Take this challenge: Bring good karma into your life with these 20 acts of kindness

When I first moved to San Francisco many years ago, I had a permanent grin on my face for the first month. I had never lived in a large city before and instantly fell in love with the unique architecture, beautiful views and one-of-a-kind vibe.

On my third day in town I was walking to my car (after having returned from numerous shopping trips to fill my new apartment) and noticed a note under my wiper. Of course my first thought was that I had received a ticket, unknowingly blocked someone’s car or was about to find a dent. But much to my surprise the note said, “I saw your smiling face this morning and just wanted to let you know that you made my day!” No name, no phone number – just this small note from someone who noticed how happy I was.

The fact that this took place nearly two decades ago is a testament to how small acts of kindness can leave a lasting impression. I’d like to put a challenge out to you to do at least one act of kindness every day for the next week. Let me know under the comments section what you’ve done (or are planning to do) and how it made you feel. As an act of kindness, I’ll also link back to your blog if you write about the challenge!

Below are 20 small acts of kindness you can easily do (and might consider making a part of your daily life) to improve your karma today.

  1. Buy coffee or pay the toll for the person behind you
  2. Give someone a sincere compliment
  3. Put money in a parking meter that has run out of time
  4. Pick up three pieces of trash
  5. Do something nice for someone without them knowing
  6. Let someone who has fewer groceries get in front of you in line
  7. If someone looks lost, offer them directions or show them the way
  8. Give up your seat to someone on the bus/train/subway
  9. When you see a group of friends taking pictures, offer to take a group photo
  10. Look someone in the eye when you say thank you…and mean it
  11. Give someone a big smile
  12. Talk less, listen more…really listen
  13. Remember and acknowledge someone’s birthday
  14. Buy a homeless person a meal or offer them your leftovers when leaving your favorite restaurant
  15. Offer someone your umbrella
  16. Donate clothes and other items to a charity (many will even come by and pick them up)
  17. When you are finished reading your paper/magazine on a plane/train/bus, offer it to a bystander
  18. Call an old friend to let them know you were thinking about them
  19. If someone gets to a parking spot at the same time as you do, let them have it; additionally, let someone who wants to switch lanes on the freeway in front of you
  20. If you see a person struggling to carry something, reach something or load something into their car, step in to help

Check out The Random Acts of Kindess Foundation for other ideas and stories!