Doing Good Deeds: 52 Ideas to Inspire You Each Week

Doing Good Deeds: I hope everyone is fully recovered from the holidays - so far! New Year’s Eve will be here before we can blink. As I’ve mentioned in past writings, Melissa and I engage in our annual tradition of creating our own holiday cards to send to friends and family.

We truly enjoy this “ritual” and try to imagine the look on the recipient’s face when they see our work. It makes us feel good. It’s our way of reaching out and letting people know that they are remembered – that they matter to us. It’s fulfilling.


I have a confession to make. I get really pissed when people don’t acknowledge our good deeds. Melissa takes it in stride, but it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Sadly, and all too often, we do not receive an acknowledgement from quite a few of the recipients.

I know, I know. A truly good deed is one from which you expect nothing. Having acknowledged this, I am also a human being and feel the courtesy of appreciation is in order. Melissa and I don’t do this work to receive anything except a “thank you.”


I’d be happy just to receive a text or phone call (what’s a phone call??) of appreciation.  It feels as though I am sending my greetings out into an abyss. It can be demoralizing. Every year I vow to cut people off my list when I’m in the throws of disappointment.


Yes, even doing good deeds can come with its fair share of challenges – questioning whether or not it’s worth doing.


It’s not limited to card writing. I see rudeness and a lack of caring when out in public all of the time. There are the crosswalk people who can’t give a wave of appreciation when you stop to let them pass. There’s the person who doesn’t say “thank you” when you hold a door open. There’s the homeless man who got angry at me for bringing him food.


I can be pushed to the point of not wanting to continue on this path of doing good deeds. Again, I don’t expect a victory parade, medals, or people shouting from the rooftops. I just want a “thank you.”


But frankly, despite my disappointment, I find myself unable to change. I’ll be back to card making next year. I’ll hold that door open. I’ll be civil when allowing zombie ingrates safe passage.


This is my point: life is beautiful, but it will always present challenges to who you are. There will be plenty of occurrences which will test your very nature. You fight these negative forces by not yielding to their temptation.


Don’t allow the behavior of others (or lack thereof) to change you. The world needs as many positive and kind people as possible. There may be no acknowledgment, but good deeds are needed.


Keep sending good out into the universe. Keep doing good deeds. ~Ted

Doing Good Deeds: 52 Ideas to Inspire You Each Week ~parts adapted via

  1. Let your first check of the year be to charity. doing good deeds
  2. Help a friend in need. doing good deeds
  3. Volunteer for an hour at an organization of your choice.
  4. Save electricity by unplugging your devices when not in use.
  5. Buy a gift for your mother or grandmother – just because.
  6. Allow a fellow driver to merge into your lane.
  7. Write a thank you note to someone who won’t expect it.
  8. Find unneeded items in your house and donate them to a charitable organization.
  9. Plant a tree.
  10. Think of something you do well, and use your talent to benefit others – for example performing magic tricks at a children’s hospital or playing music at a nursing home.
  11. Teach an elderly person to use a computer to surf the Internet or write e-mails.
  12. Organize a family meal and appreciate being together.
  13. Collect stuffed animals or toys from family members, friends, and neighbors and donate them to an organization that helps children.
  14. When you are outside, stop and look around you. Take time to appreciate nature.
  15. Find a piece of winter clothing that you haven’t worn all season, and donate it to a charity.
  16. Donate an old cell phone.
  17. Be environmentally conscious – use both sides of the paper before throwing it away.
  18. Offer to cook or clean for the family of someone who has recently given birth.
  19. Think of at least three things you should be thankful for in your life.
  20. Sign up for a CPR course.
  21. Plant a vegetable garden, and donate the vegetables to a food pantry.
  22. Collect duffle bags, overnight bags, and suitcases from friends and donate them to organizations that send them to children in foster care.
  23. Add yourself to a bone marrow registry and take part in a bone marrow drive.
  24. Pick up trash from the sidewalk.
  25. Offer to read to or play games with someone living in a nursing or retirement home.
  26. Donate blood.
  27. Conserve energy. Turn off the lights if you’re the last person to leave a room.
  28. Save articles about people performing acts of kindness as a source of inspiration and motivation for you and your family.
  29. Decide to make one change in yourself that will make you a better person.
  30. Swallow your pride and apologize for something you’ve done – whether big or small.
  31. Take food to a new neighbor.
  32. Take part in a literacy program, to help children or adults learn to read.
  33. Donate school supplies to children from underprivileged homes.
  34. Collect small soaps, shampoos, deodorants, and other small toiletries, and donate them to battered women’s shelters, rehab centers for teens, or other places that would benefit from them.
  35. Donate your old eyeglasses to an organization that will reuse them.
  36. Treat a friend to dinner.
  37. Return a phone call you have been putting off.
  38. Give 10 percent of your salary to charity.
  39. Volunteer at a soup kitchen.
  40. Answer the phone in a cheerful voice.
  41. Recycle whatever paper, bottles, and plastic items possible.
  42. Hold a charity day at work. Encourage your colleagues and supervisors to bring in non-perishable items to be donated to a worthy cause.
  43. Turn the tap off when you’re shaving, brushing your teeth, or scrubbing the dishes – every drop counts.
  44. Take public transport instead of driving.
  45. Adopt a shelter animal.
  46. Make a double-batch of something delicious and freezable and give it to an older neighbor who doesn’t cook for him or herself as much anymore.
  47. Switch your light bulbs to the energy-efficient variety.
  48. Ask a loved one about their day.
  49. Hold the door open for a stranger.
  50. Praise a colleague’s good work.
  51. Meditate.
  52. When you’re out buying food, purchase an extra item to donate to a food pantry or to a homeless person.

Doing Good Deeds and More Ways to Live a Purposeful Life