Find Your “Why”: What is YOUR Motivation for Making Better Choices?

In this week’s discussion, we are going to talk about finding the “why” and how having a “why” can help in making better choices. All people are capable of real change, they only need the right motivation. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase that you can’t help someone unless they want to help themselves first. This is a very true statement. Unless we have found our own “why” or reason(s) to change and make better choices, we are usually content to stay in the situation we are in currently. A lot of times, those changes don’t come until we’ve reached rock bottom. You can see this a lot with people who are overweight and have a health scare who then find the motivation that they need to become healthy. However, reaching rock bottom is not a requirement for change. We are all capable of changing and making better choices, we only need to discover our “why.” 

There are many reasons or “whys” for making better choices. However, those reasons can usually be limited to three main categories. Therefore, week three will be about those three reasons. Each of these reasons can be broken down into multiple categories but each reason is a good place to start to find your “why.” These “whys” can be easily remembered as the three F’s. Which are friends, family, and future self. 

Friends- The first “why” are friends. Friends can be a good motivator. Especially if you have a friend that you look up to and admire. If there is a friend that you look up to and admire, and they are in a place in their life that you would like to be in yours, you can use that friend as a great motivator to help in making the choices necessary to get where you’d like to be. This is not a competition or game. This is the same idea as exercising with a friend. Many health enthusiasts recommend having a workout buddy because it can help to motivate you. Sometimes it’s easier to do the hard things when you have someone you love and trust standing beside you with similar goals, helping you and encouraging you. 

Family- The second “why” is family. Not everyone’s family is perfect, granted. But there is great motivation to be found in a family. Whether you’re a parent or grandparent, cousin, or sibling–using your family to help and motivate you is a great way to make better choices. Whether it’s your children and a desire to make a better life for them, your parents and a desire to make them proud of you, or a more distant relative like an uncle, aunt, cousin, or grandparent who you look up to and admire. Find someone in your family who motivates you and use that person as a way to make better choices. 

Future Self- The last and most important motivating “why” is your future self. This “why” is probably more important than the others in that it can be the “why” that inspires greater, more long-lasting change. However, this is also probably the hardest “why” to attain because a lot of times it requires that we reach rock bottom, or sometimes what feels like rock bottom to obtain it. This can also be the hardest emotionally because it requires a lot of self-discovery and honest self-evaluation. It also requires a lot more discipline because the “why” is something you can’t really see right now. 

For instance, in an article titled How Every Single Decision Affects Your Future (+4 Ways to Be More Decisive) Lidiya K gives a great example of how using the self as your “why” can be difficult. She suggests asking yourself if your future self will be happy with the choice you’re about to make. But then she goes on to point out how difficult that can be. She states, “When it comes down to eating junk food, for instance, it won’t be, for sure. You may feel the instant satisfaction this kind of food brings, but you’re making future you fat and in bad shape.” It is difficult to see that future self and fully understand the weight of the choices we are making and their consequences. A lot of times bad decisions are made through the lens of what will give us instant satisfaction and a lot of times that instant satisfaction is just that–an instant. We sacrifice our future selves for that momentary pleasure. Therefore, the “why” of future self may be the hardest to obtain but probably the most worthwhile. 

In a Time Magazine article, J.D. Meier shares 15 Ways to Motivate Yourself and Others. As part of the piece, he too talks about finding the “why” that motivates us. He suggests that we find the “why” that motivates us and then turn it into a “one-liner” which we can repeat to ourselves when we face setbacks. He argues that this “gets me back on track, sharing the best of what I know.” Meier also states that “If you can master motivation, you can deal with life’s setbacks, as well as inspire yourself to always find a way forward, and create new experiences for yourself, and follow your growth.” And so, we must find our motivation for making better choices. If we want to change ourselves for the better and create our destiny, we must be willing to make the choices that lead us to where we want to go. Find your motivation today and get back on track. 

Homework: As homework for this week take some time to find your “why.” Examine your life, your goals, your family, your friends and try to establish a “why” that motivates you. Once you have found your “why” write it down, put it on your wall where you can see it every day and repeat it to yourself daily and especially when you face setbacks. 

Author: Briana Pugh

Sources: 

Lidiya K.: https://letsreachsuccess.com/2015/07/03/decisions/ Time: http://time.com/4262774/motivation-ways/

How to Make Better Choices: Steps to Changing Your Life Through Choice

This week we are going to focus on how we can make better choices in our lives. When making important decisions, it is essential that you calculate what is the logical choice as well as what is your emotional choice. Usually when those two factors coincide you find an answer that will suit your life. One of the ways to make better choices is to change the way we make choices and making those ways a habit. 

Barrie Davenport says in her article, Making Good Choices: 6 Steps to Reclaim Your Personal Power, “If you learn how to create sustainable habits properly, then you can transform any good choice into a regular habit.” A lot of really bad things have come from choices made in the heat of the moment. In contrast, a lot of good has come from developing healthy habits. When we make good choices a habit, we make it easier for ourselves to continually make those good choices. There are four steps that are outlined here on how to make better choices. Making these steps a habit can help good choice-making a habit. 

First: The first thing to do when making a decision is to outline the issue. If you can go so far as to write it out on a piece of paper, that would help too. Some good things to include in your outline is what the issue is, how long you have to decide, what are the consequences of each choice, who will this effect, and what are the possible outcomes. Writing out an outline is a good way to visually see the issue and it can help to give a new or different perspective on how to handle it. 

Second: What are your options? Figure out what the options are or what choices you have that you can make concerning the issue. For instance, if the issue is deciding where to go to college, this would be the place to write out all the colleges that you’ve been accepted to. Again, writing out a list is a good visual way to see each choice that you have. Try not to overload on information either. You don’t want to overwhelm yourself with too many options or too much information. 

Third: The next thing to do is to focus a little more in-depth on the consequences. As we all know, most choices have both good and bad consequences. So making a list of those consequences is a good way to see exactly what you will be getting with each choice you could make. Or as a lot of people call it, a pro and con list. Take each option or choice and make a pro and con list of what each one entails. Make each list on a separate piece of paper and look at each choice side-by-side to see how they compare. 

Fourth: The last and final thing to do when making a decision is to make the decision. Pick one option. As was stated in week one, sometimes just taking a small step forward can help.  Sometimes all it takes is making a decision to know if it’s the right one. This is probably the scariest part but it’s a leap of faith. Once you’ve outlined your issue, figured out all your options, focused on the pros and cons, you must make the decision. Once you have assessed all the logical facts about your choices, you make the choice.  Then when you’ve made a choice, you will be able to immediately assess how you feel about a choice and know whether it’s the right one or not. Sometimes even imagining you’ve made the choice can help. So take a moment and imagine the choice you want to make, imagine the consequences. How does it make you feel? If you don’t feel satisfied, then make a different choice. 

