We all know the routine: after a busy year and an overindulgent festive period, a brand new year arrives presenting us with a fresh start and a chance to make positive changes within our lives.
You’ve reflected on the previous 12 months and you’re determined to kick the bad habits, be healthier, save some money and try to be a better person – “This is MY year!” you proclaim and away you go! You dust off the running shoes, dig out your gym membership card from down the side of the sofa and order 50 expensive plastic food containers from Amazon ready for your bimonthly ‘Meal Prep’ sessions. Wow! You’re on fire!
But by week 3, you’re back at your busy job, half the container lids are missing and you just can’t bear the thought of another 6am, 2 mile jog in the dark January sleet. You feel defeated. That fire you had is now just a smolder and you’re really disappointed with yourself. This was supposed to be YOUR year, remember?
Don’t worry – you’re not alone! Nearly half of people give up on their New Year’s Resolutions by February and through personal experience, I put that down to 3 things:
- Building your expectations too high;
- Setting unrealistic goals;
- Approaching goals in an unsustainable way.
This might well be YOUR year, but it might not and that’s okay. If 2020 taught us anything it’s that we don’t know what’s lurking around the corner and that we all need to be kinder to ourselves when our best laid plans fall through.
Building your expectations too high in the first place can make life’s set-backs (even small ones) feel like big obstacles in the way of achieving your goals, especially if they’re unrealistic in the first place. Yes; you can save up for that holiday, but maybe not by the end of the month when the winter heating bill is due and the car needs a new battery.
Setting intensive goals, such a new 2 hour daily workout routine, might seem reasonable while you’re still on holiday, but will that be sustainable once you’re back to work or school and your time and energy are being directed elsewhere? It’s time to reassess.
Over Christmas EcoClipper posted a short series of ‘Green Goals’ on Twitter: 10 simple ideas and changes that could be good for you, your pocket and the environment. Many are easy changes that anyone can adopt, they don’t require a big commitment and won’t take up much of your time or energy – all while giving you the sense of achievement that comes from completing a goal.
Click on the toggles below to find out more…
Thrifting is a fun way to help the environment, others and your wallet! And it goes two ways: declutter and donate or find a bargain while avoiding contributing to energy-intensive (and sometimes dubious) fast fashion factories and keeping clothes out of landfill.
Did you get some lovely bath-bombs, but you only have a shower cubicle at home? Or did your office Secret Santa mistake you for the other Alex?
There are many reasons why you might not want to keep your gifts so why not re-gift them to someone who can make use of them or donate them to a charity raffle!
Check Facebook to see if your community has a “For Free” or “Pre-Loved” group. These groups can be a lifeline for people who might be struggling financially to find the items they need.
Recycle your stamps
Did you receive lots of greetings cards during the holidays? Many UK charities Collect used postage stamps (including those from abroad) to generate funds for their organisations. Why not get your friends and colleagues involved and collect together for a charity that’s close to your heart or local to you?
Alternatively, Recycling For Good Causes accepts postage stamps from the UK and abroad and distributes them to (UK based) charities that assist communities around the world on your behalf. Pop your stamps into an envelope (postage must be paid) and send them to:
(Name of your chosen Charity)
PO Box 16992
Buying locally produced items from local shops and markets has many benefits. It’s a great way to discover what’s on your doorstep, supports your local economy and reduces packaging and “food miles” AND – the shorter distance, means fresher produce!
While the weekly farmers market may not be running during these strange, Coronavirus times, many local suppliers have come up with Covid-safe methods of getting their produce out to their local customers. Farms and greengrocers are offering seasonal fruit & veg box services which can be collected or delivered in a Covid-safe way. Ask your local producers and suppliers – you might be surprised to learn just how much variety there is on your doorstep!
Grow Your Own
Speaking of your doorstep, whether you have a sunny windowsill or an allotment, growing your own food is the ultimate in fresh, local produce! A lot of supermarket fruit and veg is shipped or flown in from abroad, even if it can be successfully grown locally.
Why buy tomatoes imported from Egypt or a few pre-cut sprigs of rosemary from Kenya when they’ll happily grow on your kitchen windowsill? Growing your own is fun, cheap and easy, tastes better than mass produced factory farm produce and you’ll be choosing less plastic, pesticides and food miles and more nutrients and a sense of accomplishment.
According to the Royal Horticultural Society now (January) is a good time to sow broad beans and early crops eg: lettuces, summer brassicas, spinach and salad onions – give it a go!
Cook from Scratch
Cooking from scratch rather than eating processed ‘ready made’ food is better for you and the world. Food processing factories use a lot of resources and energy. According to Science Direct, the annual consumption of ready-made meals in the UK accounts for GHG emissions of 12.89 Mt. CO2 eq -, equivalent to emissions of a whole country, such as Jamaica!
Just cooking a couple of meals from scratch a week for instance, would make a big difference to the environment. Cooking can be a lot of fun, can scratch that creative itch and allows you to be in control of how much salt, fat and preservatives you eat.
Recyclable or not; plastic bottles are one of the biggest contributors to landfill. They can injure wildlife and can end up in the sea where experts say by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish. Once a plastic bottle is damaged, it can leach dangerous chemicals into its contents and so should not be reused. Choose refillable metal or glass bottles where possible & say NO to single-use.
A Clean Mile
If you’re experiencing Lockdown due to Coronavirus, it’s important to stay active and walking is great for your physical and mental health. It can be done in a Covid-safe way, is low impact exercise and helps to clear your mind. On your next walk why not take a bag and a litter picker and (safely and carefully) collect litter as you go, disposing of it responsibly once you get home. You’ll be helping wildlife and the environment too.
Walk or Cycle
Once Lockdown restrictions are lifted, reduce your carbon footprint by walking or cycling to your local shop or commute – good for your health, wallet and the environment. Going further afield? Use Covid-safe public transportation options or better still, opt to ‘Zoom in’ to a long distance meeting from home.
Don't Fly - Sail!
This is one to consider later on, when we can travel freely again. Maybe you need to get from A to B, or you’re looking for something more than a package deal holiday, or perhaps you have heard the call of the sea and can’t ignore it any longer! Try a sailing holiday or Tall Ships Race for a greener vacation or to travel between countries and of course, keep an eye on EcoClipper for emission-free travel!