New Year’s Resolutions for 2017 – Hit the Reset Button

Red Reset Button

Making a New Year’s resolution or hitting the reset button on a previous resolution is a positive way to begin 2017, especially after a life-changing event.

Each January, I make a New Year’s resolution along with millions of other Americans. I look forward to it because I enjoy setting goals for myself and then trying to achieve them. January marks the beginning of a new year giving me the impetus I need to decide on my resolution and then begin working towards keeping it.

One survey shows that although 45% of Americans usually make a New Year’s resolution only about 8% actually fulfill them.1 Does this mean we are a nation of losers, underachievers, or poor performers? No, it makes us human. We do not always finish what we set out to do and sometimes life throws us a nasty curveball when we are not looking.

My curveball was breast cancer.

I know this may sound crazy or silly, but making a New Year’s resolution for 2017 is an important milestone for me. It is a small but significant act demonstrating that instead of well-meaning medical receptionists running my life, I am in the driver’s seat again and I am free to make my own big and small decisions.

Maybe, making a New Year’s resolution can help you on your road to recovery.

No New Year’s Resolutions in 2015 and 2016

In January 2015, I was contemplating several New Year’s resolutions including greening my personal care products, ridding our yard of invasive plant species, or learning about sustainable clothing.

Then, a phone call from my doctor changed everything. I can still clearly remember her voice saying, “You have invasive breast cancer.” I am one of the fortunate people whose cancer was treatable.

Having cancer derailed all my plans. I did not make a New Year’s resolution in 2015 and in 2016; it was not even on my radar screen.

Now, I am well and grateful to be back at the helm of my life.

My New Year’s Resolution for 2017

For 2017, I am hitting the reset button on a previous New Year’s resolution, eating a healthy diet.

In previous years, I had made and kept a series of New Year’s resolutions involving diet and exercise. As 2015 began, I was eating a healthy diet and walking at least two miles a day. My weight was good for my height and my knees had thanked me for lessening their load a little. I was in top form; well, except I had breast cancer.

In a shockingly short amount of time after beginning chemotherapy, my good eating and exercise habits became impossible to maintain. At one point during treatment, I could only drink my meals (smoothies and milkshakes) or eat very soft foods like bananas (I hate bananas now), mashed potatoes, and ice cream. Walking for five or ten minutes was the best I could do.

Fast forward through surgery and radiation treatment, I began walking more each day. Now, I am back to walking two miles a day and I can hike up a mountain again but at a slower pace than before I had cancer.

Getting back to a healthy diet was a stumbling block for me. Although I began eating well-balanced meals as soon as I could, I also indulged my food whims and cravings. This resulted in eating far too many calories and sweets. My knees let me know they do not appreciate the extra weight.

My New Year’s Resolution for 2017 is to dust off my healthy eating resolution from years past. I have a slight advantage over other New Year’s resolution makers because since I have accomplished this one in the past, I know I can do it again.

Your New Year’s Resolution for 2017

If you are recovering from your own life-changing event, maybe making a New Year’s resolution can help you start 2017 off in a positive way, too. Or, try hitting the reset button on a previously unfulfilled New Year’s resolution that you want to accomplish.

For readers who would like some help on establishing a realistic New Year’s resolution, consider reading the post entitled, New Year’s Resolution – Make it SMARTER. If you are interested in a green New Year’s resolution, there are links to several posts below that may give you some ideas.

Please encourage other readers by sharing your New Year’s resolution for 2017.

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References

  1. Statistic Brain – New Year’s Resolution Statistics, 12/11/16

10 Green New Year’s Resolutions for 2015

Let’s make our 2015 New Year’s resolutions green and easy to achieve. I propose we get started by heading off to our local grocery markets.

Line of Shopping Carts

Grocery markets are ideal venues for undertaking our New Year’s resolutions for several reasons. First, we already shop for groceries on a regular basis so will not need to squeeze another activity into our already busy schedules. Second, grocery shopping is a recurring task giving us plenty of opportunities to practice and reinforce our new habits. Third, grocery shopping involves making straightforward decisions like to buy or not buy a particular food or item, switch to a different product, or try something new.

10 Green New Year’s Resolutions We Can Accomplish at the Grocery Market

We grocery shoppers are more powerful than we may realize. Each time we buy or do not buy a product we contribute to the data pool that farmers, manufacturers, and retailers analyze and use to make decisions about what to grow, make, and sell.

When millions of people make a change, even a small one, it all adds up. Take organic food, for instance, once considered a niche market, organic food is now available at national grocery chain stores and even some big box retailers. In part, this is due to a few people requesting and buying organic food, then more people, then many people, and eventually millions of people.

Imagine the positive impact we can achieve if each one of us chooses one of the ten green New Year’s resolutions below and incorporates it into our weekly grocery shopping. We can cut carbon emissions and reduce waste, make healthier food choices and even save money.

New Year's Resolution - 2015 Happy New Year Sign and Target with Arrow in Bullseye

Avoid Aluminum

Making single-use disposable aluminum beverage cans is a wasteful application for a valuable material with a huge environmental impact. Since we are likely to buy beverages during each shopping trip, eliminating drinks that come in aluminum cans from our grocery lists is a green choice that keeps on giving week after week.

Bring Your Own Bags

Bringing our own reusable bags to the grocery market gives us an opportunity to be on the leading edge of a growing trend of people, municipalities, and even states saying no to single-use plastic bags, which are wasteful on so many levels. If we can remember to grab our wallets, we can remember our bags.

Reusable Shopping Bags of Various Styles and Sizes

Pass on Packaging

Skipping single serve packages, buying in bulk, and bringing our own reusable produce bags are just a few of the options available for cutting down on the amount of throwaway packaging we bring home and later toss in the trash or recycle bin. Recycling is a good habit, but not having a package to recycle is even better.