Follow these steps and you can create a habit of making better choices. Eventually, these habits will manifest in your life as the destiny you desire. As Davenport states, “One of the problems with making repeated bad choices and creating a string of bad habits is that it makes us feel like we’re doomed to failure. We’ve probably received enough negative reinforcement from others that we start to believe we’re incapable of change or just not smart enough to make good choices. It doesn’t matter how many poor choices we’ve made in the past. Today is a blank slate, and we all have the opportunity to start fresh — even if we just fell off the wagon yesterday. Just hop back on and begin again.” We all have the chance to change and begin again to make better choices. That’s the beauty of choice and accountability. We all have the chance, and choice, to start again. As L.M. Montgomery once said, “Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?” So start today, if you’ve been horrible at making decisions in the past, start today and make a new habit of good choices. 

Homework: As homework for this week, try out these steps that have been outlined here and utilize them on a decision that you have to make. It can be something small at first just to test out how these steps work for you. Once you’ve got a handle on these few steps, you can try practicing these steps with a larger decision. Also, check out this article in WikiHow on steps for making choices. It has some great tips on how to go about making better choices as well.  

Author: Briana Pugh

Sources:

WikiHow: https://www.wikihow.com/Make-Better-Decisions 

Davenport: https://liveboldandbloom.com/01/habits/making-good-choices

The Power of Choices: How Choices Can Influence Your Life and Future

We all hold power within us to effect change. That power is birthed from the choices we make. James Esdras Faust, an American religious leader, lawyer, and politician once said, “Tomorrow’s blessings and opportunities depend on the choices we make today.” We hold within our choices the power to change our lives, change the lives of those around us, and the power to choose our destiny. 

In an article titled, The Power of Choice, Sam Silverstein discusses the power of our choices. He states, “Our choices not only affect us today, but affect our abilities and our choices in the future. For instance, if you feel out of control in a given situation, you may choose to withdraw or avoid the problems at hand. This choice leads you to escape from a challenge instead of confronting and possibly overcoming it. The degree to which you avoid or escape from problems today impairs your ability to face, deal with, and grow from various challenges in the future. As the complexity of life evolves, one choice will build on another, enabling you to handle increasingly difficult situations.” As he states; when we avoid the choices we are faced with we inhibit ourselves and cause ourselves to become overwhelmingly incapable of handling life. 

It is essential for us to make good choices and recognize the power of those choices. Silverstein also mentions an important aspect of choices that we must remember. That is that our choices not only affect our lives and our future, but our choices can also have an impact on others’ lives. He states, “Making choices also means accepting the idea that we are part of a bigger picture. We are not alone in our choices. Our choices affect not only ourselves, but the people around us. Our choices shape our actions. Our actions are received and interpreted by those around us. These actions shape the opinions and feelings of those individuals and, ultimately, the actions they take for or against our behalf.” Silverstein makes the pertinent point that we not only affect our lives when we make choices, but we can also influence others around us and change their lives in the process. 

He goes on to give a few examples of how our choices can affect our lives and futures. He states, “Some choices we make, like our financial well being, will ultimately affect the members of our immediate family. As we grow financially, we are in a position to provide on a different level for those we love. We make choices regarding our values and how we balance our lives. These choices will certainly impact our family and friends. How you treat others professionally will impact the results your business team achieves. As you can see, the choices we make can affect a wide array of people in our lives.” In Silverstein’s example, we can see that our choices can affect the lives of those around us. Sometimes it’s pretty simple to see the influence our choices have. Or sometimes it’s more obscure. However, our choices can have an impact on our future and the lives of others. 

Psychiatrist William Glasser developed a theory in 1996 called Choice Theory. He argued that we have direct control over how we act and think. Which in turn, how we think and act can influence how we feel and our physiology. These four elements of choice, work together to make up who we are and how our lives evolve. If one of these components changes, the rest will follow. How we think influences how we act and how we act influences how we feel which will then influence our physiological well-being. Emily Holland, in an article titled The Psychology Behind Choice-Making, and How it Can Help You Reach Your Goals, discusses Glasser’s Choice Theory and gives an example of how the theory actually works. She states, “For example, say one of your goals is to get into shape–more specifically, you want to run a mile without stopping. If you are feeling emotionally and physically exhausted, according to Choice Theory, actually doing something about it is the most effective course of action.” She suggests that, according to Glasser’s theory, if you just take the first steps to reach your goal it will lead to more positive thinking about it, feeling better emotionally about it and improving your physical health. By taking the first step and even just walking one-mile, it will influence your thinking, acting, feeling, and physiological well-being. 

steps to success

She goes on, “In short, you choose what you think and do, resulting in how you feel. Taking proper action produces your thoughts and in turn influences how you feel. When you make choices that bring you one step closer to meeting your goals, it leads to more positive thinking and enhanced emotional and physical well-being.” This is a theory that many people believe and act on but don’t necessarily attribute to Glasser. But if you were to take a gander into the world of physical health, you’d see this theory in play constantly. For instance, some have said that to convince yourself to workout, all you need to do is to break down the steps into smaller steps. Start by just doing one thing, like putting on workout clothes, and then another and another. Pretty soon, you’ll change your life just by taking small steps in that direction. 

Lao Tzu once said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” If you want to change your life and make better choices, start with a small step. Start today. We can influence our destiny by the choices we make. How you think about it, can change how you act on it, and how you act on it can change how you feel. And when you change how you feel, think, and act, you can change your physiological well-being for the better. Therefore, make better choices today for a better you tomorrow. The power of your destiny is within you. 

Homework: As a task or assignment for this week, I would suggest taking some time to make note of your choices. A good trick to use is to write down some of the choices you make in a day. Maybe start by just writing some of the larger choices you make so as not to be overburdened by having to constantly be writing. But this is a good way to start the habit of being aware of what choices you’re making. Maybe even make note of how you feel and think about the choices you’re making. That, in turn, can help you to see how your choices impact your life as well as the lives of others. 

Author:  Briana Pugh

Sources: 

Silverstein: http://samsilverstein.com/02/04/2007/articles/the-power-of-choice/ Holland: https://chopra.com/articles/the-psychology-behind-choice-making-and-how-it-can-help-you-reach-your-goals

Choice and Accountability: Choose Responsibly, Choose Better

On April 15, 2018, in the small town of Provo, Utah, Rick Winder driving a utility truck, veered lanes and crashed into three cars causing an accident that took the life of three-year-old Chelsea Parkinson. The accident also left several injured. Mr. Winder was charged with negligent homicide. Reed and Katie Parkinson, the parents of Chelsea, showed up to Winder’s sentencing on December 6th and gave a testimony that left the courtroom stunned. The Parkinson family, although saddened by the loss of their daughter, asked the judge to have mercy on Rick Winder–asking that he not receive “any jail-time if possible, and get the lowest amount of sentencing as possible.” In the words of Chelsea’s father, “We miss our daughter, of course, so much, but we realize that Rick is a real person. He’s a human being. It took a little while to realize that, but once we did, we were able to forgive him.” 

