Most New Year’s resolutions focus on the self, with the three most popular being the rather predictable ‘exercise more’, ‘lose weight’ and ‘eat healthier’. It’s no surprise that most resolutions fail by February because any personal changes need personal motivation. We will only stick with exercise and healthy eating if we enjoy it and tailor it to our lifestyle. Whilst January can be a great time for a re-boot, you are not going to change your lifestyle over night. Let’s assume you are happy with your current lifestyle anyway; you already eat healthily, do yoga and look fabulous, so how do you make resolutions more meaningful?
New Year resolutions normally focus inwards but what if we focus outwards? How about making resolutions for ethical living? Resolutions that make an impact beyond ourselves and build on those tiny actions that make the world a better place. They are our kind of resolutions. Small resolutions that alter our everyday routines can become long-term habits for good, so long as we know why we are making the change.
According to this NY Times article, resolutions should be SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. Here are some ethical ideas to get you started on your SMART journey. It’s not about doing everything; we need to be realistic. But it is about doing something.
- We know about Meat Free Monday, but how about adopting Plastic Free Friday? Plastic pollution gained plenty of public attention in 2018; it’s time to take the next step and cut back on the single use plastic. One day at a time.
- Look for fair trade products whenever possible. The co-op has the largest range of Fairtrade certified food and drink products, making it easy to swap out your coffee, chocolate and wine to Fairtrade alternatives.
- Change your energy provider. It has never been easier to swap to green energy.
- Choose to give only ethical gifts during 2019. Not only does this mean you give a gift to the producer/planet but also helps spread the message to others that we can shop in a more responsible way.
- Make a conscious effort to cut your water use by 10% (or as much as you can). Most water companies now offer metered water use, making it easy to track and compare your water footprint. The whole family can get involved with this game!
- Can you offer any of your time for volunteering? Do-it advertise a wide range of opportunities and they don’t necessarily need to be a regular commitment. If you have professional skills in something like accounting or marketing you could give a lot to a charity by just offering a few hours a month.
- The British government launched a review into the sustainability of the fast fashion industry in 2018. Indeed the fashion industry is the second largest polluter in the world. You can help by limiting your consumption of new clothes. Maybe 2019 is the year you re-discover charity shops, or host a clothes swap.
- Next time you need new curtains or bird food, support your local independent shops rather than heading straight to the computer.
- You can make an impact just by asking questions. Whether you are buying a new pair of shoes or brunch in your local café, ask the staff where they source their products from and how they are made.
- Take action on your beauty regime. Hunt down organic, natural products and replace plastic packaging with alternatives when possible, like this solid shampoo bar.
Let us know how you get on. We’d love to hear about your successes!