The New Year is just around the corner and that means one thing…resolutions! If you’re like most people, you probably can’t remember what your resolutions were last year. (Don’t worry, we can’t remember ours either.)
So, why do so many of us abandon our resolutions? Well, it’s because we forget to follow some simple advice: if you’re going to make a resolution, make it realistic. The surest way to fall short of your goal is to make it unattainable. Planning ahead will also give you the flexibility to make your resolution more achievable. After all, you probably don’t want to commit to something after a couple glasses of champaign on New Year’s Eve… (not that we’d know from personal experience or anything.) Then, as you proceed, track your progress and reward yourself along the way. Even incremental change deserves a big pat on the back!
Resolutions for the Planet
You might be wondering why the hell EarthShare is talking about resolutions. It’s because we want to encourage everyone to make a planet-focused commitment for 2023—one that’s reasonable and achievable, one that can be tracked. It’s common knowledge at this point that our planet needs more support than ever, and this is our chance to make a difference; even if it’s a small, incremental change.
You’ll feel better for doing it and our planet will be happier as well.
But what exactly should this resolution be? We thought about it and decided to use a list of last year’s top new year’s resolutions as inspiration. According to YouGov, the five new year’s resolutions in 2021 were:
- Exercising more / Improving my fitness (50%)
- Losing weight (48%)
- Saving money (44%)
- Improving my diet (39%)
- Pursuing a career ambition (21%)
But how might these translate to environmental action?
Turning Resolutions Into Environmental Action
Improving fitness is all about health, and to stay healthy, we all depend on healthy ecosystems. These, unfortunately, are frequently under attack from things like pollution, invasive species, and deforestation. Consider what actions you could take to help protect and restore the biodiversity of plants and animals where you live. That could be anything from volunteering at a wildlife rehabilitation center to planting native plant species in your yard to donating to nonprofits that restore habitats and protect endangered species.
#2. Losing Weight
While losing weight is a popular resolution, consider how you might pair this with lowering your carbon footprint. Start by measuring your carbon footprint, so you can measure progress. From there, you can make daily changes involving food (less red meat is good for the planet and for weight loss), transportation, energy use, and more. You’ll find that you can drop carbon from your life, and you don’t even need to hit the gym.
#3. Saving Money
Money is always a big goal for people in the new year, whether it’s saving more, making more, or simply doing more. The good news is that everyone can create positive impact with environmentally focused donations. Create a budget and set aside as little as $1 per week. When shopping online, consider rolling up purchases with your credit card and donating your change at checkout. You’d be surprised how much amazing work nonprofits can do with limited budgets. Even small donations, a few dollars here and there, go a very long way.
#4. Improving Diet
Doesn’t everyone want to eat healthier? In our opinion, it’s not just about counting calories, it’s about thinking about where your food comes from. Can you convert 10% of your diet to local foods, shrinking your carbon footprint? Can you support local farmers that are conserving land and mitigating sprawl? Can you focus on buying organic or even regenerative agricultural products? Set a goal for how much of your diet can be comprised of more environmentally friendly foods and ramp up that goal over the course of the year.
#5. Career Ambitions
Where do you want your career to go? It’s a big and complicated question, especially for those looking to put more purpose in their lives. While setting big goals like getting a promotion or switching careers can be tough, in the meantime, the simple act of volunteering can go a long way and can instill a sense of meaning in your life. Studies show that people who volunteer are happier overall. We encourage you to consider donating an hour or two of your time monthly or quarterly. Nonprofits—and the planet—will greatly appreciate the effort.
There are so many ways that you can take action for a healthy planet in the year ahead. Don’t hesitate to get creative with it, and most importantly, have fun. The more you enjoy it, the more you’ll be willing to stick to it over the year. If EarthShare can support your efforts, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.