7 simple ways to pay it forward


If intentionally doing something thoughtful were a daily requirement, the resulting happiness could change your corner of the world. In addition to benefiting the recipient, the act of paying it forward (extending the goodwill in our life to someone else’s) increases our sense of well-being — because we know we did something that mattered. The size of the gesture is irrelevant.

  1. Let a distressed shopper cut in line.
  2. Pick up trash around your neighborhood.
  3. Offer to help carry someone’s bags.
  4. Send a letter of encouragement to a friend.
  5. Use environmentally friendly cleaning products.
  6. Donate blood.
  7. Bake someone a cake for no reason.

Thanks to Karen Amster-Young and Pam Godwin for this list. You can find hundreds more ideas in their book The 52 Weeks: Two Women and Their Quest to Get Unstuck, with Stories and Ideas to Jumpstart Your Year of Discovery.

More Unstuck Advice

7 easy ways to give back this holiday season Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks. And for some, those thanks come in the form of volunteerism and other acts of goodwill. But let’s say you r...
What to do when you don’t feel thankful At this point, it’s almost a cliche to think of Thanksgiving as a holiday that doesn’t really live up to its noble expectations. Sure, it’s su...
Instant Insight: Help out whenever you can We tend to think of good deeds in important, but grandiose contexts — volunteering in soup kitchens, donating to charity, giving out kidneys. But to h...