As a parent of a three-year-old myself, I can only imagine the pain and heartache that this family feels over the loss of their daughter. Their story, while horribly sad, is also a great illustration of choices. Rick Winder had a choice and he made a mistake which cost the life of a child. But the parents had a choice as well. Their choice to forgive Rick is a choice that will serve as a great example of compassion and forgiveness. Winder’s attorney called it the best example of mercy and forgiveness that he’s ever seen. 

Every day we are faced with choices. Some are small and hold very little significance on our future. But some choices are very important and can be a pivotal point for the rest of our lives. Our choices can even determine our destiny. There are those who believe that destiny is something that just happens to you. But our choices, most assuredly, determine our destiny. We have control and the choices we make can be the difference between joy, happiness, and abundance or living a life filled with sorrow and pain. Just like the Parkinson family, we all have choices. They chose to see Winder as a human being who makes mistakes and therefore it made it easier to forgive him. 

Good Choices, Good Life is an organization dedicated to focusing “on the importance of effective choice making” by providing an education that will help individuals gain a better understanding of personal responsibility. In an article on their site titled “Life Doesn’t Just Happen,” Michael Nelson shares the same idea that the choices we make can influence our lives. He states, “You can choose to be polite or be indifferent. You can choose to study or go play with your friends. You can choose to work hard or just get by. You can choose what you want to do with your life or just accept whatever comes your way. These, and hundreds of other choices, define you as an individual and determine the life experience you will have.” Sometimes even what seem like small choices can influence our lives. Our choices have an effect on our lives and we have a responsibility to make responsible choices. 

We all understand that there are things that are out of our control. We are not the only people who have choices and make choices, and other’s choices can affect our lives–sometimes in disastrous and painful ways. As we saw in the heartbreaking story of the Parkinson family, Winder had a choice too and he made some choices which inflicted emotional pain on Reed, Katie, and countless others. However, we can always choose how we react or act after such incidents. As Dolly Parton stated so eloquently, “We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails.” Even though there are things that we cannot control and people will act in a way that could bring unimaginable pain to our lives, we always have a choice on how we act, what we do, and even how we feel. 

As an illustration, I like to compare it to physical health and a journey to getting into shape. When we go to the gym we make many choices, what equipment we use, how long we workout, and when we’re done. Most people find going to the gym hard, but the truth is that no one at the gym can make you exercise. The effectiveness of the gym is not dependent on the people who exercise there. You make those choices. We get out of our exercise what we put into it. In fact, you are the one who decides if you go to the gym at all. Such is life. The effectiveness of life and joy, happiness or the success we have in life is not dependent on other people around us. We get out of life what we put into it.  I have found this personally in my own rollercoaster weight journey–if I want to change my body and be healthier, I have to put in the work. I have to make the choice. 

I’m sure many of us know the consequence of the opposite choice. We all know what it’s like to decide not to workout. In an article titled “Your Choices Define You” Ankit Nagar exclaims what that choice does. He states, “Now imagine that you’re working out at the gym. You envision yourself with that beautifully toned body. With those perfectly shredded muscles or that amazing waist. And you’re doing your reps, and there’s another set remaining. You start telling yourself, it’s okay buddy, you can do it tomorrow. But the thing is, you can’t. Time gone is quite simply put, gone. It’s never coming back. And that leads to procrastination, which eventually shatters every dream you’ve had of having the perfect body.” Do you want to do something? Do you want to have the perfect body or even just a better body? It’s up to you. You have the choice, you make the difference. 

We like to put blame on many things, whether that’s health or friends, family or work, we don’t like to take the blame when we don’t make the right choice. We don’t like to admit when we make mistakes. But we always have the choice. In our health, as in life, we have the choice to make the difference. Working out is hard and every day we have to make the choice as to whether what we want in the future is more important than what we want now. I believe that we are all blessed in this life with free will. We all have the ability to act and not be acted upon. People can influence our choices especially by threatening life or limb, but we always have a choice. 

In the holiday classic, A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens shares one of the most powerful stories about choices. In this popular novella published in 1843, Ebenezer Scrooge, an old miser is visited by three ghosts on Christmas night. That experience changes Scrooge into a kinder man who is willing to help those in need. But before he is visited by these ghosts, he is visited by the ghost of his old business partner Jacob Marley. Marley speaks to Scrooge about his past choices and how those choices influenced his life and his life in the hereafter. The powerful quote is now one that will be forever linked to what our choices really mean to our future. Marley, holding the chains and money boxes that he made in life by selfishness, shares with Scrooge his sorrow at those choices, “‘You are fettered,’ said Scrooge, trembling. ‘Tell me why?’
‘I wear the chain I forged in life,’ replied the Ghost. ‘I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it.’” The choices he made in life, those selfish choices are what created the heavy chains that hold him bound in the afterlife. Marley explains that Scrooge has one chance to avoid those chains. He will be visited by three ghosts, (the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future) and he must heed their words or face the fate of heavier chains of his own. 

After he is visited and awakes the next morning, Christmas morning, Scrooge is a changed man. He uses his money to donate to those in need and helps his clerk Bob Cratchit by giving him a raise, a turkey dinner, and becomes a father figure to Cratchit’s son Tiny Tim. He becomes a nicer man–giving love, generosity, and compassion wherever he goes. Scrooge had made many choices in life that led him down a path of pain, heartache, and loneliness. He aches for the loss of friends, family, and the love of his life Belle. But he is given a chance to change his ways and make up for those choices. When given that opportunity, Scrooge changes his ways and makes better choices. Dickens does a wonderful job of illustrating just how our choices can influence our lives. Although the story is old and has been done and redone a million times by different people, the story and moral are still relevant today. We have the free will to make our choices and our choices will either set us free and help those around us or we too will forge the chains that can hold us bound. 

When we are faced with a decision, there are several questions we can ask ourselves to help us determine what we should do. I’ve made it into a list form, just for easier reading, but there are many more as well. 

  • What kind of person do I want to be? 
  • What choices do I need to make to get there?
  • Will my choices have a negative or positive consequence? 
  • Will my choices affect someone I love in a negative way? 
  • Will my choices affect myself or my future in a negative way? 
  • Does what I’m doing now lead to what I want in the future?
  • If not, what are the choices that I can make to lead to what I want in the future? 

