As the new year begins, the pressure to adopt resolutions sets in. We feel the pull to 'improve' our lives in one way or another. The most common resolutions are related to finances, diet, and weight. We want to save more money or pay off debt, eat healthier foods, get fit and lose weight because we think it'll make our lives better or make ourselves happier.
Unfortunately, very few of us are able to keep the resolutions we set for ourselves in early January, and by June, most of us have given up altogether. After a handful of years without fulfilling the expectations I set for myself, I stopped making an exhaustive list of new years resolutions that I believed would make me happy and decided to just do more of something that already brought me happiness.
I have always loved watching sunrises and sunsets, so a few years ago, I decided that for an entire year, I would watch the sun rise or set at least once every single week. It was simple, complemented my existing commitments, and had a panoply of wonderful, unintended impacts on my life. I spent more time in nature, I slowed down and felt like I had gained a little more perspective on life. I ended up watching more the sun rise and set more than 52 times that year, and felt that those moments spent observing time as it passed brought me more joy than almost any other resolution could've.
Since then, I've kept happiness at the center of my resolutions and now adopt a few every year. Over the past few years I've learned that, as the state of the climate crisis has grown increasingly dire, I find the greatest solace in small, everyday commitments to the planet and in consistent connection with nature. These resolutions keep me hopeful, motivated, and happy.
Here are my two commitments to myself, and the planet, for this year.
Find all colours of the rainbow in nature every single week. Looking out my window right now at a snow-covered gray and brown landscape, I envision this resolution taking me on many walks, heightening my awareness of birds, lichen, and rocks in my surroundings, and being an agreeable recess from the busy day-to-day.
Eat 10 new vegetables grown locally. This year, I want to eat (at least) ten vegetables that I've never eaten before. Heirloom versions do not count - these vegetables need to be entirely new to me! I envision this being an invitation to frequently connect with and ask questions to local farmers, will help me discover new recipes, and will reinvigorate my taste buds - win, win, win.
Here are a handful of ways that I believe that the most accessible, and impactful ways to make this year more sustainable through
Eat more plant-based meals. Discover new ingredients, recipes, and cultures through cooking.
Borrow more books than you buy. A great way to contribute to a circular economy and to connect with friends and family.
Learn how to store your vegetables and fruit. Reduce food waste, save money, and minimize your trips to the grocery store.
For more inspiration, the New York Times has shared a list of their New Year's resolutions for the planet.