2016 has certainly been a tough year. Not only has the news been filled with stories of disaster and despair, many of us have experienced our own personal tragedies.
If you’ve had a rough 12 months, you might find it hard to be optimistic about the future. Although we certainly cannot prevent bad things from happening in the coming year, we can do our bit to make the world a nicer place. And by making an effort to be kind to others, we may unknowingly spark a ripple effect that spreads positivity further than we ever thought possible.
Looking for inspiration? Here are 6 ways to make 2017 better than 2016:
Follow your dreams
Fear has an awful lot to answer for. It prevents us taking risks and stops us following our dreams. By making this the year you aim high and chase after the things you want in life, you can increase your chances of happiness and become a stronger person than ever before.
Unhappy at work? Spend January improving your skills and looking for a new role. Convinced your partner’s not ‘The One’? Break up with them sensitively. Want to drop everything and travel the world? Take a good look at your finances and start planning your trip!
Save a life
If you’re eligible to give blood but have yet to book an appointment, make 2017 the year you start. It’s relatively painless and takes just a matter of minutes. Not only will you feel like a superhero afterwards, you’ll also get given a free cup of tea and some biscuits afterwards! Who can say no to that?
Have you thought about what you want to happen to your organs after you pass away? Death might not be a nice thing to think about but there’s something reassuring about knowing your organs can save other people’s lives after yours has ended. Think of it this way: If you’d be willing to accept an organ if you needed one, you should be willing to give one after your death.
Forgiveness is one of those things that’s easier said than done, particularly when we’ve been hurt by someone we love. But by forgiving those who have wronged us and moving on with our lives, we can improve our relationships with others, reduce anxiety and stress, boost our immune systems and help to make the world a more positive and optimistic place.
Be kind to strangers
From rushing to work in the morning and pushing our way through rush hour crowds to losing our patience with the slow person in the queue in front of us, many of us have days where we’re a little unkind or unfriendly to people we don’t know. It’s all too easy to get annoyed with one tiny aspect of a stranger’s personality or behaviour, forgetting that in reality they’re a complex person just like ourselves.
Everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle you know nothing about. That person you snap at in the supermarket may have lost a relative and that person you shout at through your car window could have had a horrible day at work. By being a little more understanding with those we don’t know, we can make the world a nicer place.
Help worthy causes
From making regular donations to a children’s charity to volunteering at a homeless shelter, there are so many ways you can help worthy causes throughout 2017. Not only can your time and money make a huge difference to the lives of others, you could also use your voice and influence to spread the word. Whenever you discover a fantastic new cause or initiative, be sure to share it with your friends on social media.
Share positive news
We’re all too familiar with the negativity that floods our TVs, newspapers and mobile devices. But amidst all the horrible news, a lot of good deeds and moments of kindness go unnoticed. Spend an afternoon tidying up your social media accounts and following pages that are devoted to spreading positive news. Love What Matters and Humans of New York are great places to start.