By: Jessie Chrobocinski Photo by: Brynn Osborn
The new year brings us to reflect on our past year’s experience and manifest positive outcomes for the one ahead. Most resolutions draw toward self-improvement and enriching our journey: eating healthier, losing weight, reading more, or finally starting that hobby. With a year filled with unpredictability and hardship, 2020 taught us more about ourselves, our relationships, our passions, and our values. As the world faced adversity, our communities came together.
This year, let’s promise to arrive as a more conscious citizen and make choices that improve our communities, too. Start with what you want your neighborhood to look like in a few years. How can we help our community become more connected, more courteous, safer, and kinder? We identified some simple, tangible things we can act on throughout this upcoming year to help bring that vision to reality.
Be A Friendly Neighbor
Simple enough, right? Say hello, wave, introduce yourself, learn your neighbor’s names, spend more time in your front yard, gift a welcome basket to a new resident, or offer help. Connecting with those around you will fortify your neighborhood and weave a fabric of compassion, leading to a more active citizenry, happiness, and greater resilience in the face of crisis.
Pick Up Litter
It’s unfortunate how common litter is present, no matter where we are. Most of the time, the garbage can is just a few steps away anyway. Considering the debris is not totally gross, picking up that piece of newspaper in the parking lot, plastic bag on the beach, empty bottle on the side of your street, and properly disposing of it is okay! Of course, wash your hands afterward. Not only will you leave the environment better than you found it, picking up litter is the simplest kindness to perform anywhere you are in the world. You just might inspire someone else to do the same.
Go for a Walk
2020 was a whirlwind, filled with unpredictability, pain, gratitude, and living in the moment. Many of us found ourselves distanced from loved ones and spent most of our time isolated from others. While we still advise taking precautions to mitigate the spread of the virus, an intimate walk around your area can enlighten you and help you feel connected. Walking slows you down to notice the details, appreciate what we have, and discover new things. Plus, walking provides health benefits, including lower blood pressure, improved heart health, mood, and stamina.
This goes without saying, but supporting local business is the cornerstone of community prosperity. We all know the benefits of shopping local – human interaction, real customer service, retailers who care about the community they serve because they are part of it. When we support local, we support the collective goals of creating a vibrant place to live and increase our community’s overall economic health.
Random Acts of Kindness
Lastly, fostering a welcoming community is achieved with random acts of kindness. Picking up litter, bringing in your neighbor’s trashcans, complimenting a stranger, or sharing a plate of your home-cooked meal all serve as small actions that just might make a big impact on someone else.
Reach out to your friends and family to share these manageable goals. Together, we can lead with our best foot forward in 2021!