts with others, on your blogs or via Social Media, or not… as I’m content to have you simply read and enjoy them. I’m appreciative of all of my followers, and really at the end of the day, if I’ve made you think about something in a new way, or supported a viewpoint you already have, then I’ve already done what I’d hoped to do.
One additional thing that I wanted to clarify. At times I will promote a brand, site, product etc. At this time, The Appreciation Factor is not written for financial gain. I write it to support my passion for all things appreciation and writing. I am not paid, nor do I receive any products to talk about. Candidly I have considered this option and I’m not against this approach as I’ve thought about a post/partnering with a paper company or another service that promoted appreciation, gratitude and thanks yous, but to date, I have not. Should this ever change, I will absolutely let you know, and be very clear about it in the post.
What this means: Unless I state otherwise, all opinions are mine and I’m not compensated for any links or clicks you make on The Appreciation Factor. Feel free click without worry and the ability to see that related content on a separate tab. (A pet peeve of mine are posts that take me away from the content I’m reading just to sell me something. Perhaps that’s how one is “supposed to do it”, but it’s just not for me.) I hope this encourages you to click, read, and share to your heart’s content.
Please, please, please don’t hesitate to also share your ideas. While I’m always searching the internet and news for stories and topics, I may miss something. Let me know if you see something you think I should share or a topic I should cover. I love hearing from my followers.
Best wishes, and many thanks to each of you. Here’s to 5 more years! (Hey I can dream can’t I?)
Happy Thankful Thursday my wonderful followers. I also wish you a Happy 2017. Still can’t believe it’s 2017!
It’s true what they say, the years do fly by faster as you get older, BUT we still need to make and take the time to be grateful and show kindness.
I thought for this Thankful Thursday, I would share some links that I’ve been seeing and things that I’ve been doing around gratitude. I’ve really seen an influx of ideas this January as well as a BIG push for “writing” thank you notes — It makes me excited and grateful. I think starting out the new year with these good intentions is a great way to go, as the new year can really be challenging and overwhelm for some people. This helps put your priorities in a good place.
52 Things in 52 Weeks
This year, in addition to creating a 52 things in 52 weeks list (a much more manageable task than I think the 101 things in 1001 days I tried before), I’ve committed myself to several things around showing gratitude. Here are just a few on my list:
- Write at least 3 things per week that I’m grateful for – this has proved to be a little harder. Not so much as in coming up with things, but remembering to write them down!!
- Write 52 Thank you or Just Because notes – I’m on track having written 6 already! I want to get better at writing more just because ones!
- Volunteer for 5 Events w/ increased contribution over 2016
- Splurge on flowers for myself 1x/month – a little bit of self gratitude can go a long way!
- Complete 365 Rock Your Happy Challenge
- Complete a 100HappyDaysChallenge in words/pictures
BTW: I got the amazing idea for 52 things in 52 week from the L is for Lucy blog. Here’s her 2017 list. Want to make your own? I don’t think it’s too late to do it as 1. You can likely knock off more than 1 in 1 week for a few weeks OR who’s to say when your 52 weeks must start. Maybe you like to start anew in February or in your birthday month!
365 Rock Your Happy Challenge
You might notice #5 that talks about the 365 Rock Yourself Happy Challenge. This is a great challenge by Bree of Baked Bree and Kristen of @dineanddish. Each week, I get 7 tasks, one for each day, to complete. “The prompts are little things that are doable, simple, and shouldn’t take more than a few minutes each day. As they say, “Little things that potentially can have a huge impact in our everyday lives.””
Tasks range from doing things for yourself to prompts of doing things for other people. I signed up as I wanted to start making small changes that make me happier and I was even MORE pleased when I saw how many acts of kindness and gratitude that they include each week. It’s a win win for me.
Definitely consider signing up for this
Happify Happiness Compliment Chain
The Happiness Compliment Chain is a site I found via my #365RockYourSelfHappyChallenge. Developed by Happify, it’s one of the easiest ways to brighten your day and someone else’s. The idea is centered around sending a genuine compliment (in note form) to someone and thereby creating a Kindness Chain. Happify’s thought is that “kindness is contagious and we want to make it easy to spread.” The Kindness Chain is set up to reach numerous people. Here are some compliment “messages” you can choose from. Once you select the one you like, you have the option to write your own messages or use their template version (See the sample below.)
I’ve sent 8 already — just sent another one while writing this post. It is kind of contagious.
Pictures courtesy of happify.com
Connect with someone you love
This is a great idea that requires intention and mindfulness. You may need to “schedule” it until it becomes a habit.
Per Camille Styles one of the top 10 successful and happy women do each morning is connect with someone they love each day. Her suggestions: “Whether it’s a breakfast date with your partner or a tickle session with your kids, connecting with someone you love first thing will set your priorities and remind you of what’s really important. Even if the morning is really busy, try to sit down for a few minutes over breakfast and talk about what’s going on in each others’ lives.
I love this idea.