Opt for Organic

Opting for organic fruits and vegetables over their conventionally grown counterparts supports environmentally and people friendly farming practices. If millions of shoppers purchased just one organic fruit or vegetable a week, surely produce department managers across the country would take notice.

Organic Fruits, Vegetables, and Packaged Food Items

Recycled Fiber is all the Rage

Choosing paper goods like toilet paper, facial tissue, napkins, and towels made from 100% recycled paper fiber reduces deforestation. Selecting chlorine-free products is even better.

Soap Switch Up

Manufacturers have spent millions of dollars on advertising trying to convince us that we need to buy liquid soap in decorative plastic dispensers, even though it does not clean any better than bar soap. Spending less by switching to bar soap makes sense economically and environmentally.

Liquid Soap Dispenser and Stack of Bar Soap

Ban Bottled Water 

Bottled water is not an environmentally friendly product and recycling the plastic bottles, which few people do, does not make it so. Banning bottled water from our shopping carts is green and good for our wallets.

Look for Local

Looking for and buying locally and regionally produced foods cut carbon emissions by reducing the number of miles our food travels. Locally grown produce is fresher (often picked the day we buy it) so it will last longer in our fridges and fruit bowls. Trying new local food products instead of buying our usual national brands can be fun and tasty too.

Grocery Market Locally Grown Produce Section

Fair Trade Fan

Purchasing fair trade products ensures farmers receive a fair price for the food they grow like cacao beans, coffee beans, and bananas. Farmers receiving fair trade certification are required to follow eco-friendly and sustainable agricultural practices, making buying fair trade products good for people and the planet.

Make More Meals Meatless

Buying less meat (especially beef) is perhaps the greenest New Year’s resolution we can accomplish at the grocery market. Growing grain for livestock feed and raising animals for meat has an enormous environmental footprint, which is growing as more people around the world eat more meat. Implementing meatless Mondays is an easy way to remember to eat less meat but any meal or day will work.

Hopefully, you found at least one of the above New Year’s resolution ideas appealing and decided to go for it. To increase your chances of success keep it simple, specific, and doable. For instance, make a resolution to buy bar soap for your shower, switch to recycled fiber toilet paper, or make one dinner a week meatless.

Let’s do it!

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Green Investing — New Year’s Resolution

I suspect there are many people like me who’ve thought about green investing but done nothing about it. Let’s make 2014 the year we green our 401k, savings, investment, IRA, and stock accounts.

Green Investing - Green Dollar SignsGreen investing is the practice of investing in companies or projects focused on business sectors such as renewable energy, clean water, alternative transportation, eco-friendly consumer products, and sustainable food. It doesn’t matter if we have hundreds, thousands, or millions of dollars, we can all participate in green investing.

New Year’s Resolution

My spouse and I had been talking about greening our retirement investments for a few years but hadn’t taken any action to move the ball forward. Greening our investments seemed a daunting task. As the daily money handler, family record keeper, and a former project manager, a green investing project would naturally land on my plate, at least as far as leading the effort. I admit I wasn’t jumping up and down volunteering to take on the project.

As 2013 rolled to a close, we reviewed the green projects we had completed and considered which ones to put our list for 2014. Green investing came up, again. It was time to either tackle it or acknowledge green investing just wasn’t a priority for us. We decided 2014 was the year. I agreed to act as the green investing project manager.

I opted to make greening our retirement investments my New Year’s resolution. Last week I wrote a post entitled A New Take on the Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions for 2014 in which I proposed we each commit to one personal goal and a companion goal to benefit the greater good. I figured I’d better walk my own talk so added a companion goal that we’ll contribute to a green project, nonprofit, or social business.

As one of my strategies to help keep me on track, I’ve chosen to chronicle our green investing journey on this blog. I’ll write periodic posts to share our progress and what we’ve learned. I hope readers will find the information useful and will share their own ideas and tips.

The Journey Begins

“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.”

— Lewis Carroll

Question Mark Pointing in Many Different DirectionsMy family will say I’m a planning kind of gal and perhaps a tiny bit fanatical when it comes to money. We needed a goal and a road map so I reread a post I wrote last year about how to make SMARTER New Year’s resolutions. SMARTER is a useful acronym for establishing achievable goals.

After conducting a SMARTER review of my New Year’s resolution, I found that we are currently on Lewis Carroll’s journey to anywhere. Below are my findings:

  • Specific – “green our retirement investments” is way too general. We need to define what we are trying to achieve. For instance, do we want to allocate a certain percentage of our funds for green investing, buy stock in a clean tech company, or divest from fossil fuels?
  • Measurable –  measure what?
  • Relevant –  we’re already committed to taking actions to help keep earth habitable for our children and future generations so green investing is relevant to us.
  • Attainable –  attain what?
  • Time-bound –  2014 is our overall time frame but we’ll need milestones to check our progress.
  • Enlist –  my spouse and I will support each other in accomplishing our goal. In addition, I’ve enlisted help to stay energized and accountable by committing to share our progress on this blog.
  • Reward – interim rewards will be appropriate after we actually make some progress.

As it turned out the SMARTER review was an easy and useful exercise. Now I have a few ideas about how to get started.

Getting Started

When in doubt, collect data.

I decided we need some data and established a few mini-goals to be completed by the end of February 2014.

  1. Goal Completion - Dart Board with Dart in BullseyeCollect and review our retirement investments with my spouse.
  2. Conduct online research about green investing for at least 1 hour a week, starting this week.
  3. Contact a fee-only financial planner with green investment expertise and make an appointment.

Stay tuned to find out how we did on our first three mini-goals.

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