12 Kinds of Kindness - logo 12 Kinds of Kindness - handheld logo Eye

Two self-centered New Yorkers, often focused on what’s ahead instead of what’s around them, created a series of 12 steps as a way to become kinder, more empathetic people. As a resolution, they practiced this for 12 months.

Kindness is one thing we all have the ability to share. It’s free, it feels great, and it’s within our control. So, why is it so difficult to be kind at times? How can we become less judgmental of others and ourselves? We tend to only see what we want to see, hear what we want to hear, and surround ourselves with people who share our own experiences and tastes. Countless scientific studies, newspaper articles, religious texts, and self-help books have tried to help us become kinder people, but how often do we really put that advice into practice?

We've all heard popular sayings like, “Treat others the way you would like to be treated” and “Don't judge another until you've walked a mile in their shoes.” Tim and Jessie wanted to take these sentiments and literally apply them to their own lives. Based on 12-step programs designed to change behaviors, they created a 12-step experiment as a way to confront their own apathy and selfishness. For 12 months, Tim and Jessie attempted to open their hearts, eyes and minds to become kinder, more empathetic people. Will kindness rub off on them? Or will they fall back into their regular, disconnected habits?

Stop by Monday to Friday, from January 13th to March 15th, to follow their story. Also, feel free to use the artwork / quotes in the stories to share your own story on social. You can download them all on the 12 Kinds of Kindness Tumblr.

Jessica portrait

Jessica Walsh is a designer and partner at Sagmeister & Walsh based in New York City. She loves avocados.

Tim portrait

Timothy Goodman is a designer and illustrator with his own studio based in New York City. He loves jazz.

Who we are

Jessica and Timothy are the creators of the blog and book, 40 Days of Dating. They co-teach together at the School of Visual Arts in New York City and sometimes they put Quotes on Shit for fun.

Contact us

Please direct all inquiries, love or hate mail to: [email protected]

Website Credit

Website Coding for 12 Kinds of Kindness site, “Let’s Talk About Mental Health,” “My Dad Is” + “Trumpsults” microsites by Gisle Nes + Peeky. Website coding for “If Trump Wins” microsite by Eric Jacobsen.

Story Credits

All illustrations + lettering by Leah Schmidt, Timothy Goodman, and Jessica Walsh. “Let’s Talk About Mental Health” illustrations by Leah Goren. Copy editing + proofreading by Jennifer Schaffer.

Video Credits

Steps 1, 2, 3 + 11 videos by Natalie Holt. Steps 2, 9 + 10 videos by Jason Bergman. Jessie’s step 4 video by Zak Mulligan + Giacomo Francia; Produced in Association with Public Record. Jessie’s step 6 video by Geoffrey Levy + Jason Bergman. Tim’s step 4 animations by Santiago Carrasquilla. Tim’s step 5 video & all photography by Bas Berkhout. Additional film & editing by Brian Frank. 12-step video ideas by Jessica Walsh + Timothy Goodman. Ideas + films by Daniel Forero, Aron Filkey + Zak Mulligan. Edited by Molly Brunk + Mah Ferraz.

Step 01 Step 01: Can I Help You?  Step 01 Can I Help You?  Can we gain any empathy or perspective by talking to strangers with different situations? We asked New Yorkers one very simple question: “How can we help you?” Step 02 Step 02: Open Your Eyes Step 02 Open Your Eyes Bystander apathy is a phenomenon. We hung missing people signs all over NYC and sat next to them for an entire day. Did anyone notice? What if we did the same thing with a dog? Step 03 Step 03: Switch It Up Step 03 Switch It Up There are always people who bother us and situations we try to avoid due to our selfishness. What if we had to do their job? Could we be kinder to them in the future? Step 04 Step 04: Don’t Beat Yourself Up Step 04 Don’t Beat Yourself Up We all beat ourselves up for the way we've handled things in the past. We tried to forgive ourselves for these experiences by opening up about them. Step 05 Step 05: Forgive & Forget Step 05 Forgive & Forget We faced someone who hurt us in the past. Can we let go of the pain or misunderstanding we have toward them? Can we gain any compassion or empathy by confronting them? Step 06 Step 06: Face Yourself Step 06 Face Yourself Everyone has their own kinds of fears and insecurities, and we often hide behind them by judging others. We took a major personal insecurity of ours and faced it head on. Step 07 Step 07: Kill Them With  Kindness Step 07 Kill Them With Kindness They say the ultimate act of compassion is to learn to love your enemies. We tried to better understand someone we don’t get along with by doing something nice for them. Step 08 Step 08: Walk a Mile In Their Shoes Step 08 Walk a Mile In Their Shoes It’s easy to judge lifestyle decisions that we don’t like or that we don't understand. We participated in the lifestyles of others as a way to learn more about them and their decisions. Step 09 Step 09: Go Big or Go Home Step 09 Go Big or Go Home Why do we always seem to neglect the people who we are closest to? We picked one special person in our lives who we constantly neglect and did something nice for them. Step 10 Step 10: Pay It Forward Step 10 Pay It Forward We left wallets all over NYC with money and a note asking that the recipient do one kind thing with it. We also performed random acts of kindness on the streets. Step 11 Step 11: Wear a Smile Step 11 Wear a Smile For eight hours straight we walked around NYC and smiled at every person we came across. Could we make them smile? Could we bring a moment of happiness to their life? Step 12 Step 12: Dive Deep Step 12 Dive Deep For this last step we're going to dive deep into what we've learned and try to do something much larger than ourselves. We’ll open this platform to start a dialogue.