As we dive into a new year, and the next decade of the century, it’s an excellent time to reflect on your actions, reassess your priorities, and set some goals.

Although there is no “best” or “worst” time to set intentions, the psychological effect of the new year makes it especially appealing to cultivate a better habit or work towards a new goal. The catch is— New Years resolutions don’t usually last far beyond January 1st.

In order to make your intentions more sustainable overtime, you need to identify roots of those changes in your values and integrate them within your existing routine. Your more general aspirations will be significantly more attainable when broken down and translated into smaller, more accessible steps.

An example of one small step with a great cumulative impact is carrying a reusable water bottle! This simple habit can (1) save you time and money by eliminating the need for purchasing bottled water on-the-go, (2) reduce your individual waste footprint by swapping years of single-use plastic products for one that’s reusable, and (3) serve as a convenient reminder throughout the day for all the health benefits of staying well hydrated.

There’s more— these small steps may lead you to open yourself to further changes and ultimately cultivate an elevated lifestyle according to the values and intentions you prioritize. You may also inspire others in your family, social circle, or workplace to join you along the way!

When thrown into the loop of our already busy schedules, lifestyle changes may seem daunting, inaccessible, or ineffectual. It’s important to recognize that individual actions are the central manifestation of one’s values. We should all strive to build habits that better align our lifestyle with our priorities and values to feel fulfilled.

In the spirit of making sustainable progress during the new year, here’s some inspiration with pointers to help you approach and achieve your goals through impactful small steps— in sustainability, personal finances, wellness, and more!

REUSABLES:

keep a water bottle, cutlery set, coffee cup, and tote bag handy to avoid the most common single-use plastics on-the-go— this doesn’t need to be anything new; you can probably make better use of items already lying around your home!

  • reduce your landfill contribution
  • save time and money
  • conserve energy
  • elevate your personal wellness
MENDING AND UPCYCLING:

find ways to mend and revamp what you already own before buying new things

  • reduce your landfill contribution
  • conserve energy and resources
  • save time and money
RECYCLING:

take the time to check local recycling regulations [Miami Dade] and make sure you’re properly sorting and disposing of your waste

  • reduce your landfill contribution
  • conserve resources
GARDENING:

grow your own produce in small pots or right in the ground of your front/backyard— be sure to avoid synthetic fertilizers and pesticides!

  • reduce carbon pollution
  • save money
  • elevate your personal wellness
PLANT-BASED EATING:

replace animal product staples in your diet with whole grains, beans, legumes, produce, nuts and seeds— engage the whole family with meatless Mondays!

  • reduce your carbon footprint
  • save money
  • conserve energy
  • elevate your personal wellness
COMPOSTING:

start small with household scraps [excellent guide from SodGod] and potentially through a neighborhood drop-off [back2earth] or community composting program [ILSR guide]

  • reduce your landfill contribution
  • reduce your carbon footprint
LAUNDRY:

opt for energy-saving cold wash settings and hang dry clothes when possible

  • conserve energy and curb emissions
  • save money
  • extend the life of your clothes and linens
WATER USAGE:

turn off the tap when not in use and minimize your shower time— use an engaging timer (could be as simple as playing two of your favorite songs) for accountability!

  • conserve energy and water
  • save money
GETTING AROUND:

strive to incorporate zero-carbon alternatives to driving, such as walking or bicycling, and make use of public transportation or carpooling

  • save time during commutes
  • save on gasoline expenses
  • reduce carbon emissions
  • elevate your personal wellness
TRAVELING:

plan trips to destinations closer to home in advance and seek alternatives to flying for long-distance trips via public transportation or virtual conferencing

  • conserve energy
  • save time and money
  • increase productivity
  • reduce your carbon footprint
COMMUNITY:

attend events organized by like-minded individuals to grow in your understanding with a network of support and insight– bonus: keep your perspective informed by starting conversations with others whose values and actions differ from your own!

  • elevate your personal wellness by forging purposeful relationships
SHOP LOCAL:

support organizations and small businesses with values that align with your own— every purchase you make is an investment in those individuals and their work, so choose wisely!

  • reduce landfill contributions
  • conserve energy and resources by foregoing transportation/freight

Let me know what sustainable lifestyle changes you’ve committed to! Feel free to share helpful resources so we can all benefit from elevated habits in the new year and beyond: natalia@debrisfreeoceansorg.