How to Make a Difference.

As the Holidays roll around, we look back on the past year to see what we have accomplished and how we can do better next year. Take a gander at this list that can help you to improve yourself, and make a difference next year. Try a few out and see where you end up in a year's time.

We've also included a list of some ideas to make a difference this year. There is still time after all, and 'tis the season of giving. We promise, it will make you happier and give a tad bit more meaning to the season.

Make a difference for yourself

Learn something new.

You know the old saying "you can't teach an old dog new tricks"? Well, that's a load of bull. Pick up a new book, get on your computer and look up some tutorials, take a class, join a club. Want to know how to ballroom dance? How about how to make your car quieter? How to carve a whistle? How to paint a picture? How to improve at work? Pick something you've always wanted to learn and go to town. You've got nothing to lose.

Go on a getaway, without leaving.

Life's stressful these days, eh? With everything going on, we often feel pulled in a million different directions. This year, clear the distractions, and set a time for yourself to truly relax. It will help you to focus your time better elsewhere and improve your overall well-being. Pick an hour once a day, once a week, or even once a month. Remove all the distractions around you. Find a comfy place to sit or lay down. Turn on some background music, light some candles, maybe burn a little incense, or don't ... whatever will help you to relax. No books, no phones, no computers, no TVs; just you. Try some breathing exercises, if that isn't your cup of tea, then try a cup of tea with some honey. We can give you all the ideas in the world, but you know what helps you relax. Do that, and do it consistently.

Be optimistic.

A little positivity goes a long way. If you find yourself getting angry, frustrated, or annoyed, take a second to breathe. Try to look at the situation from an objective point of view. Find whatever good you can and focus on that. We know, we know. We're making it sound easier than it is. Yes it takes work, but the results tend to be worth it.

Go outside your comfort zone.

Routines are nice, reliable, and comfortable, but where is the fun in that? Take a chance this coming year to get out of your comfort zone. Where have you always wanted to visit? Go. Skydiving? Bungee Jumping? Rock climbing? Go. For something a little less extreme, try a new restraunt or see a show you wouldn't normally see. A little deviation from the norm can be fun and exciting.

Stop procrastinating.

You know that thing you were going to do last year? What about that other thing you were supposed to get done last week? How about those dishes that are in the sink from last night? That half-read book sitting on your night stand? You get it. Procrastinating is a time-sucking hole of darkness. You plan for what you are going to do for longer than you actually have to spend doing it. Try to stay on task this year. Get things done early and on time. Make a list and schedule time to do it...and then (really revolutionary idea here) do it. This way, you don't waste more time looking for meaningless tasks to do in place of it. This will give you more time to do all the fun stuff on this list (or spend time with your family or friends).

Make a difference for others

Volunteer

  • Help your local soup kitchen put together holdiay care packages.
  • Serve food at your local soup kitchen.
  • Be a bell-ringer to help collect for those in need.
  • Visit a nursing home to spend time with someone who may not have people to share the season with.
  • Visit a children's hospital to read books to kids or play games with them.

Donate

  • Drop a dollar or two into that red bucket that is outside of nearly every department store.
  • Donate to your favorite charity.
  • Donate toys, books, coats, or canned goods.
  • Buy a few cards and inexpensive gifts to give to your local children's hospital or shelter.
  • Adopt a local family who needs a little assistance this holiday season.
  • Go through your closet and donate any old clothes or shoes.

Actions

  • Hold the door open for someone.
  • Smile and greet those you pass.
  • Ask someone how their day was.
  • Give someone you know a hug.
  • Be polite and kind to everyone.