Yes, it’s that time when we reflect on the past year and look ahead to the new one. Many resolutions have been made and most will be abandoned. If one of yours is to improve your “green” living habits, here’s a quick monthly at-a-glance list of a single task you can take on every month during the year.
I think the reason many of us do not succeed at our goals is that we may set too many or establish ones that are far too encompassing. For example, this resolution to become more eco-friendly is broad, overwhelming, requires an attitudinal adjustment and a change in behavior making the follow through and commitment challenging.
Let’s consider this instead … it takes 21-30 days to change a habit or begin a new one. Focus on just one of these goals each month and by the end of the year, you’ll wonder how you ever lived any differently. So scan the list and follow in the order outlined to begin anew or improve your efforts. Or if you are already well on your way, move on and select another to implement. At the first of each month, I’ll post the suggested resolution with more detail and tips to put into action. Don’t forget to subscribe via RSS or email, fan and/or follow to automatically receive the monthly resolution reminders (as well as other posts too).
So here goes…
January - I will increase my recycling efforts this year.
Really? But it’s true – I still see many a can or plastic bottle in trash bins all the time. Now that a new year is upon us, it’s always great way to clean up, clear out and get organized. So perhaps this resolution for January is to increase recycling efforts by getting your bins in order. Find a space in your pantry, kitchen, laundry room or wherever will best work for you. If you need to sort your recyclable items, look for a stackable bin so you can easily toss in the proper spot. Also make a space for those plastic bags and take them to the nearest place to recycle – such as the grocery store that gave them to you in the first place. Your motto this month, “Think before you sink” into the garbage. Before you know it, you will be asking “What about this? What about that?” and creating a bin out of coffee cans for those bottle caps and batteries that can also be recycled.
- February – I will reduce the amount of processed food in my household
- March - I will begin and/or increase my practice of using reusable items such as bags and bottles.
- April – I will plant a garden and/or begin shopping at my local farmer’s market.
- May – I will consider composting, even at the most basic level.
- June – I will begin water conservation efforts in my home and install a rain barrel.
- July - I will begin the practice of driving more efficiently to conserve fuel and reduce my carbon output.
- August – I will turn up the thermostat a few degrees and check for places in my home where the cool air may be escaping.
- September – I will reduce my energy consumption by turning off lights and appliances when not in use.
- October – I will precycle and consider the packaging and production efforts involved when making my purchasing decisions.
- November – I will decorate, shop, wrap and recycle responsibly for the holidays.
- December – I will donate unused items, clothing, household goods to a local charity, consignment or second-hand shop.
So there you have it. Start out with just one or take on a few at a time. Just don’t let yourself get overwhelmed and give up. It’s a new year with twelve months to begin new habits for a more resourceful decade to come.
Happy New Year!