The Best Environmentally Friendly New Year’s Resolutions
New Year is a season of hope, fresh starts, and new beginnings. For many of us, this includes making New Year’s resolutions to improve our lives and relationships with others.
By far, the most common resolutions revolve around healthy living. A global consumer survey in 2021 found almost half of the resolution-setting population shared the same three goals:
- Exercise more (48%)
- Eat healthier (44%)
- Lose weight (41%)
While other popular resolutions aimed at spending more time with loved ones, less time on social media, and stopping unwanted behaviors like smoking, eating too many sweets, and not getting enough sleep.
Relatable? Since many of us work on computers, love high-calorie foods, and have complicated relationships with social media, it’s not surprising that setting goals to change these behaviors is so popular.
Two Reasons to Consider an Environment-Focused Resolution
First off, it’s less selfish. We often get so focused on how our personal lives are panning out that we forget that we are members of the most impactful and destructive species on the planet. Self-serving resolution can quickly become unmotivating since we struggle to do things that lack a deeper meaning. Sustainably focused New Year’s resolutions not only help the world in the present but will give earth’s future generations a better place to live.
Secondly, sustainability-focused goals can be some of the best ways to live healthier too. Some of the things you can do for the environment will lead to more exercise and avoiding high-calorie foods without that being the main objective. These happy side effects of environment-focused new year’s resolutions lead to an upward spiral and a good life.
Enough said; it is time to unpack some actionable resolutions for the coming year.
The Big Three
These three goals are the ways you can make the biggest difference for the environment as a consumer.
Eat a Plant-Based Diet
The world of diets is fraught with a frankly overwhelming smorgasbord. We often are influenced more by what diet our friends and workmates are trying than anything else. Intermittent fasting? Slow-carb? Vegan? Pescetarian? While every diet has pros and cons, it is hard to stick to any of them for an extended period.
However, making the environment your focus leads to a straightforward meal plan. It is cheaper and healthier than the standard American diet. Simply put, eat less meat.
Going completely vegetarian is not the goal. Try eating meat once a week or stop cooking meat (while still eating what is served to you). Apart from being expensive, tricky to cook right, and even more challenging to save, meat is responsible for much of the unsustainable land use worldwide, 60% of food-related greenhouse gas emissions, and an unimaginable living conditions for many of the animals.
David Attenborough, Ariana Grande, Zac Effron, Oprah Winfry, and many others have advocated for plant-based eating. If you want to make a difference, it is a great place to start.
Consider a Low Carbon Commute
There are a variety of ways to avoid or reduce your reliance on carbon-emitting transportation to and from work. For example:
- Riding a bike
- Taking public transport
- Purchasing an electric car
- Working from home
An excellent way to start is by purchasing a physical object to remind you of your resolution. It could be a new bike, helmet, bus card, or a Tesla, if you’ve been saving.
Just like eating a diet based on plants, low-carbon commuting doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing commitment. Resolve to ride to work every day when it’s sunny or walk once a week. This environmentally friendly resolution will help you live a healthier lifestyle too.
Embrace Surface Travel
Apart from diet and day-to-day driving, for most people in the developed world, flying has the most significant impact on the climate and the environment. While hydrogen-powered flight is yet to be a reality, limiting the number of flight hours you have per year can save a massive proportion of your carbon footprint.
Of course, some flying is inevitable. But since the global pandemic, much of it has proven to be avoidable. Honestly, a “no flying goal” isn’t super exciting. Instead, shape your resolution around exploring the nature reserves and national parks close to home for vacations. When you do fly, make the trips a worthwhile stay rather than a whirlwind weekend visit.
Looking For Something Shorter Term?
Rid your property of junk.
We all have random junk in our attics, yards, and living areas that compounds stress and clutters our space. Make your New Year’s resolution simple, traceable, and accomplishable by tackling the disposal of all that stuff you no longer need.
The best way to do this is to look up “garbage service near me” and get in contact. They’ll provide you with a roll off dumpster rental or another plan of attack to get the job done.
Most people’s long-term New Year’s resolutions only last a few weeks. Getting rid of your junk will only take a week or two, and instead of feeling like a failure, you’ll have accomplished your resolution in record time.