Resolution Revolution

Having spoken about how hard it can be to make a change, I’ve been reflecting and have decided to make loads of them heading into 2019! The end of the year is often a time for self-reflection, and rather than waiting for the bloated self-loathing induced resolutions that stem from the gap between Christmas and New Year, I’ve decided for 2019 I am going to get an early start in!

That’s not strictly true, as although I’m trying to ease in the changes a month ahead of time so I’m familiar with them by the Christmas holidays, some of the others are waiting until January 1st (mostly the ones that require willpower around food and drink - the mulled wine is getting its first outing tomorrow and I’m not quite ready to sacrifice all the yummy Christmas food and drinks just yet)!

As I’m a bit early, feel free to message any suggestions for other resolutions I could do, or what your New Year promises to yourself will be.

Some of these resolutions are a bit simple, some of them are building on things that I’m already doing, and some are things that I’ve realised I can do as I’ve looked back on the changes I’ve made in the last year, and looked forward to the exciting land of opportunity that is 2019!

2018 has been manic. We’ve made some huge life changes, and that culminated in Kat starting Kalleco just over six months ago. The last six months has been such a huge learning curve for both of us (and I’ve constantly been amazed at the resourcefulness, passion and talent of my beautiful wife). Since then, thinking about living a more eco friendly life has gone from being something I did frequently to something that happens everyday, and that’s why I’ve been reflecting so much in the last few weeks.

Here’s the list...

Notepad and pen at the ready to start writing those New Year resolutions.

1. Carry a bag all the time

This is a case of practising what I preach… I’ve always been one of those people who keeps everything I need in my jeans pockets. I’ve even been known to squeeze whatever book I’m reading into my back pocket. I do almost always have a tote bag stuffed away in one of my jeans pockets, but my refillable bottles don’t fit without giving me really weird bulges. Straws fit in my pocket and don’t mean I have to walk uncomfortably, but it’s still not a perfect solution.

When I remember, I have a great little bag. It’s not even a Joey from Friends ‘murse’ that would make people laugh at me (also, if I did have one of those, who cares when it’s about saving the environment). But this is an ingrained habit I want to change. I leave the house and have reached the train or bus station before I have even realised I’ve left the bag at home.

Having my bag with me means I can carry my book, my refillable bottle, my refillable coffee cup, my bag and straws (without testing the limits of my trousers), and anything else I fancy. I’m going to write BAG on my keys in big letters, so I see it whenever I’m locking up, and I remember to pick it up.

2. Have fewer clothes

Don’t panic, I’m not planning on wearing fewer clothes, I’m planning on owning fewer… This is a recent thing, but I did a wardrobe sort and realised how I rarely wear some of my clothes. This is wasteful, and I’ve decided to think more about the environmental impact of what I wear.

Most of my things are cotton, or natural materials, but I’ve still got some artificial materials, particularly in my sports gear. This is another plastic pollutant but it’s really hard to avoid. That said I’m not going to buy any new ones, and I’m only going to buy essential items to reduce my overall footprint. 

3. Consume less

This looks like the classic lose some weight after Christmas resolution, but it’s not (although that is also an aim - being 35 means I can’t eat like I’m 25 anymore). I have previously mentioned how I’m cutting down on my consumerist urges, and I guess my fewer clothes resolution is an extension of that.

Kat and I both like nice things, but we don’t need a lot of the things that we have. We are both going to make an extra effort to not buy things for the sake of it when out shopping, and in fact to not go shopping when there’s nothing that we need. 

4. Be more money wise

This one doesn’t have as much to do with eco-living, but I’m writing it up here anyway. This is because it’s super important to me and so by putting it up here I’m 100% committed.

I’ve already started keeping a monthly budget, writing down what I’m spending so I can work out where to make savings (so far - food and drink - quelle surprise)...

It has already made me more aware of what I’m doing, and it links nicely with my other resolutions. Having them interconnected will hopefully help keep a virtuous circle of good behaviour going. And actually, that does link it to eco-living, so I haven’t even meandered off topic, which makes me feel super smug as I write it down. 