We can all ask ourselves these questions about our choices and we can all change the choices we make. One thing that stands out to me about the story of Scrooge is that it’s never too late to change who we are. Scrooge was an old man who had lived his whole life before as a grouchy, selfish man who didn’t seem to have a care for anyone else but himself. However, when he was finally given the opportunity to see where his choices were leading him, he made the choice to change who he was. He didn’t say, but I’m so old now, will it make a difference? He chose to become better from that moment on. 

We all have this choice. I know it’s not going to be easy. Nothing worth having in this life is going to be easy. As in the wise words of Theodore Roosevelt, “Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.” There is nothing in this life that is worth having that is easy. Just ask any mother who has given birth, or gymnast who has gone for the gold, or doctor who has gone through medical school. We all have choices and those choices are never easy. But when we make the right choice and we choose to live our lives in a way that, although difficult, is the higher path, we are blessed. Whether by God or the universe–our lives will be blessed for making the right choices. Regardless, without any discrimination and without fail, our choices determine our destiny. 

Bad choices can change a life forever. This is something very apparent if you have ever done any family history work or read pretty much any story in history. It’s also something that is apparent in families who have a history of abuse. The cyclical effect of abuse is one that has been studied many times. According to childwelfare.gov children who see or experience abuse are more likely to become abusers themselves. It states, “Research suggests that child abuse is known to repeat itself from generation to generation. This cycle of abuse can occur when children who were victims of abuse and/or neglect or witnessed violence between their parents or caregivers.” When children are exposed to the abuse they usually end up perpetuating that abuse. 

This cycle of abuse is very real. In an article in The Washington Post, columnist Sarah Szczypinski talks about this difficult subject. The article titled, Abusive Parenting Styles Can Be Inherited. Here Are Five Ways to Break the Cycle, illustrates several things we can do or chose to do which will break this cycle. Szczypinski shares a study from the University of Washington’s Social Development Research Group, she states, “According to a study by the University of Washington’s Social Development Research Group, adults who endured physical and emotional abuse as children are more likely to repeat those patterns with their own offspring. The authors noted that poor parenting, including physical and emotional abuse, frequently was observed across three generations, suggesting that those choices can affect families for decades.” The cycle of abuse is very real and a lot of families fall prey to it. 

However, there are those who are willing to make the choice to end that cycle of abuse. Some might even call those people “superheroes.” In a blog post on ScaryMommy.com titled, A Love Letter to Those Who Break the Cycle of Abuse, Annie Reneau gives her own personal experience with the cycle of abuse and her father, whom she calls a “superhero” who ended the cycle of abuse from her family. She states, “Growing up, I heard stories and parts of stories. A grandfather beating his wife before chasing his sons down an alley with his police pistol. A mother plagued by alcoholism and anger. Six siblings with six different fathers. A precious violin smashed to pieces in a drunken rage. Bit by bit, the picture of my father’s upbringing was painted in blacks and blues. He didn’t tell us everything–just enough to give us a sense of where he came from. “Superheros” must keep some secrets, after all. 

Now that I have three kids of my own and a keen understanding of how difficult parenting can be under the best of circumstances, I recognize my dad for the cycle-breaking hero that he was. I’m well aware that the hell he lived through as a kid, simply by being born into a wounded family, could easily have been my own fate. The cycles of addiction and abuse, the inheritance of personal and parental tools in need of serious repair, the passing down of bitterness and rage like family heirlooms–I’ve witnessed these phenomena in other families over the years. It’s the easiest thing for mortals to be human. But at some point, my dad stepped into a phone booth and vowed to be more than the sum of his upbringing. He took on the monsters that followed him and declared war on the dysfunctional demons he carried. He chose to give his children the childhood he didn’t have. This story from Reneau is not new and many people are blessed enough to benefit from those superheroes. I too have the cycle of abuse within a line of my family tree and I am unbelievably grateful to the person, the superhero, who chose to end that cycle with them. Their choice to end the abuse, without a doubt, made their life and my life better. 

We all have choices. Most choices will be hard and require all of our strength and courage to make. However, we all have the choice, even in circumstances that seem out of our control–just as with the cycle of abuse. As a parent, I am keenly aware of how my choices shape my children’s reality. The way I chose to act or react can have an impact on how my children think about me and the world, and how they will be, and act when they are older. Continually, my choices can have an impact on many other people around me–my husband, my friends, neighbors, and most assuredly myself. As Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes… and the choices we make are ultimately our responsibility.” Our choices are our responsibility and we have the choice to choose responsibly. That’s not just a good motto for drinking, it’s a good motto for life–choose responsibly. 

This is not to scare or intimidate anyone. I have no intention towards that end. However, I only mean to emphasize the importance of our own choices. Because we have a responsibility to ourselves as well as to others in the choices that we make and I believe that we all have free will and we all have the capability to choose better. 

Our choices play an integral part in our future and our destiny. We have within our power the ability to change our own lives. Every day we are faced with choices, and every day we make those choices for better or worse. As Mr. Feeny states, (for those who don’t know, Mr. Feeny is the principle in a 90’s TV show called Boy Meets World), “Personally I believe that a man, no matter where he comes from, chooses his own path.” Whether we face what seems like impossible odds, like the cycle of abuse or addiction, or whether we have made bad choices in the past like Scrooge, or whether we are just trying to live a healthier life with exercise–we choose our own path. As Viktor E. Frankl put it so beautifully, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” And so I add to Frankl’s eloquent words (though they need no addition) when we are given the choice, let’s choose better. 

Author:  Briana Pugh

Links to Sources: 

Parkinson Story: https://fox13now.com/2018/12/06/couple-has-compassion-for-orem-man-who-caused-car-accident-that-killed-their-daughter/ 

https://www.heraldextra.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/man-arrested-in-april-vehicle-death-of-chelsea-parkinson/article_17848e03-d9a4-5bc2-a0db-585a6d1df2d8.html

Good Choices, Good Life: http://www.goodchoicesgoodlife.org/choices-for-real-life-real-living/-life-doesnt-just-happen/  

Ankit Nagar: https://medium.com/the-minutes-publication/your-choices-define-you-1315b088ca06 

ChildWelfare.gov: https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/can/impact/long-term-consequences-of-child-abuse-and-neglect/abuse/ 

The Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/parenting/wp/2018/05/04/abusive-parenting-styles-can-be-inherited-heres-are-5-ways-to-break-the-cycle/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.5bab5693cbca 
ScaryMommy.com: https://www.scarymommy.com/those-who-break-cycle-of-abuse/

Generosity and How It Creates Abundance

There are many ways to give to others.  Most often as a society we are asked to take out our checkbooks to help. Yet we still have so many obvious problems in the world with how we treat each other. It would appear that finances are the most obvious way to help. However your time, resources, words, and energy should not go unnoticed.  It’s often the simplest way to give to others that have the greatest impact on humanity. Let’s examine something completely free and that takes little to no time to gift to others, your smile.  A smile takes only 17 face muscles to create.  

