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Thinking about a New Year’s resolution for 2023?
Yearly surveys tell us that most people choose resolutions that focus on their health. The most popular resolutions are to exercise more, eat healthier, lose weight, and save money.
But have you ever thought about making a resolution that benefits you and the planet?
Turns out, many things that are better for the planet are better for you, too! Setting an eco-friendly new year’s resolution accomplishes both goals. (Win-win!)
Studies show that roughly 41% of Americans make New Year’s resolutions. 1 Yet, there’s always a similar discussion surrounding the conversation — Do resolutions actually work?
The short answer: Yes!
The full answer: We’re all human, so it’s a bit more complicated.
When all is said and done, approximately 12% of resolution-setters will stick with it to the end of the year.1 But… should we really call the rest a failure?
I’d like to encourage you to flip this question on its head. Let’s look at this glass half-full instead of half-empty.
👉 Turns out, halfway through the year about half (46%) of the people who set a New Year’s resolution are still succeeding!
And interestingly: People who set goals rather than resolutions are much less likely to succeed — only 4% feel successful after 6 months!1
So even if many resolution-setters will “fail” at some point, it’s encouraging to think that for 6 months of the year, they continued those healthy habits and lifestyle changes. And isn’t 6 months better than none?
When it comes to sustainability and protecting our planet, progress is better than perfection. You’ve probably heard it before, but one of our favorite sayings is:
“We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.” — Anne-Marie Bonneau
So while you may not make it to December 31st without a few hiccups, setting an eco-friendly New Year’s resolution is still progress!
To determine how to succeed, it’s helpful to look at why resolutions often fail:
So if you strive to be successful this year, consider:
Now you know the best practices to succeed, here are our top 5 eco-friendly New Year’s resolutions for 2023!
Doesn’t sound so bad right? This one pairs well with resolutions to eat healthy or cook at home more, because both of those things are inherently good for the planet!
Eating meatless is a wonderful way to reduce your carbon footprint while also improving your health!
We talked about making these resolutions realistic, right? So maybe going full vegetarian or vegan is a goal of yours, but it can be helpful to start small. Try going meatless on Mondays, or opt for vegetarian lunch on M/W/F. You can always overachieve, but it’s helpful to choose a resolution you can adhere to in order to build momentum and confidence in your new habits.
This one is all about reducing food waste. Since agriculture is one of the leading causes of climate change, reducing food waste is an easy way to lower your carbon footprint — plus it reduces methane emissions from the landfill!
Your wallet will thank you too, since the average American family throws away $1,600 a year in produce alone.4 So if your goal is to save money this year, try reducing your food waste with a “catch-all meal'' at the end of every week. What’s a catch-all meal?
When you’re thinking about the meals and groceries for the week, plan to include one meal at the end of your week that incorporates all the leftover bits from your other recipes. Here are a few examples of meals that go well with a wide variety of meats, cheeses, and produce:
This practice is also great if your New Year’s resolution is to cook at home more! Which leads to our 3rd food-based eco-friendly resolution:
Here’s another one that will save you money, help you eat healthier, and lower your environmental impact!
This can be a challenging resolution, because we all know the desire for delivery when you come home from a long day at the office… Remember, keep it realistic and achievable!
Take a close look at your own habits (and be honest with yourself!) How often do you order delivery or take-out? Do you usually pack your own lunch or are you grabbing a premade sandwich from the coffee shop across the street?
Think about what’s realistic for you, and then set an eco-friendly New Year’s resolution you’re likely to succeed at!
Another healthy and eco-friendly resolution is to always choose plastic-free options when available.
How is this better for you? Well, turns out… You eat about a credit card’s worth of plastic every week. 😳 This is because microplastics exist in everything from your food to water to consumer products. Since “every piece of plastic that has ever been created is still on our planet today,” plastics are everywhere in our ecosystem and food sources.5
Plastics have now shown up in our blood, breast milk, lungs, and colons just to name a few. Though the impacts are still being studied, expert ecotoxicologist Dick Vethaak calls it a “plastic time bomb.”5
Choosing plastic-free alternatives throughout your life is an effective way to reduce your carbon footprint, while also improving your health!
There is so much unnecessary plastic in our world today. For instance, toilet paper does not need to be wrapped in plastic. At Cloud Paper, our bamboo toilet paper comes in plastic-free packaging that is 100% recyclable.
In 2023 challenge yourself to always pick plastic-free packaging when there’s an available option. Maybe that’s toilet paper, or maybe that means picking unpackaged produce rather than pre-prepped veggies. It might mean choosing soap bars that haven’t been shrinkwrapped, or finding a tablet toothpaste rather than traditional tubes.
The options are endless, but whenever you have a choice, choosing plastic-free is the best option for the environment. But that’s not the only way to reduce plastic in your life…
Bringing your own bags, reusing water bottles, and saying No to straws have all become popular in the sustainability lifestyle, but how committed are you to the cause?
Your eco-friendly New Year’s resolution could be to never take a plastic bag, or to keep a clean metal straw in your car for every Dunkin’ visit. Try resolving to always tell delivery that you don’t need plastic forks. Want to eliminate styrofoam? Bring your own tupperware when you eat out so you can carry home your leftovers.
These resolutions are best fitted to your own lifestyle, so think about where you could make changes and what feels like a realistic resolution.
Of course, there are plenty of other eco-friendly New Year’s resolutions you could choose.
In the end, the best New Year’s resolution is the one that excites and inspires you. Choose something you want to accomplish and it will make it ten times easier to succeed.
And remember, if you fail — is it really a failure? Don’t let one mistake derail you! As long as you make progress toward eco-friendly habits, you’re contributing to a better tomorrow.
Thank you for choosing an eco-friendly New Year’s resolution for 2023!