January resolutions become everyone’s mantra after spending the whole previous year making goals and to some extent failing to stick with these goals, this is pretty normal because we as humans learn more when we try more – even failure shows at least we are trying. Talking about new resolutions, have we ever thought of doing something different this year? In other words rather than planning to buy a new car, house and expensive holidays do we think about simple things in our life such as helping the environment, cutting down energy uses and adopting sustainability!
Our environment is changing rapidly and so are our lives. Ever increasing health issues, stress and most importantly changes in weather affecting our lives every day. We need to join hands to protect ourselves and this beautiful earth from these dramatically rising issues because we humans gave birth to these issues, therefore we need to rise up to guard against these damaging problems.
This quote explains reality “A resolution is only truly sustainable (successful) if it serves a bigger purpose”. However many times we feel ourselves deviating from those bigger purposes , we give up too quick without thinking that consistency is an essential ingredient of success. In addition, we see our motivation fading away gradually (in some cases dramatically) to face big challenges because we only think that those problems are too big. So here comes the question, how can we really change when we find our self with a lack of motivation and energy to make change?
Here I argue that to be able to focus on our resolutions we need to begin focus on ourselves. It is enormously important that we start thinking, to be among those people that can make real change at personal and bigger level. It’s not possible to make change while we feel stressed, exhausted and unhealthy already.
In the majority of cases, New Year’s resolutions are likely to be big and we promise our self to stay on it longer than we did last year. To a great extent and realistically we repeat this process every year! We find our self adhering to these promises for a short period, but have we ever thought about having small but effective goals? In other words rather than trying to make extreme changes which last within days or weeks, we should make tiny and effective goals which last longer.
So here are some different but effective New Year’s resolutions that can help us to gain healthy life and can stop degradation of environment.
(1) Take your bicycle out of the shed. People who re-start cycling to work and/or the supermarket often say that it’s lovely to rediscover their area that way. This could be the most relaxing resolution you take! It also helps you to stay fit and saves money and time of going into the gym (only if you are too busy)
(2) Use public transport more. Exception! When there is snow or bad weather cycling sounds less tempting. If that’s the case where you live, start using public transport to go to work and the supermarket. The more people in public transport, less the chances of congestion and emissions!
(3) Make your home efficient. Replace the heavy voltage bulbs with energy efficient ones. Use washing machine at lower temperature. Don’t fill your kettle to the top while boiling water, it takes longer to boil and uses more electricity. The ideal temperature to sleep is around 16 degrees Celsius. If that’s too cold for you, do it in steps – half a degree less each month. You might realise you even sleep better – and you will see it on your heating bill!
(4) Keep your electronics for the year. New cell-phone? Must absolutely have the latest iPad? How about the newly released gaming console? Our consumption of electronics is reaching records. Make a break, and promise not to buy new electronics this year, unless the one you already have breaks down (and when it does, ensure it is recycled properly!).
(5) Spend more time outdoors. Learn to enjoy nature again. Make a habit of taking a weekly walk outside. We have become so used to living in our houses and in our cars, many people have no idea what nature looks like anymore.
(6) Convince and spread awareness to other people about sustainability. Try to spread the message of sustainability to other people, start with your family, then friends and those people who you see on and off and of course neighbours. It may sound a boring topic to some people but it’s always good to convince them with evidence you will achieve from your resolutions. We will be able to grow a movement capable of protecting our planet.
(7) Improve Your Health: In most cases, personal and environmental health are interlinked. When you think about improving your health this year, consider things like eating fresh, local foods to help you lose weight and support organic farming. Promise yourself to stop smoking and stick to it, you will see the difference in your health and bank balance. Start exercising consistently; even 10 minutes physical training in your room will make a difference. Walk more, cut back on things like using the car to the supermarket when you don’t need much. Try doing the garden, it will refresh your mind and keep you healthy as well.
(8) Organizing Your Home and Life: We all know how the chaos in our homes affects our sense of well-being. It creates stress and fills our free time with more chores and the accumulation of all that “stuff” does harm to our natural resources. Donating our excess to a good cause keeps it out of a landfill and by decreasing our consumption of new “stuff” we keep our environmental footprint small. SAUWS Environment collect student and staff donations ranging from kitchenware to clothing and books throughout term time. These are then made available for free via our SAUWS Free shop which runs on a monthly basis on each campus. If you would like to donate or come along to our Free Shop contact Sustainability@SAUWS.org.uk for further information.
(9) Improving Your Lifestyle: Give more time to loved ones, getting involved with a charity, or reconnect to your spiritual beliefs all depends on a healthy, happy life. Create that purpose by getting involved with the things that matter most to you.
(10) Join organisations that promote sustainability: I am sure there are many organisations in your area that spread the message of sustainability. Look then up and get in touch with them. At UWS, SAUWS Environment is an active organisation running workshops, activities and events promoting sustainable change for the environment. If you are interested and want to get involved visit our website, Facebook or contact sustainability@SAUWS.org.uk.
We have to do something in order to create a change in our lives and protect our environment. This story doesn’t end on these ten steps; I would rather say it’s the beginning of a more sustainable lifestyle and a chance to prosper in our lives. We only live once and we only have one planet. Let’s embrace it.