A good deed in the universe is seen in a ripple effect of other good deeds.  While at a traffic light, you randomly smile at someone in the car next to you who just received devastating news. Your smile changes their perspective suddenly as a smile represents happiness.  Your polite gesture has helped change an attitude quickly. They reflect your smile and feel less devastated if even briefly.  A small step in your smile creates an atmosphere of generosity and kindness. Thus, a domino effect has been created. The hurt soul takes it upon them to have a positive outlook. They are motivated to feel better.  The light has changed to green and somewhere out there things begin to change for the better.

We can see this domino continue when one pays it forward in drive through lines. What a magnificent feeling to know your order has been taken care of by a stranger. A simple cup of coffee gifted to you for under a dollar has made you feel on top of the world. The immense feeling of gratitude is sparked. The receiver might pay for the order behind them or choose to bless someone else with the money they just saved.  Perhaps they use their coffee money to pay a toll fee for more than their vehicle. The person receiving the toll is able to spend less time digging through their change and therefore makes it to the hospital in a faster time to help save a life on their shift.  That patient a year later gives birth to a child who helps solve the oil crisis peacefully in their adult years… all because someone chose to buy a cup of coffee in a drive through lane. What if they were inspired by a smile on their route to get their morning cup of coffee when their day started off so poorly in bad news?

Abundance starts small.  It is said that a grateful heart attracts miracles.  It doesn’t take much to help someone feel appreciated or acknowledged. Small acts of kindness lead to waves of miracles in others.  We truly never know what someone else is going through.  So, start small and with a smile.  It could make a big difference to someone you don’t even know.  Help change the world, someone’s life could depend on it.   

Author:  K.A Potts

Want to Improve Your Life? Try Thinking Abundantly.

“What you think, you become. What you feel, you attract. What you imagine, you create.” – Buddha

Have you ever caught yourself complaining about things that don’t really matter? “I have too much to do before I go on vacation, and I just remembered I need to get the oil changed.” “Geez, the wifi is so slow today!” First world problems, right? We live in an advanced, wealthy society, which can be a double-edged sword. The good news is, we live in a society where abundance is almost everywhere we look. The bad news is, our abundance is so abundant that we forget to notice, let alone appreciate, how good our lives are.

So what is abundance anyway? Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines abundance as “an ample quantity; affluence, wealth.” When we compare our standard of living to that of our grandparents, or even parents, we can recognize how quickly things have changed. The phrase abundant mindset is thrown about a lot, and it can be tricky to figure out what it actually means. It may be easier to define by contrasting it with its opposite, scarcity mindset. Living your life from a scarcity standpoint means you never have enough, will never have enough, can never have enough. You hoard what resources you have because you don’t know if you’ll ever be able to get them again. Scrooge is the quintessential illustration of scarcity mentality. 

Abundance, on the other hand, is recognizing the good things you have are enough and to spare, and that those things will continue to be available. You recognize that just as plants tend to increase and produce more, and as populations tend to flourish in the right conditions, your resources can do the same. You are willing to pass along aid and encouragement to others because you know there is enough for all.

Sounds good, right? How can we all cultivate an abundant mindset? The first step is to recognize the good things you already have. Have a place to sleep every night? Great. Everyday remind yourself how lucky you are for that luxury. Do you have food to eat, clothes to wear, and a job to support yourself? Even better. Practice looking at your life with gratitude.

Next, look outward. How can you improve the lives of those around you? The person next to you on the bus could benefit from a friendly smile. Supporting a good cause is another way to spread positivity. Having an abundant mindset means you are generous with all that you have, whether it’s tangible or intangible.

By recognizing the good things we have, and acting to help others, you can create an abundant lifestyle for yourself. Thinking and acting with gratitude and generosity has many benefits—from improving your outlook to making a difference to those around you. Setbacks are not the discouragement they once were. This way of thinking can be transformational. Wayne Dyer said, “Abundance is not something we acquire. It’s something we tune into.” Tuning into this wavelength of gratitude and generosity can increase our life satisfaction, happiness, and self-confidence to a level we have not previously thought possible.

Author:  Hillary Barton

Why Should I Pay it Forward

It was seven years ago; my husband and I had only been married a few years and we lived with our baby girl in a rented basement house with a roof that started at ground level and chipping concrete walls that had been painted green. We affectionately called it the gnome home because it looked like the kind of house magical little people might occupy. Well, we never saw any little people while we lived there, but we did experience a bit of magic.

Finances were tight. My husband had just passed the test to be a Licensed Practical Nurse and was in school to become a Registered nurse. With little experience, and several years shy of any nursing shortage, the only work he could find was part time. I helped with a few work from home jobs, but mostly I took care of the baby. We watched every penny that came in and out. It helped that we were healthy and young with no medical bills or dietary restrictions. I honed my skills at infusing dry beans with flavor and my husband picked up extra hours whenever he could.

But one month, my husband couldn’t pick up any extra hours. We tried to be as frugal as possible, but at the end of the month, my heart sank as I pounded numbers into my calculator. We were exactly one hundred dollars short. 

The next day my husband and I took our daughter to visit family in an attempt to forget our stress, but we were both anxious knowing the same thing could happen the next month too. That’s when the magic happened. 

We made our way to the entrance of our home and were shocked to find several new Easter dresses sized perfectly for our daughter. Then, when we went to open the door, an unmarked envelope fell to the porch. Inside it was 100 dollars in cash. 

I held my husband’s hand as we stared at the two fifty-dollar bills. We were not open about our financial situation. No one knew what had happened, and yet here was the exact amount we were short.

Looking back, that hundred dollars didn’t keep us from starving, without it we could still pay rent, and our daughter wouldn’t have known the difference between the sweet new dress we were given and the second-hand one we would have found her. We would have survived without it, but with it, we thrived, with it we felt loved. We were amazed that someone had been watching us close enough to realize what our needs were. Someone had given us hope during a time when we felt so downtrodden and helpless. 

After that, my husband and I made a goal that we would give back in the same way as soon as our finances allowed it. Years later, we have experienced both lean and plentiful moments in our lives, but never have we been so close to the edge as we were in the days when we lived in the gnome home. We’ve made it our personal mission to pay it forward and recreate that magic for others. We can only hope that some of the people we’ve left anonymous gifts for have done the same thing we did and are making their own magic right now.

Author:  Amber Mae

What is a Worthy Cause?

