This world is a big place and it’s easy to wonder how one person can even make a dent in the problems, the unrest, the suffering and the struggles of an entire planet. However, there is no action that is too small to matter. Now more than ever, the world needs more love, compassion and empathy from people who have a strong desire to make a difference.
Despite what you may have believed in the past, you don’t need any special gifts, talents or even money to make a big impact on the world around you. In fact, there are plenty of ways you can make an impact without even touching your bank account.
Here are some simple ways you can make the world a better place today without spending a dime. Let’s dig in!
Donate old clothing
A great way to help out someone in need is to go through your closet and donate those items that are just taking up space. If it hasn’t been worn in 6 months, throw it in a box and donate to a local homeless shelter, church, school or other community outreach center. There are always people in need of clothing, no matter what time of year it is. Not only will you be making a difference in your community, but you’ll be able to declutter your space and make room for new items in the future. That’s a win-win!
Ditch the Drama
Social media makes it very easy to get pulled into silly gossip and drama when you’re least expecting it. One minute you’re scrolling Facebook looking at memes and the next thing you know, you’re reading all 525 comments of an argument between two strangers you don’t even know. To make it even worse, sometimes you feel the need to participate in the argument or give your opinion on the subject (because what’s the harm in that, right?). Next time, flip the script and bow out of the drama before it sucks you in. There will always be conflict, but the less time you spend listening to and participating in it online (or offline) you are making the world a better place.
This is quite possibly, one of the easiest things you can do to make an impact – simply don’t use the world like it’s your personal trash can. No matter where you look, it’s easy to find some sort of litter hanging around – a neighborhood sidewalk, a grocery store parking lot, or the side of the highway to name a few. Make an effort to be the bigger person and throw your garbage away where it actually should go – in the trash. Better yet, when you see litter, do your part and clean it up. Making sure your little corner of the world is litter free, is a small way to make a big impact.
Write a Thank You Note
Think about someone who has made a difference in your life or your child’s life. Take time to write a note of appreciation, thanking them for how much they’ve impacted you in one way or another. This could be your child’s teacher, a friend, a neighbor, a co-worker or even the lady at the grocery store who always has a smile and a greeting when you come in. Life is so short and it’s always a good time to build someone up and let them know how they’ve made your own life better.
At least once a week, make the choice to put your phone down and unplug for the whole evening. Instead of scrolling social media, have a game night or snuggle up and watch a good movie with your family. Give them 100% of your attention. It’s so easy to get caught up in the mindlessness of Facebook or Instagram that we don’t even realize how much time it takes away from those we love. Shutting it down for a bit is a great way to make a huge impact in your own life and prioritize what’s really important – more time with your family.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be a five-star chef, a budding artist or a bestselling author to share your creativity with the world. You have gifts, talents and a personal viewpoint that no one else has. Don’t be scared to share it with the world – or even one single person. Try your hand at painting, writing poetry, songs or even a children’s book. Make Christmas ornaments, cookies or knit a pair of gloves and a scarf. No matter what it is, put it out there – the world can always use more beauty, inspiration and creativity.
Let’s face it: The world can be a bit uptight, especially right now, and it’s easy to get caught up in the gloom and doom scenarios if you’re not careful. This is why it’s the perfect time to lead the way and show others that it’s ok to have fun, be silly and let loose a little bit. Tell a joke, belt out that song you love, play in the rain, walk barefoot in the grass at the park and pick flowers, or build a blanket fort with your kids. Enthusiasm is contagious – when you share your love of life, your laughter and your smile with the world, you can cause a ripple effect that will impact others in a big way.
You can make a big difference in the world simply by choosing to lead with love rather than hate and spread more kindness in the world. Don’t underestimate the power of even the smallest act of kindness. It can turn someone’s day (or life) around and give them hope – something we all desperately need. Shovel an elderly neighbor’s driveway, help out at a local soup kitchen, or give a stranger a compliment at the grocery store. Leave a sweet note in your child’s lunchbox, post positive messages online, or donate old toys or blankets to a children’s shelter. The impact you can have on the world is limitless when kindness is a daily habit.
Use Less Plastic
We all know that plastic is bad for the environment, yet it’s super easy to overlook how much we actually use on a daily basis. Making an effort to cut down or eliminate your plastic usage over time will make a huge impact on your own health and the environment as well. Start bringing your own eco-friendly bags to the grocery store, invest in a reusable water bottle or coffee mug and swear off plastic water bottles for good. Store your food in glass containers or mason jars instead of plastic Tupperware and opt out of using a straw when eating out. These are just a few ways you can do your part to protect yourself and the planet at the same time.
If you want to make a real impact on your own life and the world around you, always stay curious and filled with childlike wonder. Ask the questions, stay open minded and continue to learn through books, podcasts, courses and conversations. Don’t ever get to the point where you choose to settle and be complacent about the way things are just because someone told you that’s how it is or always will be. Learn about new ideas, new cultures, new ways of life – forever be a student and fill you head and heart with knowledge that can change the world.
Plant a tree (or two)
One of the best ways to impact the future of the planet for generations to come, is to ensure that more trees are planted around the world. Join up with a local organization planting trees around your community or simply go outside and make a home for a brand new tree in your own backyard. Trees not only serve to provide better oxygen for us but also protect us from pollutants in the air. They also make pretty good homes for our animal friends and they just plain make us happy to look at. Go out and plant a tree today – the future planet will thank you.
