I love the New Year! It’s the perfect time to look back and reflect on all the things accomplished during the year. And, of course, look forward to and plan out what the new year can be. About half of Americans take this time to make a New Year’s Resolution too. Most resolutions are all about self-improvement. But, with a little boost they can be about improving the planet too.
A good resolution to get started with is to drink more water instead of sugary or calorie filled beverages like soda or flavored coffees. Drinking more water helps keep your body hydrated and functioning well. If you’re feeling groggy or not as mentally sharp as other days, it could be because you’re actually dehydrated. More water also helps promote weight loss.
You can give this resolution a boost and make it healthier for the planet by committing to drink water from a reusable, refillable container like a tumbler or sports bottle. A single reusable water bottle can replace hundreds of plastic water bottles during the year. If you do use plastic bottles, be sure to commit to recycling them. Plastic bottles are easily recyclable in the curbside recycling program and county drop-off sites.
Another resolution you may want to start in 2017 is to walk or run outside more to stay fit or lose weight. Our community has multiple walking trails and parks that are accessible to the public year-round. Commit to walking once a week, then increase it to two or three times a week as you establish the new healthy habit.
Boost your resolution to walk outside by picking up litter (trash in the wrong place) while you’re walking. Take a small plastic bag with you to collect stray fast food cups, and other litter you may find. Place the trash in a park trash bin or take it home where you can put it in your trash cart. Picking up litter, even if it’s not yours, is a great way to keep the community and environment clean, healthy, and beautiful.
Another popular resolution is to save more money. There are many ways to save – clipping coupons, buying items only when they’re heavily discounted, or automatically moving money from checking to savings when you get a pay check. A not so obvious way to save is by improving the energy-efficiency of your home.
For example, as your traditional lightbulbs burn out replace them with the newer, and more energy-efficient LEDs and CFLs. Each of these types of bulbs convert more energy into light instead of heat which in turn is a waste of energy. Unplug appliances, like laptops and video game consoles, when they’re not being used to eliminate phantom power. Even after they are charges, if the devices are plugged in they are using power. Overtime you’ll see a savings on your electric bill just by making small changes.
Another way to save money is to invest in reusable products instead of single-use disposable items. For example, instead of buying plastic sandwich bags that get thrown away after one use, invest in a reusable plastic bin that can be washed and reused multiple times. Reusable plates, cloth napkins, and more may be expensive up front but will make up for the cost the more you use them.
Resolutions are basically goals. So, to make sure your resolution is successful this year use the goal setting acronym SMART. There are several variations of the acronym, but for our purposes write out a goal that is Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Rewarding, and Trackable. Post it somewhere you can see it every day.
For example, “I will lose five pounds in three months by exercising twice a week. If I complete the goal I will reward myself with a manicure at my favorite nail salon.” To track the goal, you can make a chart with a check-box for each day you will exercise.
The goal above is much better than a general goal like “I will lose weight this year.” Five pounds in three months is achievable, and more likely to get done as opposed to a nebulous goal with no clear ending. And, the reward is something to look forward to. Getting the reward indicates that you did it – you accomplished what you set out to do.