Helping others positively impacts the world around you and makes you feel good knowing you are doing something worthwhile for a worthy cause. If you are ready to get started helping but don’t know where to start, you aren’t alone. It can seem daunting, but there’s no need to worry. The 5 steps below will give you the tools you need to start helping.

1. Be Open-Minded

You may have a preconceived notion of what serving others looks like. Maybe it is giving a car to a family in need or donating a large sum of money to a community cause, such as a new playground. The truth is that you do not have to start with a grand gesture to help others and make a difference. Be open-minded. It’s okay to start out small. Maybe you do not have the funds to make a grand gesture. Instead, you could find a worthy charity and donate what you can or serve others with your time. For example, you can mow the elderly neighbor’s lawn or volunteer at a local youth event. There are opportunities all around you in your daily life.

2. Do The Right Thing

You will be surprised how much you will naturally help others just by doing the right thing every time. It is saying “hi” to the stranger you pass in the parking lot. It’s smiling at your neighbor. It’s letting someone jump in front of you in line or have the better parking space. There are so many ways to help just by being a nice person. You never know how much one simple gesture can mean. For instance, the person you let jump in front of you in line may be having the worst day or struggling with something, and that one gesture gave them the strength and courage to keep going.

3. Get Involved With Your Community

Meeting people and becoming involved in your community will open the door to so many ways to help others. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Church activities
  • Local 4-H & FFA clubs
  • County recreational youth sports
  • School fundraisers for clubs and sports
  • Foster care programs
  • Youth mentoring programs
  • Senior centers
  • Nursing homes
  • Rehabilitation facilities
  • Animal shelters
  • Volunteer fire department
  • Rotary club
  • Garden club

4. Lead The Way

Someone has to lead the way. If you notice an opportunity to serve, but nobody else seems to be doing it, don’t be afraid to be the first. You can’t go wrong if the end goal is to help someone. For instance, maybe you notice a family with small children who needs a new railing on their front porch. Perhaps you could get a small group together to help install a new railing.

5. Make it a Habit

Beginning a new habit means changing your mindset. Live each day, looking for new ways to help people. You probably won’t be able to directly help each person, but you may be able to point them in the right direction. For example, if someone is looking for a job, you can put them in touch with someone who is hiring. One action turns into two, which turns into three; before you know it, helping others is a habit.

Make the First Step

Living a life of helping others begins with making the first step. Our fear of doing something wrong can often prevent us from taking that first. Remember that no matter how small, every gesture counts. Be the giving person you want to be and help others every chance you get.

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