Like most eager resolution-makers, I rarely succeed in keeping any of my lofty goals past January. I did not manage to “Write a Novel” or “Refresh my German Skills” last year, and I still haven’t set foot inside a gym since 2012 despite my vow to “Exercise Three Times a Week.”
Instead of continuing this embarrassingly futile tradition, I’ve decided to change the way I approach resolutions. I want my goals for 2017 to be attainable and sustainable for the environment – and my wallet.
Each small step I take in the direction of living a more ethical lifestyle will help shape my actions and intentions for years to come, which will mean much more than simply crossing a bullet point off my list.
Here are my goals for 2017:
1. Waste Less
I have a penchant for paper plates and plastic bottles, so this year I’m aiming to cut down on my carbon footprint. Instead of burning through rolls of paper towels, I’ll opt for washable kitchen towels. I’ll ditch the plastic water bottles for reusable ones, and carry coffee from home in a Keep Cup (though I still plan on supporting independent coffee shops frequently!) Instead of ordering pizza for the second time that week just because I’m craving it, I’ll save my leftovers and eat what I have in the fridge. Forming these new habits will take a lot of discipline and training, but I’ll save money and natural resources all year long.
2. Cook Often
Takeaway is my number one go-to, even when I have the time to make something myself. This year, I’m planning on cooking more often so that I can verify the sources of the ingredients and save money by bringing my own lunches to work. I just moved into a new home that has a weekend market within walking distance, so I plan on supporting local farmers and businesses by buying my produce, eggs, bread, and other goods from their stalls whenever possible.
It’s no secret – much of my free-time is spent idly (big shout-outs to YouTube, Tumblr, and Netflix!) This year, I plan on researching non-profit organisations and offering them my time, services, and resources. Perhaps I can provide one-on-one tutoring for refugees or brighten the day of a child in need. My partner and I are even thinking of sponsoring a child through World Vision or UNICEF using money we’ll save by wasting less at home. Two great places to get inspiration are Volunteering Australia and Volunteering New Zealand.
4. Shop Smarter
As a major makeup junkie, I vow to purchase only cruelty-free cosmetics this year. Some of my past favourite brands unfortunately test on animals, and I don’t want to encourage the practice through my purchases. I plan on only browsing brands that I can trust are cruelty-free so that I’m not tempted to cave on a lipstick I should avoid. When it comes to clothing and accessories, I want to purchase items that rate ‘Good’ or ‘Great’ in the Good On You app. I’ve made the mistake of accumulating cheap clothing with questionable origin, and as part of my wardrobe makeover, I want to eventually replace the clothing I have with quality pieces.
5. Stay Informed
I’ve always loved reading, but I often skip the dense, important pieces in favour of light articles. This year, I want to read all I can – tough political pieces included. The more I read about current events and engage in all forms of written and spoken word, the more likely I am to do what I can for others and the environment. I plan on making reading a substantial part of my everyday routine. This shortlist of ground-breaking books which expose the realities of the fashion industry will be a great place to start!
I know it’ll still be a struggle to keep every resolution I’ve made for the New Year, but I’m glad that each step I take in the right direction makes a difference, however small. Each moment we have grants us the option to make a better choice.
So the real goal for 2017? Make mores sustainable choices more often.
Have you made any resolutions that encourage a sustainable lifestyle? Share your goals for 2017 below!
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Julia McAlpine is a freelance copywriter and editor born in sunny California and based in equally sunny Sydney. She can’t pass a bookstore without browsing, and drinks far more coffee than the recommended daily intake. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram as @inkandmoon
Editor’s note: This article was updated by Kendall Benton-Collins.
Images via Unsplash.