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

–Maimonides

Similar to a good cause, a worthy cause is something that leaves you better than you were before. In fact, the term “worthy cause” has been defined as “a cause that merits attention, aid, or action due to an inherent goodness of values or intention”. Based on this definition a worthy cause is simply a synonym for a good cause. But I think there is more that distinguishes the two, making them not just a synonym but a term that complements or plays off of each other.

I believe that the biggest difference between a good cause and a worthy cause, is that while they both help others, one provides services and aid, whereas the other not only provides services and aids but teaches the recipient how to improve their life as well. Giving aid and resources to those in need is important, but for many people that is where the help stops; not many causes go the extra steps to teach recipients to pay it forward or how to improve their life moving forward. It is this distinction that I believe takes a good cause and moves it up to being a worthy cause.

I believe that a worthy cause is three-fold: giving and receiving, learning and teaching, and paying it forward. When all three components work together, both the benefactor and the giver of a worthy cause benefit, along with many others whom the benefactor will then go on to bless and help in the future. Creating a never-ending circle of giving, teaching and paying it forward.

Giving and Receiving

At the root of any cause is a need—financial assistance, volunteers, disaster relief, medical or school supplies, etc. In order for this need to be addressed and the help received, it requires the benefactor to overcome their fear of asking for help, and letting it be known that they need assistance. When someone is able to admit that they need help and can’t do everything on their own, shows great courage; shows that any help received will be going towards a good or worthy cause.

Asking for help from others is not a sign of weakness, it is actually the opposite, it is a sign of strength. Not only are you opening yourself up to generosity from others, but you are providing givers with an opportunity for those who are willing and able to donate to give of their time and talents to those who are less fortunate or in need.

A worthy cause is something that allows for both parties—givers and receivers to be blessed and benefit from the act. Those who donate money to a worthy cause, experience many benefits associated with their generous donation. A few proven benefits that come from donating to a worthy cause include:

·         Experience More Pleasure and Joy

Studies have found that those who choose to donate money to a worthy or good cause, benefited from activated pleasure centers in the brain. Essentially, studies have found that when you donate money, you feel better, regardless of how much or how little you donate.

·         Bring More Meaning into Your Life

Donating and helping a worthy cause that you believe in, provides you with the opportunity to meet and connect with others who also believe in the same causes that you do. In addition, to meeting others who you share a common interest with, donating can also establish a sense of meaning in your own life; especially if you find that you are stuck in a rut, donating can reignite the spark in your own life.

·         Improve Personal Money Management

There are so many financial experts out there, all teaching individuals to set a budget and stick to it in order to get on top of their finances. Setting a set amount of money to donate to a worthy cause each month, can really help you to improve your personal finances as you are then committed to donating money to a charity or cause that you believe in every month. When you’ve decided to donate a set amount of money each month, people are generally more inclined to pay attention to their monthly bank statement, so they can stay current on their financial contributions.

·         Get a Tax Deduction

When you make a financial donation to an IRS-approved charity, you are then able to write off your donations on your tax return. Keep in mind, certain restrictions do apply, check out the IRS website to learn more and see if a particular charity or cause that you are considering donating to has IRS approval.  

All of these benefits bless the giver’s life, while the benefactor’s life is also blessed in the fact that their needs are met, they are able to pick up and rebuild their life, afford to pay for medical or funeral costs, or any other need that they might have. The beneficiary would not be able to do any of these things, if not for the generous donations of those from the givers.

Learning and Teaching

Now that we have learned a little bit about how the giver and receiver benefits from generous donations to worthy causes; it is time to take those lessons and teach them to others. It is easy to see the benefits for yourself when you are the one who is donating and benefiting directly, but what about your friends, family members or the benefactor? It is one thing to see others donate and bless others lives, or be the benefactors; it is entirely different when you learn and can experience those same benefits in your own life.

I believe that this is one of those instances, where the feeling is contagious. You feel good, therefore you want everyone you know to also experience the same feeling for themselves. The best way to do that is to teach them to donate and give to worthy causes. For those, who are just starting out donating and giving to worthy causes, might still be learning just how impactful giving can be, and how richly blessed their life can become. For others who have been giving and donating time, money and talents for a while may already be teaching and instilling these principles in others.

·         Realize that Every Little Bit Helps

Arguably, one of the most important lessons that anyone can learn when considering donating or contributing to a worthy cause, is that any little bit helps. You don’t need to be a millionaire with large sums of money ear-marked for various charitable donations in order to make a difference in someone’s life. Even the smallest of donations can add up to making a difference, helping the benefactor to reach their goal. Even then, when you donate to charitable organizations that go to help underprivileged countries around the world, a few dollars can go a very long way in purchasing food, medical supplies, or educational material. When making a donation, don’t think of it from an economic standpoint, when the effect will have far-reaching effects that you will not even begin to comprehend.

·         Motivate Friends and Family to Donate

You’ve probably heard it said before that “kindness is contagious”, the same goes for donating and giving to a worthy cause. When your friends and family see that you are donating, volunteering or giving to a worthy cause, they are more likely to do the same. To make a significant difference in the world, it is going to take a village, which is why motivating friends and family members to donate and give when and where they can, adds up to making substantial changes in people’s lives and the world.

·         Promote Generosity in Your Children

agoodcause - Young volunteers and children with box of donations outdoors

Your children are watching you, whether you think they are or not. When they see you giving your time, money and talents to various charities and worthy causes, it instills in them the importance of donating and giving when they get older. Teach them at an early age the importance of giving, and how rewarding it can be to give to others who are less fortunate than they are. You’ll be surprised that by teaching them young, these are values that they will take with them as they get older and move into adulthood.

The more you learn about giving, donating and volunteering to help others, the more you’ll want to share the joy you have with others. Teaching by example is a powerful tool to motivate and inspire others around you to adopt the same behavior into their own life. Regardless of their age, you can teach by example those around you to be more generous and to donate to a worthy cause that you believe in to make a difference.  

Paying It Forward

Another aspect of teaching is that those who are the beneficiary of generous donations and acts of service, then learn how to pay it forward and bless the lives of others. This is achieved through teaching them to be self-sufficient moving forward, teaching how to plant and garden and harvest food, how to make and sell items to make money, and most importantly how to pay it forward and give back to others in need.

Depending on the individual needs and situation, the way in which they are taught and learn how to pay it forward can and will be different; but teaching how to pay it forward is essential to keeping the circle of giving back going. The old saying of “Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish you feed him for life.”, embodies this philosophy of teaching others to be able to stand on their own, so that they are then able to give and bless others.

Other ways in which individuals can be taught the importance of paying it forward, include teaching them about the benefits that come from giving, the joy that comes from giving, and how even though they might feel as though they have a lot to give or offer; any offer, big or small helps.

