You may not be into making New Years’ resolutions, but I bet you could use some better habits. We all could. When we build better habits we become better people. And one of the most life-changing habits we can commit to is becoming more generous.
Generosity is about far more than giving away money and possessions — it’s about giving more of yourself — in any number of ways. It’s an attitude and a disposition of the heart.
Being generous is at the core of being human, and it is more central to building up the culture than we realize. In his book, The Generosity Habit best-selling author Matthew Kelly says that “each act of generosity changes the course of someone’s life and therefore the unfolding of human history.”
At a time when fear and isolation have had such an upper hand in life, choosing to be generous may be one of the best ways to begin to heal ourselves and our communities.
So here are some ways to become a more generous person this year…
Do something generous every day
If you make a commitment to doing one intentional generous thing every day, it will become a habit of being. Make it small, make it easy — a comment, a gesture, a loving act.
Offer words that build up others
Make a point to compliment your loved ones more often, to speak with a gentle tone, and to offer encouragement and words of gratitude.
Make it easier to give consistently
Supporting organizations, people, and causes we believe in is easier when we set it up in advance. Keeping cash on hand when out and about, and setting up automatic payments can go along way in making giving stress-free. Also, no amount is too small.
How can you be a more generous spouse, friend, daughter or son, colleague, neighbor? Perhaps it’s by giving more time to listen, paying more attention, or reaching out to people you don’t see regularly.
Be friendlier and remember your manners
It doesn’t take much effort to smile more, to wave to someone, to let someone go in front of you, to remember basic manners of “please,” “thank you,” and “excuse me.” There are so many opportunities when we’re out and about to make small gestures that have big effects.
Notice who needs help
Who is struggling in your life? It may be the person you’re closest to, or it may be a neighbor, someone you know at Church, or a person you on the street. Acknowledging a person’s need is sometimes all it takes, and other times there may be something tangible you can actually do to help.
Maybe you do too much already and this one is not for you. But for many of us, getting involved in something is a great way to be more generous. Whether it’s a neighborhood association, a school, group, a ministry at church, or something online — lend your presence and support somewhere and you’ll find that you receive more than you give.
There are a hundred ways to be more generous. Each of us is creative enough to come up with the specific ways that make sense in our own lives. If we prioritize generosity we will come to find that our year has been a lot more meaningful and fruitful, and who doesn’t want that?