It's the time of year when many of us make New Year's Resolutions. We promise ourselves to make changes in our lives; lose weight, hit the gym, go back to school. Most of these commitments fall by the wayside, often before the end of January.

Real change doesn't have to wait for a specific day of the year or even the beginning of next week. To be a better person, you must be kind. Every day, all the time. That means to even to those you dislike and disagree with on every level. One of the best ways to be a better person is to be kind. If you consciously make an effort to be kind it will become second nature. Here are 10 effective ways to make kindness a habit:

1. Smile at people. A smile will lift the spirits of those around you.

2. Speak to people you come in contact with. A simple hello or good morning, combined with a pleasant smile, will create a connection.

3. Help someone who can't help you. Pay it forward.

4. Compliment a stranger. A small comment in passing can make someone's day.

5. Give in when it's not fair. You don't always have to be right. Even when you know you are.

6. Forgive others. Extend grace to those who have wronged you.

7. Sacrifice, even in a small way. Share your lunch with a homeless person. Buy someones groceries in line with you at the supermarket.

8. Touch a person who's down. A small physical contact connects you to him and let's him know someone cares. Extra points if you can connect with a homeless person, who may go weeks without physical contact with another human being.

9. Volunteer your time. Tutor a child, read to an elderly person, rake your neighbor's leaves. Give of your time to another.

10. Look for small ways to make other people smile.

Each of these actions requires an active decision to put another person before yourself. To give of yourself. If you consciously make these 10 ideas a part of your everyday life you will have gained compassion, you will be kind, and your life will be better for it.

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