In my experience, when someone is the recipient of service, donations or charitable acts, they then want to give back, as a way of expressing their gratitude for what they have been given. It’s amazing to see how someone who had the courage to ask for help, then freely and willingly gives help to others who are seeking help.

Any cause or belief that connects givers with receivers, can be deemed a good cause. But it is these causes that go beyond connecting them, to teaching and inspiring others, and encouraging others to pay it forward that it then becomes a worthy cause.

If you’d like to donate to a worthy cause, but aren’t sure where to find a worthy cause, check out agoodcause.com today! A Good Cause provides a safe environment for groups and individuals to ask for help from generous donors who are seeking to do good in their communities and the world. Together givers and receivers through A Good Cause are creating worthy causes that you can feel good about supporting. Once you find a cause that you believe in and want to support, you can be part of the movement of giving and receiving, learning and teaching and ultimately paying it forward.

I challenge you to find a good and worthy cause that you can get behind and support, and then do it! If you can’t find a worthy cause that you believe in and want to support, I challenge you to start one and start making a difference in your community and the world. When you give to others, and support a worthy cause, you will be amazed at how you are blessed by serving and giving to others and seeing the ripple effect that starts with you.

Author: Ashley Christensen 

Sources:

https://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/worthy+cause

What are Some Good Causes?

When doing a quick Google search to find out what some good causes might be, you’ll see lists that include: food pantries, child and family services, shelters and homeless services, crisis services and more. Although all of these are “good causes”, dictionary.cambridge.org defines a “good cause” as: a socially useful organization or activity that is not managed for profit. I’d go so far as to argue, that a good cause can be defined as anything that will improve or help an individual, group or organization to achieve a goal, lighten another’s burden or make a difference in the world.

Under this definition, you can find many different causes in which groups and individuals are striving towards a common goal, lending a helping hand, and trying to make a difference in the world. Many of these good causes require financial donations to make their goals and dreams a reality.  

Similarly, there are organizations who are committed to improving the quality of life for select groups of people. This can include but is not limited to organizations such as, Ronald McDonald House Charities, American Red Cross, Fisher House Foundation, and United Way. Each organization has a different mission, but at the root of it, they are in support of a good cause that will bring relief and aid to those who are in need.

Now that we have identified what some good causes are, let’s look into each one and see what makes a good cause a good cause based on the definitions given above.

Ronald McDonald House Charities

As a parent, when your child gets sick and ends up hospitalized, the last thing you need to worry about is where you’re going to sleep or where your next meal is going to come from. This is especially true for parents who are far from home, or where a child will be hospitalized for an extended period of time.

It is this mentality that the Ronald McDonald House Charities was built upon—nothing else should matter when families are focused on the health of their child. When staying at a Ronald McDonald House, families are able to enjoy home-cooked meals, private bedrooms and playrooms for kids.

According to the Ronald McDonald House website, the Ronald McDonald Houses are funded and made possible thanks to generous donations from supporters—individuals, organizations and businesses. For those families that need to stay at a Ronald McDonald House, are able to do so for little to no cost, depending on their situation. Their stay can be anywhere from one night, upwards to several months or even a year or more; once again the length of stay will be dependent upon each family’s unique situation.

So, what is it that makes Ronald McDonald House Charities a good cause to support? The fact that families who have a child in need of medical treatment, can stay at a Ronald McDonald House, regardless of their ability to pay, for the duration of their child’s hospitalization or treatments. By not requiring families to pay for their stay, families can focus on their child’s health. Ronald McDonald House Charities believes that when a child is hospitalized, the love and support of their family can be just as powerful as the strongest medicine doctors prescribe. This is why Ronald McDonald House Charities are committed to providing a place for families to stay, where they can be close to their child, during hospital stays and treatments.

A friend of my dad’s is involved with the Ronald McDonald House Charities in his community, and he has invited my dad and others to get involved in raising money. He asks that friends and family members collect and save the tops to their aluminum pop cans. He is then able to take these tops and turn them in for money that is then donated directly to the Ronald McDonald House Charities. It is something that most people are going to toss out as soon as they are done with their drink, something super simple that most people wouldn’t think of, can be used to raise funds and support a good cause. 

American Red Cross

American Red Cross, Disaster relief text on the side of trailer - San Jose, California, USA - 2019

During any natural disaster, one of the first groups to respond and render aid is the American Red Cross. That is because the Red Cross offers a wide variety of services that are intended to provide relief and support to those in crisis; to help individuals be prepared in order to respond to emergencies that may arise.

In fact, according to the American Red Cross website, they respond to an average of 60,000 disasters every year, which is approximately an emergency every eight minutes. When responding to a disaster, 95% of disaster relief workers are volunteers. The types of disasters that they respond to vary from home fires to large natural disasters and everything in between.

There are five main areas the American Red Cross focuses their resources on: disaster relief, lifesaving blood, training and certification, military families, and international services. In response to natural disasters, the American Red Cross is able to provide those affected with clean water, safe shelter and hot meals when they need them the most. Following the initial disaster, the American Red Cross stays on, to assist those affected with recovering and lingering community needs. Through their efforts and working closely with community leaders, government and relief agencies, the American Red Cross is able to help organize and implement financial assistance both for immediate needs and longer-term.

Another huge component of the American Red Cross is blood donations as there is no substitute for blood. Everyday there are people across the globe who are in need of valuable blood transfusions, these can include individuals who were in an accident, burn victims, patients undergoing heart surgery or organ transplant, and cancer patients. According to the American Red Cross, every two seconds, someone in the United States is in need of blood. This valuable service is only possible due in part to generous donations through blood drives. Donating blood is something that any healthy adult is capable of doing.

Other services provided by the American Red Cross include certifications and training to prepare for an emergency situation. This includes first aid training, CPR training, AED (automated external defibrillator) training, babysitting and caregiving training, swimming training, CNA (certified nursing assistant) training, and BLS (basic life support) training for health care providers. The American Red Cross is also proud to support America’s military and veteran families. This is accomplished through providing support to military families during deployments and emergencies, providing home comforts and critical services on bases and in military hospitals located around the world. One of the biggest roles the American Red Cross plays with the military is by providing 24/7 global emergency communication services across the country and around the world.

What makes them a good cause is that they rely on their volunteers and generous donors to help make their mission possible. From blood drives held all across the country, where generous, life-saving, blood donations are made, to volunteers who respond to a disaster and render aid. The American Red Cross has numerous volunteer opportunities available for those who wish to get involved and lend a hand. These opportunities are listed on their website, where you can learn more about becoming a Red Cross volunteer.

Fisher House Foundation

The Fisher House Foundation is similar to the Ronald McDonald House, in the fact that they provide lodging for families who have a loved one in the hospital. What makes them unique and special is they provide lodging free of charge for military and veterans families. All Fisher House homes are located at military and VA medical centers around the world.

