I can't tell you how sick I am of New Year's resolutions. Resolutions seem so finite and, quite frankly, make you feel like a failure when you don't accomplish them.
That's why I believe in goals.
Goals guide you in the direction you want to head in and allow you to enjoy the process. However, the hardest part can be knowing where to start. So, here are a few goals I've set for myself this next year that may help get you started:
1. Reduce How Much Junk Mail I Receive
Everytime I open my mailbox, it's overflowing with junk mail.
I have no idea who thought it was a good idea, but I'm sick of it. Not only is it annoying, but it causes so much unnecessary waste. It wasn't until recently that I realized that I can actually stop this.
One of my friends suggested that I can leave a note and talk to my mailman to stop dropping off junk mail. I've never done it before. But it's simple, so I plan to do this very soon.
(seriously I'm sick of it)
2. Rely Less On My Car
Granted, my car isn't in the best shape. However I find so much comfort in being able to have my own car. It's like my second home.
However, relying on my car so much has a big cost. Each year approximately 1.7 billion tons of greenhouse gases are released due to highway car emissions. There are many ways that I can help reduce this. So, this year I want to carpool and utilize public transit.
3. Decrease My Grocery Shopping Waste
In the past few months, I've attempted to reduce the amount of waste created from my grocery shopping habits. It's so easy for me to grab frozen and prepackaged food for the sake of convenience throughout my week. However, the volume of waste I'm creating really adds up.
Some easy ways to prevent that is by bringing my own reusable bags and jars as well as visiting stores (including farmer's markets!) that offer zero waste options. I frequently turn to trashisfortossers 's Youtube channel and other websites for more tips.
I haven't gotten into the full rhythm yet, but I'm getting there.
4. Bring My Own Reusable Containers and Cups
This is what each morning looks like for me: making a cup of coffee in one of my mugs to take on the road.
In the past few months I've begun to be more mindful of bringing reusable containers and cups with me when I go out. For example, I carry around my own mug when I make my own coffee, go to a coffee shop, and even go to church. And I make sure to only use reusable containers and utensils when I bring my own food.
However, I tend to forget them if I want to buy food or when I'm out and about. My goal is to have at least one reusable container in either my car or purse when I know I will be running around for the day.
5. Continue making Zero-Waste Swaps
Last year, I avidly looked for zero-waste versions of my everyday staples. A few of those included switching to a bamboo toothbrush, silk floss, natural deodorant, mason jars for bulk ingredients, etc.
However, this year I want to replace my makeup, paper towels, and hair products for sustainable options. I'm going to keep looking out for more, but I want to make sure that I only buy what I need and be mindful of the products I choose.
6. Learn how to Compost
Composting scares me.
I think this feeling mainly comes from the fact that it seems so foreign to me. I've always lived in a city and not once come across a home with a composter. However in the past few months I've learned how important composting is to divert food waste from landfills and methane from our atmosphere.
Yesterday was actually the first time I ever attempted composting when I dropped off my scraps at Whole Foods*. It was way easier than I had imagined, so I will definitely try that more.
*side note: I don't think all Whole Foods do this. But keep asking around, you'd be surprised at who will actually take them if you prefer not to do your own compost*
7. Eat Less Animal Products
I recently had a conversation with one of my followers, where I addressed the fact that I'm not vegan. She was pretty upset with me; however, I understand where she is coming from.
Our livestock industry is very harmful to both animals and the environment. There is an immense amount of abuse towards the animals, chemicals pumped into the food, and pollution created from the industry.
I completely understand that veganism is the most sustainable diet out there. However, it's a personal choice of mine not to cut animal products out completely. Instead I will limit the amount I consume to lessen the harm. So this next year, I want to have a more plant-based diet, use animal products to complement my meal rather than be the main focus, and have days where I only consume vegan meals.
8. Go Zero Waste
Though all of my goals aim at a zero waste lifestyle, I haven't gone completely zero-waste. My journey so far has progressed towards less waste, but I want to attempt to go completely zero-waste weeks and months at a time. I know that this will be one of my more difficult challenges, but that it will be so rewarding.
9. Say "No"
Ask anyone who knows me: I'm a busy woman.
There are days where I'm running straight from class to a meeting to an appointment and forget to eat. Then I face this predicament where I'm forced to buy food on the go.
To-go orders from restaurants are one of the most infuriating experiences for me. Why do I need a million napkins, straws, utensils, boxes, etc.? I wish they would ask me first if I need all of those things instead of forcing them upon me.
However, I can say "no".
I started doing that at a local restaurant, and now they already know that I just want my burrito and nothing else. They are very kind and joke with me about it, but I love it. I need to do it more.
10. Be Mindful
A large part of living consciously is paying close attention to how your actions affect the environment, others, and yourself!
I have a hard time not over-packing my schedule and slowing down to take a breath. I always tell others how important self care is, yet I forget to do it myself. When I don't take care of myself, how can I take care of anything else?
For me, this looks like going to bed on time, reading a book before bed, spending more time in the park, praying in the morning, and doing some yoga.
Intentionality is key.
These are a few goals I've set for myself and I can't wait to see where these will lead me.
Also, I forgot to mention this next semester I'm taking a course called "Sustainability in Action". In this class i'll continue to be challenged to live more consciously, have discussions with people who are also passionate about the environment, and learn how to make our world more sustainable.
I'll make sure to keep you all updated and share what I learn.
Seriously, I can't wait!
What goals are you going to set?
Which ones have you already started?
Let me know!