Performing Random Acts of Kindness
If you’ve been following me long (It will be 5 years in 2 weeks!!), you know that I’m a HUGE supporter of performing Random Acts of Kindness aka #ROAKs. Sometimes the challenge with these can be the lack of ideas of how to execute one. Well fret no more. In this week’s #365RockYourselfHappyChallenge I am tasked with “Doing a Good Deed.” Fortunately I had something in mind, but the girls provided me with this link to The Random Acts of Kindness Blog. How I didn’t see this particular site before when I’ve promoted ROAKs, I don’t know, but it’s amazing!
Some “topics” you can choose from:
- Ideas You Can Do with Your Family
- Ideas for Strangers
- Things to Do at Work
- Things to do Online
I was pretty impressed with the Sports option on myself. (These include cleaning gym equipment and cheering on a teammate). I think I would add, “Make a sign cheering someone on,” or “Wishing him/her good luck before the game.” The other idea I can’t wait to try is donating books to (in my case) a Little Free Library and a year of thank you notes (as listed in my 52 things list.)
ANYONE can perform a random act of kindness and it really does make a difference in your life and to those you’ve done it for.
Other things worth noting
On LinkedIn I’m seeing a growing number of articles that promote the Handwritten Thank you note. Just today I read one by Lauri Hennessey in reference to meeting for Coffee. Check it out here.
Not sure how to write one? Check out my detailed posts here (Why you should hand write them) and here (Tips on writing a memorable thank you note).
Did you notice all of the brands/companies that sent Thank you Emails or had an “Thank-you” message as a stand-alone commercial during the holidays and in the first few weeks of this year? I did, and I was impressed. I’m definitely more inclined to shop at a store that appreciates me.
What additional ideas do you have for sharing kindness, happiness and gratitude?
I’d love to hear them and share them in an upcoming Thankful Thursday’s issue!
Drop me a note or comment below.
Happy New Year
Photo Credit: Paperless Post & The Indigo Bunting/Erin Jang
I wanted to take a moment to Thank All of You… my Followers especially, but also the visitors, mentors, and fellow bloggers as well, that continue to visit and/or comment on my site, The Appreciation Factor. I hope you’ve found the posts helpful, insightful, or that they’ve provided a new point of view. I’m so grateful for you all.
I know I didn’t post as often as I
should have wanted to this year, but my passion for all things Appreciation has not wavered, but simply the act of completing the posts was challenging at times for me. This was especially true when I always wanted to ensure that my posts and topics are fresh/new content and paused when I wasn’t sure that it was. Still for 2017, I hope to overcome these insecurities challenges and get more posts out in the new year.
Know that I’m forever grateful for your support, and for those that continue (or start) to follow this blog. You cheer me and humble me simultaneously.
May you have much success and happiness in 2017!
I hope you’ll come back for fresh content, tips on saying and writing thank yous (or just notes), and for new things to appreciate.
I do have a few ideas up my sleeve and hope to start posting in early January. (Thanks for your patience!)
k of taf
Fahhhhhll…. Is anyone else loving how the fall foliage has remained on the trees much longer this year? I know I am. Apparently the fluctuations of warm weather and lack of frosts are the culprit – which doesn’t bode well environmentally, but, well, I’ll take it if not simply for its beauty.
As you may know, I’m a proclaimed beach girl, so summer is my go to time of the year, but fall…. well fall has always run a close second and perhaps at times takes the lead before the approach of May/June when it summer becomes the front-runner once again.
I think I enjoy fall so much because for me, fall is the time to start anew – perhaps more so than January 1st.
Likely this harkens back to my school days, which I somewhat dreaded, yet looked forward to for the fresh start they brought. Fall was a time where you could reinvent yourself, try something new, fall in love, or just gain a new perspective. Plus, well, I’m also a fan of fall sports.
I also love fall for the dramatic visuals it gives us. As someone who once lived in an area that didn’t have distinctive seasons, fall was definitely the one I missed the most. You may think that living in spring/summer all of time sounds ideal, but really, at least for me, I missed the change to crisp cool weather and the red, orange, yellow, and even the brown, foliage. I longed for crisp cool days where I could pull on a cozy sweater and boots and explore hushed woods and leaf-strewn pathways vs. sandy beaches and sun-baked terrain.
There’s something magical and overwhelmingly peaceful about walking on nature trails in New England in the fall and stopping to hear… “nothing”… well not nothing, but possibly a slight breeze, a bubbling brook, and/or the rustling of leaves. For me, it’s like time momentarily stops and a calming sense of peace overcomes me. I’m overtaken by the beauty of the colors, the earthy smells, and a feeling of how grateful I am to be there in that moment, appreciative of being alive, and enjoying fall in all her splendor.
The last two weeks I’ve been changing up my exercise routine to include more outdoor walks along many of the Trustees of the Reservations trails and local land trust parks. I’m in awe and have an appreciation of the beauty I’ve encountered. Here are just a few snaps. (Check out that one leaf pic – it was LARGER than my head!!!)
What about you… what season is your favorite? If you love fall like me, what do you appreciate about it most?