Although the Fisher House Foundation does get funding through a congressional trust fund, they do also receive generous donations that go to help deserving military members, veterans and their families. The donations the Fisher House Foundation receives come in the form of monetary donations, frequent flyer miles, hotel reward points, and other charitable programs and partnerships that are in place. When frequent flyer miles and hotel reward points are donated, they are used to fly families to their loved one, or to put them up in a hotel to be close by where a Fisher House is not available.

Fisher House Foundation is an example of a good cause, because of the good they do for the numerous military members, veterans and military families who have given so much for our country. For those who’d also like to help military members, veterans and their families can make monetary, airline points, or hotel point donations to the Fisher House Foundation. Any individual or organization that would like to make a donation, can learn how to donate frequent flyer miles, hotel reward points or monetary donations through the Fisher House Foundation website.

aGoodCause.com

In addition to these different organizations, agoodcause.com, has ongoing campaigns to help support other good causes in our communities and around the world. These campaigns include: veterans aid collation, ending cancer, alleviating world hunger, children and youth impact, disaster relief, and animal cruelty. For more information about these different causes that agoodcause.com has for ongoing causes, or to make a donation, please visit: agoodcause.com.

There are many different groups, organizations and foundations that provide goods and services to others—all of which are a good cause. All of these different organizations and groups are working and committed to improve and alleviate hardships from those who are suffering or down on their luck. Even though they have similar goals, they each have a different group they cater to, each of which are good causes that benefit others. 

I believe when you do anything with the right intention and the right frame of mind to help others, during a time when they need it the most, is a good cause. Whether you donate to a national organization, such as, the ones mentioned here, or to your neighbor’s daughter’s soccer team fundraiser, it is a good cause. When you hear of a cause that seems to speak to you, or moves you to take action or to make a change in your life, it is a good cause, one that you should consider donating time, talents or money to helping the good causes you come across.

Author: Ashley Christensen

Sources:

https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/good-cause
https://www.rmhc.org/home
https://www.redcross.org/
https://fisherhouse.org/

#GivingTuesdayNow

Chances are you’ve heard of “Giving Tuesday”, which occurs annually on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving in the United States. In response to the current pandemic and unprecedented times that we currently find ourselves facing, Giving Tuesday Now was born. On May 5, 2020 will be the first official Giving Tuesday Now day, as a response to the unprecedented needs that have evolved as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

We have all found ourselves trying to juggle a new normal within the past month, whether that be working remotely, homeschooling our children, or suddenly unemployed, we are all dealing with uncertainty. Plans have been cancelled or postponed, birthdays and anniversaries can’t be celebrated how we envisioned them to be; yet we still have so much to celebrate and be grateful for.

It is with this spirit of gratitude that we can participate in Giving Tuesday Now, and give back to our communities, neighbors, friends, and others who are currently struggling. With many people now out of work and a significant number of businesses having to adjust their business model, it is now more important than ever to find ways to give back and support those whose way of life has been drastically impacted. Here are a few ways you can participate in Giving Tuesday Now that doesn’t require a lot of time, money or effort.

$10 and 10 Friends

Going out to lunch with friends, just to go, was a luxury that I enjoyed doing. I’m sure there are a lot of other people who also enjoyed this luxury as well. Currently, being unable to go out to lunch, or gather with large groups of friends has meant I am sitting at home instead of spending money on lunch. As a result, I have the ability to take ten dollars, or however much I typically would spend on lunch and I can donate it and do something good with it. I can donate it to a good cause, I can donate it to my local food pantry, the possibilities are endless. A challenge on Giving Tuesday Now would be to take that ten dollars and do something good with it, and then challenge ten friends, or more to do something good with the money they are saving from not going out to lunch.

Donate to Your Favorite Cause

Everybody has a cause they believe in—ending homelessness, veterans aid, ending child abuse and so much more. On Giving Tuesday Now, take what money you can afford and donate it to a cause or group you believe in or are passionate about. Not sure where to donate or who to donate to, check out all the good causes that are available on agoodcauses.com. When you donate to a cause you believe in and are passionate about, you are helping to create good in the world, especially now during a time of uncertainty.

Order Take Out

Another great way to get involved on Giving Tuesday Now is to plan ahead to order take out from your favorite local restaurant. Everybody has to eat, and while we might not be able to go and sit down inside our favorite restaurant any time soon, many restaurants have implemented takeout options, allowing for patrons to order and receive their menu favorites. This not only gives you an excuse to not cook that night, but you are also doing good by helping a local business keep their doors open.

Adopt a Senior

May typically indicates that the school year is coming to an end and for high school seniors it means that graduation is on the horizon. Unfortunately, due to the current situation, many schools have cancelled in-class learning and substituted with all online classes. This also means many seniors are missing out on their senior prom, spring sporting events, and so much more. Additionally, many don’t know if high schools will be able to hold a typical graduation ceremony that many have become accustomed to. As a result, there are many communities around the country who have implemented “adopt a senior” program. This allows for members of the community to adopt seniors who are graduating high school this year, to provide them with support as their senior year is different than they ever could have imagined. The idea behind “adopt a senior” is to send high school seniors a note, card, gift card, snack or anything to help them feel loved during this challenging time.

Show Kindness

Kindness can go a very long way, especially during these times of fear and uncertainty. No gesture is too big or too small, as the recipient will notice and appreciate your kindness. If you have elderly neighbors or family members, offer to pick up groceries for them and drop them off at their doorstep. If you know someone is struggling with fear, anxiety or loss of a job, send them a note letting them know that you are thinking of them. Offer to take a neighbor or friends pet for a walk. We are all at home, take this time to call family members or friends to chat and see how they are doing. Use this time to spread kindness and joy to those who mean the most to us. Additionally, write encouraging notes on your driveway or sidewalk using chalk, or hang an encouraging note in your front window. There are so many different ways in which you can show kindness and love to those around us, which is critical during times of uncertainty and fear.

aGoodCause - Show kindness around you

Giving Tuesday Now is the perfect opportunity to think of others around us and around the globe, and give a little extra to bring a smile to someone’s day or to help lighten their load. These are just a few ideas of things that you can do to participate in Giving Tuesday Now, or any other day when you have the opportunity to give back to others. Think of those around you who could use a little pick-me-up during this pandemic and think about what you can do to help them. Or think of ways that you can give back to your community and make a difference.

During these times of uncertainty and fear, we can all use some extra kindness and generosity, whether we are the giver or the receiver. When we give, we are blessed and experience just as much joy, if not more joy than the receiver. I challenge you to find ways that you can give back to those around you on Giving Tuesday Now, on May 5, 2020 and see how much better you feel after giving back.

Author: Ashley Christensen