A month into the new year and it’s just as chilly outside in most places as it was on New Year’s, but with less fanfare and buzzing excitement about turning a new leaf. New Year’s resolutions becoming stale and stagnant is not a rare phenomenon. The frustration that accompanies it, however, can make it tempting to ditch our desires for change and root ourselves in our old comfort zones. Make this year different! Here are some tips for keeping your eco-friendly New Year’s resolutions going — let’s focus on being greener this year!
How to Keep Your Eco-Friendly New Year’s Resolutions on Track
Identify the Snags Early
After a full month, we usually have a good idea of what our speedbumps are along our goal-driven paths. Maybe we haven’t etched out enough time to devote to our resolutions or we didn’t think through how we want to implement them in an effective way. Ask yourself what’s going awry so you can determine just how to fix it.
Reshape the Goal so It Remains Attainable
When we create goals, we just don’t know what the journey will look like and if the finish line we imagine is 100 percent realistic. It is perfectly fine to tweak our goals along the way so we can actually see the finish line getting closer — and we will be more motivated to keep moving toward it!
Remind Yourself Why You’re Doing It
Resolutions can vary so much in their details, their life application, and the reason people choose them. If you’ve committed to eco-friendly New Year’s resolutions this year, take some time to remember why you felt motivated to go after these goals in the first place. What got you excited about making a change? Is it a person, a personal value, a vision of the future that gets you jazzed about continuing on? Keep this in the forefront of your mind.
Bring on Some Accountability Buddies
Pursuing a goal alone works for some, but many people prefer the company of others along the way. Just like having a “gym buddy” can make weight loss goals more effective, having someone with the same vision of recycling more often, switching to homemade and environmentally friendly cleaners, bicycling to work, shopping thrift instead of cheap (and cheaply made), or cutting back on animal products to reduce your carbon footprint can be very helpful. Check in with one another regularly to see how you all are reaching your goals and to inspire each another to keep moving forward.
Engage in the Resolution Regularly
A goal that we think about or do once a year is not much to get excited about. Find a way to engage in the process on a regular basis. If your resolution is to buy only sustainable or pre-owned clothing, check back in on the goal by researching the process more thoroughly, finding donation centers for your old clothes that have good business practices, and even educating your friends and family on the mission’s importance by hosting a clothing swap. Explore all of the resolution’s nooks and crannies!
Reflect on the Goal’s Importance and Value
At the end of the day, there is some reason you chose such a meaningful goal for the New Year. There is some greater importance it has for you other than making life easier for just yourself. Maybe you joined a community-supported agriculture program (CSA program) because you recognize the value in local farmers and eating produce that hasn’t traveled hundreds of miles. Perhaps you started to make your own condiments, dressings, and baked goods from scratch because it was painful to think of the packaging waste associated with purchasing those products at the store. Maybe your decision to volunteer with the local river clean-up gang was deeply personal because you want the future generations to have safe and clean outdoors to explore. Keep these values close to your heart.
Switch It Up for Something Better, if Needed
If your resolution is simply falling flat on its face, despite continued efforts, it’s okay to switch to a new one. Sometimes we are simply not ready for a large overhaul in our lives. If our busy work schedule prevents us from starting a home garden but we can easily invest in reusable shopping bags, travel coffee mugs, and glassware for packing our lunches, then go for it! Recognize your limits and rethink what other ways you can make a positive impact in your everyday life.
Did you make any eco-friendly New Year’s resolutions this year? What tips do you have for sticking to your goals? Share in the comments below!
Katie Medlock is a writer, mental health counselor, and educator on a quest to make the world a better place. Her writing has appeared on Headspace, Inhabitat, Care2, Ravishly, and Chic Vegan. On her days off, you will find her cooking, catching up on nerdy podcasts, blogging at The Offbeat Herbivore (https://offbeatherbivore.com), or lounging with her partner and rescue dachshund.