A lot of folks start off the year with resolutions–a desire to do better. But instead of making this a once a year idea, how about daily, small resolutions that are easier to accomplish. There are some simple ones that can make everything about your life more sustainable–and that means more enjoyable.
1-Reduce with one item. Every day look for small ways to do less or use less. Maybe take a ceramic coffee cup into work so you don’t have to use disposable cups. Give away those jeans that don’t fit so you have less stuff around. Instead of buying a present, give a plant or flowers. Little steps go a long way to making you feel better about yourself and the world.
2-Postpone a purchase for that day. Every day, look at your expenses and see if you can do with one less “thing” or purchase. Less spending means not just an easier time on your pocket book, but also you’ve got one less item crowding your space.
3-When you do buy something new, give away something old. We usually do this with big items–you trade in your old car when you get a new one. But try this with smaller items, too. If you really do need that new pair of jeans, instead of adding it to your wardrobe, give away an old pair. If you really want to cut down on all the things that own you, give away two items for every one you buy.
4-Do one thing every day to make the world nicer. Buy a packet of flower seeds and scatter them near a stop sign. Build a small bee-watering hole (just put colored glass into a shallow bird bath). Call a friend you have spoken to in a long time and chat for five or ten minutes. Re-gift a gift to a friend of something that friend has admired.
5-Turn off the lights and TV for a quiet evening. Sit and enjoy the sunset with a favorite drink (a glass of wine or a cup of tea). You’ll be using less power and enjoying your life more.
6-Buy local for the day. For one day–maybe even one weekend–look at what you do buy and see if you can find a local shop that you can support. Maybe it’s a gift from a local artist, or maybe it’s locally produced cheese, or a visit to the farmer’s market. Buying local creates sustainable communities.
7-Go shopping in a local thrift store. Next time you need a new sweater or coat or just want a new outfit, make your first stop the nearest thrift store. Give yourself time to browse and enjoy. Reusing items not only helps create a sustainable economy but can also benefit a local charity.
8-Donate your time. We’re all busy–but make an appointment with yourself to donate a couple of hours to a local charity that you really like. Maybe it’s just a Saturday morning with Habitat for Humanity helping to build a house. Maybe it’s a day at a senior center, visiting seniors. Maybe it’s stopping by a local pet rescue to play with pets awaiting adoption. Or maybe it’s just some time to help a charity feed the hungry. Pick something that will make you feel better about yourself and the world.
9-Take ten minutes for yourself. A sustainable life means one that lasts–and that means you want good health. Take a ten minute walk away from work. Take ten minutes to sit on a park bench and watch kids play. Take ten minutes to visit a nursery in the spring. Turn off your phone and give yourself ten minutes to just relax.
10-Eat a home-cooked meal. You may not be a great chef, but give yourself the treat of a simple, home-cooked meal. Do this after a visit to the farmer’s market with fresh produce–or if you’re a terrible cook, offer to pick up the produce and have a friend cook the meal.
And if none of these appeal to you, think up one thing you might be able to do for a more sustainable life–one thing once a day adds up to a whole lot done over the year.