By: Monica Weintraub">Maria Casey
In all honesty, we’re completely over having generic New Year’s resolutions that require massive lifestyle changes like eliminating gluten or saving $10,000 in a year.
It’s clear that when you start to make little, impactful changes, those big resolutions just seem to fall into place and act as the cherry on top of what our small, sustainable New Year’s resolutions initially were set out to be.
Our belief is that our aspirations shouldn’t be made to appease to strangers. They should be tailored to what truly makes us and the planet healthier.
We know. We’re getting all woo-woo on you.
But the fact is, when we take on a sustainable life, we buy less, eat less, need less, and use less, which ultimately reduces our stress and helps us be happier in our personal and professional relationships.
It’s an undeniably positive snowball effect.
It’s true that we’re imperfect and that amount of food, plastics, time, money, and energy we’ve personally wasted is incalculable. But the simple, overall goal is to just try to be better.
In an effort to help you take on a slow, impactful lifestyle, try to choose one or two of our 8 Low-Commitment, Sustainable New Year’s Resolutions to facilitate in making you a better you for the start of a new decade.
Cotton swab abuser? Wet wipe junkie? Plastic bottle connoisseur?
We’re guilty of all three. Choose one and ditch it.
Much like dieting, we can’t imagine giving up all of our favorite conveniences at once. It’s a sure-fire way to get overwhelmed and just give up your new resolution entirely. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with starting by taking out one wasteful item and working in the others at your own pace.
You could be well on your way to zero waste by 2021.
Much like choosing just one polluting product to part ways with, think of something you buy from a big box store regularly and see if you can find a local swap, like a bar of really good chocolate or fair-trade coffee.
We’ve gone on and on about why it’s important to shop local or B-Corp, but we also know that these items come at a much higher price. Try it out once a month and see how it makes you feel. If buying local works with your budget and schedule, you’re doing more for the planet than you realize.
It just so happens that whenever we wear second-hand clothes, people tend to compliment our ‘fits more. Sure, it takes more time to sift through racks at your local thrift store or clothing exchange, but it’s also something that can easily be converted into a hobby or even a career with apps like DePop.
Oftentimes you get higher quality clothing for less than the price of new fast fashion. And who doesn’t like having the most unique wardrobe of their friends? Call us vein, but if we can look good while living sustainably, we’ll take it.
Hate shopping altogether?
Great. This is the easiest way to live sustainably all year long. Consumerism is overwhelming. There’s always that new thing we “need” to buy or huge sale we just can’t miss.
Unless you absolutely need it, skip it or just simply see how long you can go without it. Baby steps.
If you’ve ever lived in a foreign country, you know that many of the conveniences you’re used to having at your fingertips aren’t easily accessible to you anymore. Some view this as a downside, but for us, it was an opportunity to try our hand at being the creators of what we love.
Shoot your shot at recreating your favorite snack, skincare product, or houseware item. You might even find that people love your version more, resulting in that side hustle you always dreamed of.
Much like buying less, this one’s free.
Just simply be aware.
We say this a lot, and it’s undoubtedly easier said than done. But when you know what is wasteful and what isn’t, you’re a part of the solution.
Similarly to understanding the nutrition facts of your favorite IPA or baked goods, you can make a more educated decision as to how much you consume and the frequency in which you consume it.
Knowledge of brands, actions, and people who choose to partake in the sustainability movement helps you make better day-to-day decisions.
Start slow and incorporate more when you can.
Oh, how we miss living in a walkable and bike-friendly city. The amount we saved on gas and ride share’s helped us accumulate wealth without even trying.
We know this option isn’t convenient for everyone, but when you can carpool, walk, or bike your most common routes, you reap the benefits of an eco-friendly life, saved money, and health goals being met.
Three birds, one stone.
We had the privilege of hearing Arianna Huffington speak at the 2018 #GIRLBOSS Rally in Brooklyn.
If there’s anything we took from that busy day, it was when she said, “‘No.’ is a complete sentence.”
Let 2020 be your opportunity to refuse stuff. Whether it be plans you don’t really want to attend, a receipt you’re just going to toss in the trash, or extra food you might not necessarily need to consume.
Permitting yourself to refuse is a subtle form of both self-care and activism, two things you’ve likely been looking to incorporate into your routine.
We really can’t imagine trying to take on more than one or two of these, so move slow. Maybe your sustainable New Year’s Resolution could even be to try one resolution a month. But in a culture of fast food, fast fashion, and fast cars, be the one who takes their time and does things right.
Which of these Sustainable New Year’s Resolutions have you tried? Which would you recommend to a friend or family member who’s got a problem with waste?
Let us know in the comments below. Happy Holidays, Slacktivists. See you in 2020.