25 Ways to Be a Better Person Today

I recently came across five principles for living well. They are:

Today — do not be angry.
Today — do not worry.
Today — be kind to yourself and others.
Today — be honest to yourself and others.
Today — work diligently.

– Usui Sensei, 1865-1926

On the whole, these principles would make you a better person. But they're a bit intangible, and adapting them into your life right away could be overwhelming. What I like about them is the focus on today — just today. There are so many things we can do just today that can inspire some amazing life changes. Changes that will not only make you a better person, but can enrich your life, save you money, help others and the environment, and instigate a true sense of happiness. (See also: 44 Ways to Improve Your Health and Happiness)

Here are 25 practical ways to apply the above principles and be a better person — today.

  1. Say thanks — and mean it. (Here are 25 really nice ways to do just that).
  2. Smile at a stranger.
  3. Learn to lean into vulnerability and express your true self. (Watch this video as an inspirational primer).
  4. Perform one senseless act of kindness per day.
  5. Take a sabbatical and learn something new about yourself in the process.
  6. Do something you've never done before.
  7. Set goals wisely — and reward yourself for making progress.
  8. Start a conversation with a random stranger (in line at the grocery store for example).
  9. Create a vision board to visualize — and achieve — the life of your dreams.
  10. Help somebody.
  11. Reflect on the amazing moments in your life, and figure out how to replicate them.
  12. Be 100% honest for an entire day.
  13. Be generous — but not to your own detriment.
  14. Express disagreement towards injustice.
  15. Learn something new. For example, learn how to change your life and design the lifestyle you want.
  16. Interact with nature. Go for a walk using all your senses, start a garden, or just admire a beautiful sunset.
  17. Have fun with a brainstorm session of 100 ways to change your life in 20 minutes.
  18. Cook a meal for somebody.
  19. Save money. (Here are 37 ways start saving today).
  20. Try letting somebody in line in front of you or driving consciously and kindly, and see if it actually makes you late. (You might surprise yourself).
  21. Give your kids a leg up in life and make finance a family affair.
  22. Learn about a worthwhile cause, and get involved.
  23. Choose three ways to be nicer to the environment and implement them. (For example, reduce your standby power consumption, make your office green, start a coffee cup revolution, or conserve water).
  24. Create your own definition of financial freedom, and inject a dose of passion into your budget.
  25. Regain your youth, and play with some children.

This is just a start. How can you become a better person today?

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25 Ways To Be A Better Person Today

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Guest's picture

Add want to add stop by, say hello or offer help to a neighbor to this list.

Guest's picture

26. Don't try to be "better". Embrace who you are and manage your life so that your shortcomings work to your advantage (or to the advantage of others).

Guest's picture

This is a nice hefty list that will not only save you money, but headaches in the end. I'll definitely be giving some of these a try.

Guest's picture

Re: 1-Say thanks — and mean it.

I often pass a very old senior uptown who makes a point to catch my eye, so as to exchange smiles.

And often I get a pleasant greeting or a polite gesture from a teenager. Even a rough looking kid will likely return a smile if you just give one first, as with mostly people. He only looked a bit unfriendly - he had a lot on his mind. I remember.

Who benefits most, the giver or the receiver of a friendly expression? Perhaps it's a draw.

Guest's picture

I think the last one (#25) is the best advice. There is nothing like playing with kids :-)

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Jamie murdoch

Would just love to be a better and happier person I ain't a bad person but feelbi am turning into a different one and I don't know why :-(

Guest's picture

I really need to learn to be kinder.

Guest's picture

I really enjoyed this article. It has simple but tremendous little principles to living a highly enjoyable life. I especially like the tip of doing something new. It made me think, "when is the last time I did something new." Not just a new slant on something I do all the time (discovering a new blog), but genuinely something that I've never tried before. Great food for thought.

Guest's picture

I love how some of these ideas are so liberating and they don't all focus on yourself. Being generous to others is one of the best ways to feel good without being selfish. It is great karma to send out into the universe, and if you can make just one person smile during the day, then you too have a reason to smile. Being childish is a great one. You can do this without playing with children; acting silly by dancing around, playing an old board game, or telling jokes to friends are all ways to have fun and feel good.

Guest's picture

I love lists like these! It helps remind me to slow down and be a human again! ;) Thanks for the tips. They are worth printing and hanging on the refrigerator! We all need gently reminders on how to be a better person!

Guest's picture

I love it

Guest's picture
Just Me

These are all undeniably good things to do but they are so simple, I was hoping for something more insightful because my great parents simply raised me this way. That sincerely isn't knocking this or anyone/anything, just desired more than the obvious.

I'll add one that should be in the top 3 - Travel internationally and get to know the world so you can identify and despise ignorance and bigotry. The United States sadly lacks this most - arguably.