I’ll spare you the details of my own political opinions. I’m immensely proud to be American (usually) and I think there’s been a lot of progress over the past few years. While I definitely think there’s room for improvement on MANY fronts, I still feel I was lucky enough to be born in one of the greatest countries in the world.

That said, there’s been so much talk about making our country “great again” and especially about how some people are promising to make that happen. But I think progress and greatness is more in OUR hands than in the hands of some politician, regardless of which side of the spectrum they side with.

Here are some small everyday things you can do as an individual that bring greatness into the mundane.

1) Pay for the person in front of you.
I know it’s a small gesture, but every time someone pays my toll, for my coffee, or something small, it makes my entire day brighter. Then of course I pay it forward and those positive vibes multiply. It’s such an easy thing for most of us to do, yet the rewards are MASSIVE! If you’ve got a spare $1, pick up your yoga friend’s water at the studio before the next class together!

2) Stop proving points pointlessly.
When someone’s taking their sweet time in front of you in line at the grocery store, or in traffic, how quickly do you flip out? Do you sigh heavily so they KNOW you’re waiting? Or roll your eyes when they turn back and say, “Sorry!” What if you were a little more patient, a little more understanding? Usually we get frustrated with people because people get frustrated with us! It becomes a vicious cycle. Let it stop with you. Don’t walk around proving points endlessly. Just try to be understanding the next time someone takes “your spot” in yoga class 😉

3) Look for common ground.
When someone says or does something that sends you straight into defense mode, try to understand WHY that person believes it to be true. We all grow up and live around different experiences, people, cities, and education. Is it really fair to want every single person on Earth to agree with everything we believe in? Of course not. Instead of reacting with contempt, see if you can find common ground and a little compassion. It does more good for you to be understanding than to be defensive.

4) Take ownership of your own sh*t.
This sounds really random, but it makes a big difference. Can you make an effort to pick up after yourself instead of relying on someone else? It could be as simple as putting away your own accessories after a yoga class instead of waiting on the instructor to do it. Maybe it’s throwing out that empty water bottle on the beach. Even if it’s not yours, you could either walk past it knowing it’ll probably sit there for years, OR you could put it in the trash so it can be recycled. There’s so many opportunities for taking ownership! In this case, think small and keep it simple.

5) Embrace community!
Sometimes it’s nice to be solitary and stay inside our own little world. But try to make an effort to connect more with those around you. It can be as simple as smiling at the person next to you instead of zoning out, or it could be as complex as scheduling a regular healthy potluck with your yoga friends. The more time we spend around other people, the more diverse our perspectives and the more compassion we embrace.

Over to you! How do you, as a yoga and independent person, make your city, town or country “great”?