Every New Year people take the opportunity to make a resolution to change something about their lives. Very few of these make it past 31st January. Enough of fad diets and unsustainable gym routines! The reason we make resolutions is to change something in our lives that we are not happy about or to enrich our lives with something new. Of course, we can (and should) do this at any time of the year but as a new year brings new beginnings and a certain time frame of 12 months / 52 weeks / 365 days it is as good a time as any to make a resolution. Here are some thoughts for inspiration:
1. Use man power: January always sees the hike in train fares and petrol prices much to the disappointment of commuters everywhere. Beat the system by cycling to work or taking the time to walk instead of driving. If this sounds like too much, start with one day a week and perhaps save the walking for weekends when you can afford to spend the time. As well as improving fitness without the gym fees, you’ll discover new things in your neighbourhood and maybe even make new friends along the way. If you do have to travel by car, talk to friends and colleagues to see if you can start a lift share.
2. Spend time wisely: There are tonnes of community projects and charities that would benefit from your time. As well as building a CV for those struggling to find work, volunteering is an amazing way to meet new people with similar interests and perhaps discover new talents. Deliver food parcels with Food Chain; cook and serve up a feast with Food Cycle; get your hands dirty with Growing Communities; redistribute surplus food with Fareshare. The opportunities are endless and if there is a particular group or organisation you’d like to get involved with, just say hello whether they are advertising for volunteers or not.
3. Pay it forward: The concept of paying it forward is old but in my opinion is not used enough. It goes something like this: if you do someone a favour or give them a loan, rather than having them pay you back in kind, ask that they do something for someone else thus paying it forward instead of paying it back. This can be applied to little things in every day life or if you are undertaking a challenge in 2013 that would normally receive monetary sponsorship, check out The DoNation. Instead of sponsoring with cash, supporters do a simple green action (known as a DoAction) which contributes to a reduction in CO2 emissions. Cool huh?
4. Go local: We are all feeling the impacts of increasing transport costs and reduction in food security. Build resilience in your local community and find support for low impact living in your nearest Transition Network. Support local businesses and reduce your transport costs by shopping locally. Support local agriculture by visiting farmers markets rather than supermarkets. We live in an expensive world so lets find a way to reduce unnecessary costs and spend our money wisely.
5. Start something: If you want to try something new but can’t find an exisiting group to help you do it, start one yourself! Cook dinner for your friends and maybe a few strangers by hosting a supper club. Melba make it super easy for you to organise. Start a preserve swap where each person involved cooks a batch of jam or chutney, keeps one jar for themselves and puts the rest in the swap so you end up with several different preserves. Share your garden space and grow veg with a friend or colleague. It’ll share the work and you can share the feast at harvest time. Upcycle your clothes and swap them with your friends. Its the cheapest way to update your wardrobe and is more fun than hauling bags to the charity shop.You could then host a crafternoon to dye clothes newcolours, change buttons or turn old jumpers into cushions. The opportunities are endless, get creative!