People often think standing up for what they believe in has to involve a grand gesture, like protesting on Wall Street or picketing in front of a government building.
Sure, there's a unique power in public statements of your ideology. But "making a statement" doesn't always have to be about activism.
There are ways to show your belief system — to yourself and to others — in small, everyday ways. In fact, some of the biggest differences are made by everyone banding together to do something that seems like no big deal all. These changes might not make it to the nightly news, but that doesn’t mean you’re not making a difference.
Here are five simple things you can do to "make a statement" in order to change your life today:
1. Tune in, and don't say anything (even if you think you have something to say).
We’ve all listened to someone without really listening. We get so wrapped up in our own problems that we’re not there for others when they need us. Perhaps we respond too quickly by rattling off some half-baked advice, or nod our heads while checking our email. Or perhaps we just don't listen fully.
In any case, there is a profound power in making a commitment to being present. The next time you’re with a family member or friend, make them your focus. Let them be the center of attention. It may not be a very loud statement, but it’s one of the best ways to show you really care about someone. Just listen.
2. Eat a family meal, even if you're busy.
There’s something about sitting and eating around the table that helps families feel closer to each other. It gives you a chance to relax, recharge, laugh, tell stories and catch up on the day’s ups and downs, while developing a sense of who you are as a family.
There's also been plenty of research to support the positive effects of a family meal. Family dinners have been linked to a lower risk of obesity, substance abuse, eating disorders, and an increased chance of graduating from high school. I’d say these make a pretty big statement.
3. Display your knickknacks loud and clear.
As we go through our lives, we collect weird things. Brightly colored blankets from India, or paperweights you inherited from your aunt. These little trinkets tell your story in a unique and playful way. Why not use them for decoration? They give your home or desk a little personality, and every time you see them it’ll make you smile.
4. Don't answer your phone ... really.
When you have loads of items on your to-do lists, every quick phone call you take pushes you further and further away from finishing everything. You may think you're "getting stuff done" by not having to call people back, but odds are, you are distracting yourself.
To help yourself get back on track, make a point of not answering your phone. That’s unless that person has an appointment to talk to you at that moment. The helps free up your time and makes your co-workers realize how valuable your time is.
5. Open your eyes to what's around you, and volunteer locally!
It always makes me happy when I feel like I’ve made a difference in someone else’s life. Helping out at the homeless shelter or senior citizens home is a great way to get that feel-good buzz and will give you a chance to meet new people. You can spend a few minutes or a few hours doing good and the impact is profound. Volunteering makes a clear statement that you care about your local community.
What are some of your small ways of changing your daily routine, and making a statement?
You can get a free chapter of my book, Listful Thinking: Using Lists to be More Productive, Highly Successful and Less Stressed here.