Conservation Station: Make Your New Year's Resolutions Count

By Stacy Martin on December 29, 2012 from Conservation Station via

I would like to wish you all a wonderful and safe holiday season!  Thank you for all the support you, my readers, have given me in 2012!  I know that for many people conservation issues are not at the forefront of their priorities, but I certainly hope that my blogs are helping to educate and stimulate thoughts on how we can help our community and the environment.  After all, is this not the season for giving and doing good deeds?  Why not use this time to see how you can help now and make a resolution to help for the 2013 year ahead!
Every year people make New Year’s Resolutions, whether they stick to them or not.  It’s a tradition, and this New Year’s celebration will be no different.  Usually resolutions involve ways to improve one’s self – such as quit smoking, lose weight, eat healthier, start exercising, etc. etc.  These are all great resolutions and I’m sure everyone will have one of these on their list.  Yes, I said list!  Resolutions are great if they are reasonable and you can stick to them, but they become meaningless if every year you forget what your resolution was by March. 
Setting unreasonable resolutions just makes you feel worse when you can’t or don’t follow them.  Believe me I know!  We are all guilty of not following through on our New Year’s Resolutions one year or another – if you always stick to your resolution year to year then GOOD FOR YOU – PROUD OF YOU!  But for those of us who don’t, here are few guidelines to help keep us on track this year:
1)  Make a list of three (3) resolutions!  This way even if you don’t follow through on one you have the other two to fall back on and refocus your lifestyle.
2)  Write them down!  Write them in permanent marker on a sheet of paper and hang it where it will be visible every day.  I like my bulletin board next to the phone or the refrigerator. 
3)  Choose reasonable resolutions!  Another advantage to making 3 resolutions is variety.  You can still make that one resolution that in the back of your head you know you probably won’t keep for the whole year – like exercising every day, but choose 2 other resolutions that are easier to follow throughout the year – like turning out lights before you leave the house.  This way if you don’t keep the UNREASONABLE one, you have two other reasonable resolutions that you are more likely to stick with.
4)  Declare publicly your resolutions!  I’m not talking about screaming them from your front porch, but tell others about the resolutions you are making or make pledges to follow through with your intentions.  For example, tell a co-worker one of your resolutions is to eat healthier every day and ask them to help keep you on track.  So when you have a really bad day and want that triple decker cheeseburger for lunch, your co-worker might just say, “[h]ey, I thought your New Year’s resolution was to eat healthier, are you sure you want to order the cheeseburger?”  Another example would be joining an exercise class, because you are more likely to follow through if you know your instructor is expecting you at every class (and you paid for it).  Or yet another example is pledging to an organization that you will do something to help them achieve their goals – you won’t want to let a whole organization down.
5)  Give yourself rewards!  Divide the year in half or quarters and reward yourself with something special for sticking to your resolutions at each interval.  And next New Year’s Eve you will really have something to celebrate if you have stuck to your resolutions the whole year. 
So what does all this have to do with Conservation issues?  Well, almost anything you resolve to do to better yourself will help the community or the environment.  If you stop smoking you’re creating less toxins in the air and less cigarette butts in the landfills or on the streets.  If you exercise daily you might be utilizing the park system more and helping to keep it clean or you bike/walk to work thereby using your vehicle less saving gas and decreasing emissions.  If you are eating healthier you are most likely going to be supporting the local farmers and less likely to be waiting in a drive-thru line for fast food (also decreasing emissions from sitting idle in your car).  Therefore, I highly encourage you to make these resolutions.
But if you are making three resolutions and you want one that will be easy to stick to, look at some things that directly impact the environment.  Make a resolution this year to recycle if you don’t already.  A great start is by recycling toys, electronics and clothes.  I’m sure most of you will be getting new of any or all of these things, so to make room for the new recycle the outdated.  Maybe you can make a resolution to reduce the amount of electricity you use.  This can be a huge money saver for you as well to really reward yourself next New Years.  Only have lights on in rooms you are in, turn off the television, unplug your chargers.  Another resolution can be reusing things as much as possible.  Think about some of the things you throw away and figure out another use for them.  Can’t think of any, get on the internet – type in reuse ideas for . . . . . – I’m sure you’ll find numerous ideas.  One great resource for setting some of these conservation based resolutions is Recyclebank at– check it out!  You can actually earn points and rewards when you sign up and make pledges to do stuff.  I recycle Ziploc™ bags (where you recycle plastic grocery bags) and have gotten coupons worth over $100 on different products.  Recyclebank has numerous ideas for easy New Year’s Resolutions that you can stick to, which will help you feel good about yourself while also helping the environment and your wallet.
So have a wonderful time over the next couple weeks, and really give some thought to those New Year’s Resolutions.  Good luck and see you next year!  

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