How are those New Year’s resolutions going? Are you still creating healthy meals and doing daily living room workouts and limiting yourself to four hours of Facebook a day?
For me, motivation doesn’t come from being passionate about what I’m doing — it comes from being passionate about why I’m doing it. I need to know my actions matter, both to myself and others.
Tracey Hulick, from Bend, Ore., found her why. Instead of keeping it to herself, she continues to look for ways to invite others into the enjoyment of combining health and kindness.
“My story actually started on the first day of seventh grade when I heard about kidney donation. I knew in my bones as a 12-year-old that I would do that someday. Twenty-seven years later, I followed through and donated my kidney to a stranger.
"I saw a need for more community support for people going through the process, so I created a nonprofit called Kidney Donor Athletes. I started that just a few years ago, and now we span the globe!
"If someone is going through a kidney donation or is curious about the process, we pair them with a mentor based on either geographic location or an athletic discipline. I am an ultramarathon runner, so the athletic community is important to me.
"Last August, I was approached by the president of the United States chapter of the International Association of Ultrarunners. I was invited to participate on this team for a six-hour virtual event. Instead of just running to see how far I could go, I decided I wanted to do as many acts of kindness as possible while running.
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"That day I mailed some handwritten letters, paid for some people's tabs at a local diner, and picked up garbage. I also got on the Amazon app and sent gifts to a few women who had baby registries in the two poorest states in the country, which are Mississippi and West Virginia.
"It was such a great day. I kept thinking to myself, 'How can I do this on a bigger scale?' I brought up the idea to my board of directors for Kidney Donor Athletes and the event Kindness in Action was born!
"The idea is that you move your body in whatever way you like (running, walking, hiking, biking, roller skating) and do something kind while you’re out. It’s that simple.”
The first Kindness is Action event happened last November and was a hit, but it’s not something you need to wait to do. If you’ve hit a low point in your resolution, whatever it is, take a lesson from Tracey and make it about other people. Make it about kindness.
If you still need some inspiration, spend a few minutes at https://kidneydonorathlete.org and read the names and stories of people from A-Z who literally gave of themselves to help another human. Their stories are sure to get you moving!
Please continue to share your stories of kindness with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nicole J. Phillips, a former Fargo television anchor, is a speaker, author and host of The Kindness Podcast. She lives in Aberdeen, S.D., with her three children and her husband, Saul Phillips, the head men's basketball coach at Northern State University. You can visit Nicole at nicolejphillips.com.