Surviving Your Resolution

Happy New Year! Last week’s blog talked about strategies for setting New Year's resolutions that have a positive environmental impact. This week, I want to talk about how to see those resolutions through! 

Maybe you are the type of person who sets a resolution, accomplishes it, and then moves along with your life. If so, Bravo! I want to take a moment to talk to all the people who may find it extra challenging to apply personal and permanent change.  

Humble brag, I just completed my first ever year-long resolution. For 2020, my husband and I practiced Meatless Mondays for the full year! This is a big deal! It wasn't necessarily hard, but at the same time it wasn't always easy. There were more than one last-minute-cheese-pizza dinners. I am not a life coach, nor a psychoanalyst, but I do think there were some key components that made it possible for us to accomplish our resolution: 

  1. Buy In - Individual lifestyle change will affect other people. Had I tried to plan my own meals while balancing a separate diet for my husband, it would have never worked. I know my habits, and I would have given up. So discuss your goals with you family and those around you. See who else may be interested in joining you in your resolution.
  1. Work with What You Got - We already meal plan each week. We have a big chalkboard menu in the kitchen where we plan out what meals we’re having and when. So we highlighted the Meatless Monday row and planned accordingly.
  1. Set Parameters and Goals - The beauty of Meatless Monday is that it is one stable day of the week. It was easy to remember and plan around. 
  1. Be Flexible - Full disclosure, we had a couple of "Meatless Tuesdays." One Monday, after moving over the weekend, I literally forgot what day of the week it was! But that's okay, the goal was never to not eat meat on Mondays, the goal was to reduce our meat consumption. Understand that everyone makes mistakes, and the odd misstep is the spice of life! Go easy on yourself.
  1. Keep Your Goal in Mind - There are many reasons to not eat meat, or to reduce your meat consumption. For us, our goal was to reduce our carbon footprint. This is where I think the key to a good resolution come into view. A resolution is something you can change about yourself (in this case, our diet), which has a larger, sometimes more nebulous, impact (fighting the effects of climate change). 

One last thing to consider as you create resolutions that are both achievable and intentional - what is the long-term plan? Is your goal to keep the resolution for one year, or is the plan to keep it for years to come? 

In our case, we do plan on keeping our meat consumption lowered, but perhaps a bit less focused on Mondays. For 2021, we purchased three cookbooks - one "healthy living" with a lot of vegetarian recipes, one focused on Indian cuisine (which is mostly vegetarian) and the last specifically vegan with the goal of cooking our way through the three cookbooks for the year. This will allow us to try new things, and new ways of cooking, while building off a trajectory we've already established. 

Did you come up with a green resolution for 2021? If so, we would love to hear it! Be sure to check out the Office of Sustainability's Page for more sustainable New Year's Resolution tips!

Category Tag(s): Nature Blog