5. Be more active

This is something I used to be better at but recently (for about the last five years) I’ve found too much work and not enough play makes Joe a lazy boy. I’ve got a smart watch, and I have competitions with my sister to see who can take the most steps, but that’s not enough. As the year goes on I’m going to try making sure I walk more places, and maybe even run to some of them.

I’m also going to start going to the gym with my lovely wife. I’ve always been quite solitary in my gym habits. I put my resting grumpy face on, crank up the angry tunes and zone out. At the moment that’s not getting me there enough so what better motivation than spending time with someone I love. 

6. Worry less

So I don’t mean that I’m going to worry less about big things; plastic pollution, major life events and why the world seems to be going completely mad. But I do mean that I’m going to try to be more “zen” and not sweat the small stuff.

Stress is not a good companion, and when I’ve got it reduced I sleep better, eat better, and generally am a better person!

I’m working on controlling my inner chimp (see last blog), and it is making a difference. Fewer angry words, fewer sleepless nights, happy monkey and me. 

7. Cook from scratch

Pre-packed food is one of the worst culprits for creating virgin plastic - plastic that contains no recycled material, that there is (thankfully) now talk about taxing. Although I already avoid ready meals and try not to buy pre-packaged food, it is sometimes hard.

Cooking from scratch is also loads healthier and I really enjoy it. But if Kat’s out laziness takes over again and I’ll have something super basic. This is going to change!

8. Reduce screen time

Again, not exactly an eco-resolution, but one that can make a difference to reducing worry and stress. The instinct to pull the phone out of the pocket can mess up your sleep as the blue light and over-stimulation are not good for a brain that needs rest.

In addition, binge watching the latest series of whatever, is time that could be spent chatting, or reading a book (I want to read more books as well). 

9. Do something scary

Finally, this one is a bit of a secret for now, but I’m planning on doing something super scary in the coming year. A complete jump into the unknown. 

Why not? If not now, when? Ever thought about making a change but been too scared? I’ve decided to firmly commit to putting my money where my mouth is and do something, which hopefully, will improve my life and make me and those around me very happy.

Sticking to them

I’ve already spoken about sticking to changes in a previous blog but as we’re coming to the time of year when people are most likely to be thinking about what they are going to change from January 1st, I thought I would look at what the professionals had to say about keeping your resolution. Those clever folks over at Harvard University in the USA have come up with a checklist here of how to keep your resolution and make the changes you’ve been longing to. Below is a summary with my thoughts on the advice:

  • Dream big… I loved it when I read this. Kat’s always telling me to make small, attainable changes and gradually make them a part of my life, but I love making a big statement goal and a huge change…  
  • Break big dreams into small-enough steps… I should have known that she was always right! Although thinking about it this is already the approach I take at work. Sometimes I’ll even write a couple of extra quick sub-jobs on to an already overflowing to-do list, just to give the satisfaction and get the momentum from ticking them off!
  • Understand why you shouldn’t make a change… This is often overlooked I think. People only give up vices like smoking, drinking, overeating if they really want to, and to do that you need to give it some serious thought. If you don’t want to give up the bad thing because of the pleasure you get from it, you won’t.
  • Commit yourself… Making a verbal or written promise makes you more likely to stick to it. You don’t want to let people down once you’ve made that commitment, and I guess I’ve done that here!
  • Give yourself a medal… Rewards for staying on track and for doing things well can be a powerful motivator. I’m still to decide what these are going to be, so any suggestions let us know!
  • Learn from the past… I am constantly telling students at school to do this, but I don’t listen to it often enough myself! Every attempt is a lesson learnt and if you fail and learn from it you’ll improve.
  • Give thanks for what you do… As I’ve said in a previous blog don’t be too hard on yourself if you slip up. One mistake does not mean you have to start again, nor does it mean you’re a bad person. Nobody’s perfect so just give it your best.

  • 1 comment

    • Very inspirational. It made me think about my New Year resolutions. We always think about what we should give up but it seems to make more sense to consider what we can do to improve health, happiness and the environment. ‘Dream Big’ but in small achievable steps – what a lovely resolution.

      Rosemary Amiri

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