You often hear about people performing random acts of kindness. A term coined as a positive response to the phrase “random acts of violence,” they involve spontaneous, selfless good deeds, often performed for total strangers, in order to make their lives a little bit better. A noble goal, to be sure. But why not take it a step further? If a random act of kindness can do a little good in the world, how much more good can you do if you plan ahead? With a little bit of forethought, you can perform intentional acts of kindness. What are intentional acts of kindness? Here are a few examples:

  • Leave a note in your mailbox for the postman, saying thank you and telling him how much you appreciate all of his hard work.
  • Bake a batch of homemade cookies or brownies for a friend who recently did you a favor, or helped you out when you needed it.
  • Send a text to each of your top contacts or favorite contacts in your phone, to let them know that they’re important to you, and maybe tell them each something that’s special about them.
  • Go to the house of a friend or relative who may be getting older, or who otherwise has trouble performing certain tasks on their own, and offer to help them out. Change some light bulbs, mow the lawn, clean and vacuum the house, maybe just cook dinner for them. Make a schedule to continue coming back to help them out on a regular basis, say once a month or so.

So what are intentional acts of kindness good for? For one thing, they make the world around you a better place. For another thing, they make you feel good. But the real value is in the planning. Make these acts a priority. Make them a part of your schedule and a part of your life. It’s important, on your journey to success, to focus not just on yourself, but also to consider the lives and the needs of the people around you.

Random acts of kindness are often about helping out total strangers. Intentional acts of kindness are about seeking out the people who are in your life, but whom maybe you overlook or take for granted, and seeing what you can do to appreciate them more. This in turn can help you to gain a better appreciation for the world at large.

What are intentional acts of kindness that you can perform in your own life? These examples are just the tip of the iceberg. Use your imagination. Look at the people around you and come up with some for yourself. When you make kindness a priority, you make the world better for everyone.