10 Green New Year’s Resolutions for 2013

If you are like millions of Americans, you have either made or will make a New Year’s resolution for 2013. This year make your resolution a green one. Try one of the following 10 green New Year’s Resolutions or come up with your own.

BYORWB

Just say NO to bottled water and bring your own reusable water bottle (BYORWB) wherever you go.

CSA Organic StrawberriesSupport Your Local Farmer

Become a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) member or purchase a CSA share. Enjoy delicious, healthy, fresh-picked, seasonal produce and other products while getting to know and support a local farmer or two. Up the ante and buy organic.

Kick the Bag Habit

If you have not already converted to reusable bags for grocery marketing and shopping, there is no time like the present. Then the next time you are asked the question, “paper or plastic?” You can proudly say, “Neither” and whip out your reusable bags.

Engage in Efficiency

Tackle an energy or water efficiency project or two. Install a programmable thermostat (or learn to use the one you have) then set it at 68°F in the winter and 78°F in summer. Seal air leaks in your home yourself or ask someone else to help you do it. Save water and money by installing a low-flow showerhead in every shower in your home.

You Can Compost

Stainless Steel Compost PailGo outside your comfort zone and start composting. With a small investment and a few minutes a day you will be astonished at how much waste is diverted from your garbage disposal and trash can. There are many rewards. You can reduce waste, water, and energy, nurture your garden (or someone else’s), learn new things, and feel a sense of accomplishment for taking positive action. Even squeamish people, like me, can compost.

What’s Fair is Fair

Use your buying power to promote equality in trade and safeguard the environment. Make a choice to switch one or more items you normally buy to a brand that carries the Fair Trade label.

Pedometer with Tape Measure10,000 Steps

You know walking is good for the environment and good for you so as the saying goes “just do it.” If you are not used to walking much then set an interim goal of say 3,000 steps a day and work up to 10,000 or more. An inexpensive pedometer will help you keep track of your steps.

Brown is Beautiful

Start buying unbleached (yes brown or beige) napkins, paper towels, facial tissue, and toilet paper made with recycled paper fibers with minimum packaging that is made from recycled material. Try various brands until you find one that meets your standards for quality and price. Better yet stop buying paper towels, napkins, and facial tissue and switch to their reusable counterparts.

Shop Smart

Everything we buy uses resources and impacts the environment during production, transportation, storage, distribution, disposal, and even recycling. Make a pledge to yourself to shop smart by thinking twice before you buy more stuff.

Pay It Forward

Action Clapboard - Call to ActionTake action. Get the word out. Share your knowledge. Engage your family and friends in dialogue about green topics. Talk with your boss and coworkers. Work on green projects. Begin a blog. Write or call your local, state, and national elected officials. Make a video or podcast and post it online. Create a website. Join and participate in a green organization or start your own.

The New Year is a time for new beginnings so what better way to start off the New Year than taking personal action to adopt a sustainable way of living, working, and sharing the earth.

Already living a green, people and planet friendly lifestyle? Tackle a challenging green project you have been putting off.

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New Year’s Resolution — Make it SMARTER

2013 Calendar Showing January 1Every year, millions of people make New Year’s resolutions. This year make a SMARTER resolution you actually want to and will accomplish.

A New Year’s resolution is typically a year-long individual commitment to make a positive change. Popular resolutions include improve health, get out of debt, change jobs, volunteer, take a trip, and self-development.

Success Rate

How many people actually keep their New Year’s resolution and achieve their goal? Statistic Brain summarized the findings of a University of Scranton Journal of Clinical Psychology 12/13/2012 publication. Two highlights are listed below.

  • 39% of people in their 20s versus 14% of people over 50 achieve their resolution.
  • 75% of people maintain their resolution through the 1st week64% past 1 month, and 46% past 6 months.

Planning for Success

The adage “failing to plan is planning to fail” is often attributed to Benjamin Franklin. He had a good point; planning probably enhances one’s ability to succeed. Another success factor is to establish a specific and realistic goal.

Businesses are very fond of goals and have devised many tools around goal setting. I like the SMART acronym and have added 2 additional letters to create SMARTER goals.

  • Specific – you need to know what you are trying to accomplish and why and be able to determine whether you did it or not.
  • Measurable – you should be able to quantitatively or qualitatively measure goal progress and completion. Depending on the goal you may need a way to record and track progress.
  • Attainable – the goal should be a stretch but attainable. If it is too difficult, you may become discouraged and quit. If it is too easy, you may not feel a sense of accomplishment when the goal is completed. It should be your goal, not someone else’s.
  • Relevant – be clear on how the goal ties into your life.
  • Time-bound – establish interim milestones and target dates. Achieving milestones confirms you are on track. Not achieving them provides an opportunity to revisit your goal and determine why you are not making progress and then take action.
  • Enlist – to help you stay energized and accountable, tell others about your goal and enlist their support. Ask a family member or friend, join an in-person group, or connect with like-minded individuals via social media.
  • Reward – celebrate progress along the way with appropriate rewards. It’s fun and looking forward to a reward can help maintain enthusiasm especially if you experience a setback.

New Year’s Resolution Example

“My spouse wants me to improve my health so I can hike with my family. My spouse says I need to eat more fruit and vegetables so I will try.”

Versus

“I want to improve my health so I can hike with my family. Currently, I only eat fruit and vegetables maybe once a day (do French fries count?). My goal is to increase my fruit and vegetable intake to 5-7 servings a day by year-end. I will increase my fruit and vegetable intake by a minimum of 1 serving per day each quarter. I’ll track what I eat and keep my friends up to date on my progress via a food diary app on my smartphone. After I have eaten at least 2 servings of fruit and vegetables a day for a month, I’ll reward myself with a reusable water bottle and holder to take on hikes.”

Just like business goals, personal goals may need tweaking and sometimes the original goal needs to be retired and a new goal established. Remember it’s your New Year’s Resolution.

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