I am like everyone else and can get stuck in habitual behaviors and routines AND when something different happens (a conversation you didn’t expect, a surprise detour, an impromptu conga dance line at a gathering…) I feel energized and just a bit lighter and happier.

Melissa Kirsch, culture and life-style editor for New York Times, shared a brilliant game that she and some pals created as they reflected on the challenges of putting together New Year’s resolutions – where we tend to “swing big, hope for big results, but often fall short.”  They asked:  What if, instead, we made a tiny change and did one thing differently on one day only?  Could that also have impact?

With that goal in mind,  they created The Daily Dose where you would do one thing everyday just like taking a vitamin.

I’ve found this to be a great exercise to do with small friend groups or even large audiences.  Here’s how it works AND thanks #MelissaKirsch!


Each participant gets 28 individual slips of paper and 28 individual envelopes

On each slip of paper write one dose

Put one dose in one envelope and seal it

Place everyone’s sealed envelopes in a hat

Each participant draws 28 envelopes and labels them 1 – 28

Each person now has 4 weeks of doses

Create a blog or text chain where everyone can report in

Ground rules:

  1. Doses need to be small – something you could easily manage in a single day.
  2. They shouldn’t be duly embarrassing – shouldn’t include any activity you wouldn’t be willing to do yourself.

Open one dose each morning with your coffee or tea and then you’d go out and work your dose into your day.  It ends up to be a non-stop stream of novelty. And at the end of the day, report back to each other.

Here are some examples of doses:

  • Buy a candy bar today and eat it without anyone seeing
  • Recite a poem to someone over the phone
  • Buy a cheese you’ve never heard of
  • When someone asks you today how you are, say: “Pretty Fantastic”
  • Second guess nothing today
  • Adhere a sticker in a public place
  • Write down three things you like about yourself and email it to someone
  • Wear two different colored socks
  • Don’t use a credit card today
  • In conversation with someone, refer to yourself twice as “baby” – as in “Baby doesn’t like lettuce on her sandwich.”
  • Eat three foods that begin with the letter H
  • Hum the Wicked Witch of the West theme song while biking
  • Play with a paper clip for one minute

It’s great to have an audience cheering you on daily – the zanier the dose, the funnier the result.

The expectation is not that the dose produces transformative change but rather just add a shift in behavior that propels a different level of awareness – like taking a different route home from work.

A way of adding a little bit of lightness to your life and some delight  – a small measured way to break out of your routine and make things a little more exciting.

P.S.  A fun exercise to do with family over the holidays!

P.P.S.  My dose for today was “turn a friend onto a game you love.”