I’m not a resolution kind of person; resolutions usually leave me feeling frustrated. However, I recently read a really neat story “A Deed a Day” by Shannon Anderson, which has been published by the Chicken Soup for the Soul organization. In this story the author laments the routine that she and her family had fallen into, busy schedules, ships passing in the night, not really treating each other with respect and love. So she came up with the idea of a deed diary.
The idea was for each member of the family to do one unexpected good deed every day, write it down and then talk about their deeds at dinner every night. As you might imagine, this was met by rolled eyes, sighs and resignation, but she stood firm.
Anderson writes that the going was rough at first, but after a few weeks, her daughters were competing to see who could tell her about their good deed first. Within a year the good deed a day had transformed even her own outlook on life. She writes that instead of waking each morning wondering what the day would hold for her, she awoke wondering what she could do for someone else.
What a marvelous thing, to wake up each day excitedly wondering what nice thing you can do for someone else. I like this idea. I like the idea of keeping a diary of your deed—one deed a day that you record. The diary provides the accountability. The sharing with family provides the opportunity to have meaningful conversation with the people we tend to take for granted in our lives. And, when you are feeling down and blue, you have but to open your good deed diary, peruse the entries and surround yourself with good feelings of things unselfishly done for someone else.
How would it transform you to resolve to do a good deed a day and record it in a notebook? Instead of resolving to do something for yourself like losing weight or kicking a bad habit like smoking, resolve to do at least one small deed for someone else each day. Three hundred sixty five small acts of kindness.
Approaching the traditional New Year’s resolution from this point of view can refresh a stale tradition. It might even refresh your family in this hectic, fast-paced world, and what a great way to encourage your children to live a gracious life.
So consider giving new meaning to the salutation “cheers”. Make 2012 a year of small, everyday cheer for someone. And maybe, just maybe, your world (and someone else’s too) will be a little better for it.
Have a happy and blessed 2012!
© 2012 Michele Arduengo. All rights reserved.