Doing good every day in January: What I learned

A Martin Luther King Jr. quote about doing good and making a difference. Ten Thousand Hour MamaAs you might recall, my New Year’s resolution was to do something good every day. In January, I just about succeeded at that. I missed a day here and there, but overall, I made progress on my resolution. In January, I helped build the world I believe in.

It hasn’t been entirely easy, and every day I fight against feeling overwhelmed. But I remember Mark Bezos’s quote and push myself to make someone else’s life better, even in a small way.

“It’s so easy to dismiss the opportunity to do something good because you’re hoping to do something great.

Don’t wait. If you have something to give, give it now.”

—Mark Bezos, Ted Radio Hour, Giving It Away

Here’s what I learned by doing good every day in January.

Keep track

I made a spread in my bullet journal to keep track of doing good every day. It was a reminder if I skipped a day (oops—time to do extra good deeds!). More importantly, it was a reminder that I’d made a difference—however small—in the world.

Do good bullet journal spread for January // New Year's Resolution // Martin Luther King Jr. quote - Ten Thousand Hour MamaDo good every day // Bullet journal spread // Martin Luther King Jr. quote. Ten Thousand Hour Mama

Looking back over my January Do Good spread, I can see the variety of actions I took. I called my legislators and brought dinner to a friend who just had a baby. I marched in the Women’s March and I gave neighbors a TV, DVDs and kids’ clothes we didn’t need anymore. I became a monthly donor to the ACLU (if you do the same see if your company will match your gift) and wrote LinkedIn recommendations for colleagues.

My bullet journal spread makes me feel like my everyday acts of kindness and political resistance add up to something.

Balance helps

Like many Americans, I’m horrified by what’s happening in my country. But signing every petition and waiting on hold every day when calling my representatives will just lead to burnout.

So some days I call governmental officials, and other days I don’t. I’m finding a balance between political action and good old-fashioned kindness.

Feminist // Women's March // Doing good
En route to the Women’s March

Who runs the world? GIRLS! Ten Thousand Hour Mama

Find ideas

With so much need in the world, it shouldn’t be hard to find something good to do—and usually it isn’t. But there were a few nights I realized that I hadn’t gone out of my way to do good yet, so I had to find something I could do in my pajamas at 10pm.

When my well of inspiration ran dry, I turned to several Facebook action groups I’m a part of. All it took was scrolling a bit to find something I could do from home—like send a hopeful message to refugees or take an oath to uphold the Constitution in whatever way makes sense for me.

I’ve also relied on a handful of resources that have fantastic ideas so we can all do good every day. (See below!)

You can’t do everything

Pretty sure I’m not the only one feeling overwhelmed, but facing a multitude of problems is no reason to do nothing. 

Bullet journal spread // Martin Luther King Jr. quote // doing good. Ten Thousand Hour Mama

I’ve given myself permission to not try to do it all. If I have done one act that makes a difference—paying for a homeless man’s lunch, thanking my senator for representing my values, babysitting a friend’s daughter while she goes to the doctor—I have reached my goal.

Many days I end up doing more. That’s great! But allowing myself the grace to say, “That’s all for today” prevents me from feeling like a terrible person when I delete that request to sign yet another petition.

There will always be more to do. And there is always tomorrow.

Resources to do good every day

Looking for some ideas on good deeds or political action you can do right now? Check out these links.

What would you add? How have you been doing good lately?

8 thoughts on “Doing good every day in January: What I learned

  • February 1, 2017 at 2:59 pm

    Wow this is so great and super inspiring. Good for you!
    Also, I love your bullet journal! I’ve been seeing those pop up everywhere lately and I’m considering starting one myself!

  • February 1, 2017 at 9:22 pm

    I missed your post at the beginning of the month, but I LOVE IT! I’ve felt similarly overwhelmed with what’s going on in our country, and honestly there are 2 days I’ve felt the happiest and most empowered this month. And both where I was doing something good.

    The first was the Women’s March in Portland. I took my kids despite the cold and intense rain. So much rain! But I felt so much less angry and scared the rest of that weekend. I felt empowered. I felt so supported! I loved being a part of that event!

    The second was this past Monday, after hearing about the outrage against Starbucks and their stance against the immigrant ban. My kids had no school (due to a teacher in-service day) and decided to go show my support to Starbucks by taking my kids there, buying them a special treat, and buying their teachers and every admin and support staff at their school a Starbucks gift card. It was my way of doing good to their teachers (who need support), and to show Starbucks I support their decision and statement on this topic! It felt good.

  • February 2, 2017 at 4:30 am

    That’s so fantastic and it’s amazing how when you add it all up you are actually doing a great deal! I always feel so much better doing and helping others. Love hearing all the wonderful things you are doing for others

  • February 2, 2017 at 6:03 am

    This is really well-written. It’s so important to recognize that you are only human – and no supermom can do everything!!!

  • February 2, 2017 at 10:55 am

    That is great! Making a journal is a great idea to track and keep you inspired!

    • February 6, 2017 at 3:26 pm

      Sahar, I’d love to see the post if you end up writing about doing good! Even if you don’t do something every single day, any amount of doing good makes the world a better place.


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