Raise Awareness for a Cause
A great way to be an advocate for change is to raise awareness for a cause you care about. You can do this in a number of ways – host an online fundraiser or use social media to boost awareness on a variety of platforms. Write an informative blog post or film a video to help people understand why it’s important to have their support. Be consistent with your message and engage those around you by simply starting a conversation that matters.
Raise Good Humans
If you’re a parent, the best thing you can do to pave the way for a bright future is to raise decent humans. Teaching your children, the value of hard work, integrity, compassion and empathy from a young age will turn them into the ones who will change the world as adults. Start with the simple, yet important things – manners, kindness and gratitude – and use teachable moments throughout their childhood to build a foundation that will benefit them and the entire planet for years to come.
Foster an animal
Making a difference in the world doesn’t limit you to only helping people. There are plenty of animal friends that need someone to be an advocate for them as well. A great way to do this is to get involved in the foster program with your local animal shelter. Check around and see what fostering opportunities are available in your area. By doing this, you’ll get the chance to provide love, care and a temporary home for one of those sweet fur babies until they are officially placed in their forever home.
Lend an ear
You can help take the weight of the world off of someone else’s shoulders simply by being there to listen free of judgment and criticism. Knowing you can be that someone who makes another feel seen, heard and respected as they relay their troubles is quite possibly one of the best feelings in the world. Reach out to friends, family members, neighbors, co-workers, etc and make it known that you’re available if they ever need a listening ear.
Babysit (or dogsit) for free
We all know parents who are struggling to find a moment of peace and quiet, let alone the money to pay for a babysitter. Be their saving grace and offer your services to babysit for a night, free of charge. Whether it’s the frazzled mom next door, the young family who just moved into town, or a long-time friend, give them the opportunity to restore their sanity while you take charge of their tiny humans for an evening.
If you want to have a positive impact on your own health and the environment, recycling is one of the best things you can do. Not only does recycling reduce the amount of pollution caused by waste but it helps to protect the natural resources of our planet. Every single day more and more products are made with materials that are not biodegradable – this means when those products are simply thrown away in the trash it will take YEARS for them to break down. Landfills are already overflowing with these types of items. Be part of the solution and encourage your family (and others) to start a habit of recycling today.
Start putting more positive energy out into the world and make an effort to smile more. This is probably one of the easiest things you can do, yet so many people simply just don’t. If you’re alive and breathing, you have a reason to smile. Give that smile to a stranger on the street, a struggling mom in the grocery store, an elderly resident at the nursing home or simply your own spouse who comes home after a long day at work. It costs nothing, has zero language barriers and has the power to turn someone’s day completely around. Do more of that today.
Now more than ever, local businesses need your support. Instead of spending money with a big box store, try shopping around in your own community. You’ll find unique items, better customer service and by investing in your local economy, your money stays right where it should be – in your community. Seek out small businesses and see what they have to offer – buy a birthday gift at a local gift shop, join the gym down the street or get your car worked on by the local mechanic. You can’t go wrong supporting the community where you live. In fact, you may be pleasantly surprised at the great products and services you find along the way.
Donate canned goods
Instead of letting food waste away in your overflowing pantry, take time to donate those excess canned goods to a local soup kitchen or food pantry. This is a great way to help provide hungry families with the assistance they need to keep going. With so many people experiencing job loss, hunger and homelessness, the need for extra food is greater than ever before. Help those struggling in your community and declutter your cabinets and pantry today.
Share a meal
Make it a nightly habit to sit around the table with your family and share a meal. Eating a meal together has several benefits that go far beyond just satisfying your taste buds. It provides the opportunities for families to come together and re-connect with each other and engage on a higher level. This helps to build stronger relationships and a sense of belonging that you can’t get anywhere else. Kick it up a notch and open your home to an elderly neighbor or struggling mom down the street. Sharing a meal doesn’t have to be limited to only your family – it truly brings people together to share a piece of themselves as well.
Donating your time through volunteering a great way to impact your community as well as the world around you. Volunteering allows you to meet likeminded people who want to make a difference, build new skills and gain a deeper sense of purpose. There are volunteer opportunities everywhere whether it be in person or virtually. You simply have to do your research and find something that speaks to you. You’ll never regret time spent helping to pave the way for a better world.
If you can possibly do it, give up the car keys for a while and choose to walk or ride a bike instead. Less drive time means less maintenance on your vehicle, less money spent on gas and less pollution in the air. It also means more time to immerse yourself in nature – a big perk for your mental health. If less driving is not in the cards for you depending on where you live, at least make an effort to be a more patient driver while on the road. Less road rage always makes the highways a little bit safer and the world a little bit happier.
Instead of complaining about everything wrong with the world, try flipping the switch and practice some gratitude instead. When you take time to reflect on and notice the blessings around you, it’s much easier to live a more positive, carefree and happy life. Start a gratitude journal, watch the sunrise, fill your day with positive and inspirational messages and make those you love a priority. The ripple effect of gratitude will be felt not only in your own life but in the energy you send out into the world.
This may not seem like a world-changing action, but it really is one of the most important things you can do. Daily self-care habits are good for your physical, mental and emotional health. Taking care of yourself first will ensure that you are operating at 100% instead of running on fumes. This will greatly impact your ability to help others when they need you because you will have the time, energy and motivation to do so. Impacting yourself first, changes the world later.
Don’t ever be discouraged and think that one person can’t make a difference. Even without tapping into your bank account, there are so many unique ways to make a big impact. Through small daily actions like these, you can start the ball rolling which will produce big results down the road. If you have the desire to create meaningful change, there are plenty of simple actions you can take today. By actively look for opportunities to make someone else’s life better, you will be well on the path to becoming a world changer.