These are no ordinary resolutions. They are resolutions that actually make a big difference in the problems we are all complaining about – personally and globally.
I’ve been itching to write about these issues for so long and I hope you find perspective and inspiration.
Take a look and see if any of them resonate with you. And please tell us what your New Year’s Resolutions are in the comment section below!
1. I will compliment or sincerely thank one new person every day.
We all like receiving compliments and appreciation. I have found that when I focus on making the people around me feel good, through appreciation and compliments, I am surrounded by more happy, awesome and loving people. I like being surrounded by those kinds of people, don’t you? By giving these things to the people around you, you’ll be creating a kick-ass community of people who are confident, capable and productive. Let’s commit to making each other better.
2. I will stop buying plastic bottled water and I will get a proper water filter.
I wrote a lengthy article on the health and environmental reasons for no longer drinking tap or bottled water, so I won’t get into the details here. Usually I can simply say that “Americans discard 2.5 million plastic bottles hourly.” Wow. And where do they all go? They aren’t always recycled to be made into new plastic products, but when they are, it’s done in China, and it contributes heavily to their air pollution. Even recycling doesn’t make up for the damage done by virgin plastic production, in fact, the post-consumer plastic industry is extremely damaging to air quality.
That’s usually enough to convince others of the severity of the situation. But if you need more, plastic contains estrogen mimicking chemicals that feed estrogen-dependent cancers, obesity and thyroid disease. You are drinking these chemicals when you drink bottled water. Or, I could mention the notorious plastic island the size of Texas in the Pacific Ocean, or the wildlife being killed by plastic waste. Whatever reason convinces you to stop buying plastic, use it. We must stop consuming plastic now. You can buy a water filter and a reusable water bottle for your clean drinking water. Read my article here for my filter recommendations.
3. I will begin a weekly meditative/reflective activity that works for my lifestyle.
Meditation. It doesn’t mean you have to sit in silence for so long that you can’t stand it. To me and many others, meditation has become a tool for resetting the emotional body; for processing and dumping the old unpleasant thoughts and information, and resetting the brain and the mind for a clean start. It’s like defragmenting the disk on your computer, or, if that doesn’t translate for you, you could say it’s like dusting and decluttering your home except this is for your brain. You can meditate in many ways but you will be more successful, especially as a beginner, if you use a guided meditation cd or engage in a meditative activity like walking, cleaning, coloring or knitting. While you meditate you will need to make sure to stay unattached to thoughts that pop into your mind – don’t follow those thoughts down a rabbit hole as usual – stay focused on the sounds, sights, and smells around you. Find something to focus on – perhaps your breath. Meditating will make you a better person, a more productive person and a happier person.
4. I will plant and take care of 2 trees this year.
Trees are quite remarkable. Did you know that many of the economic, social and environmental challenges we are facing right now could be improved with more trees? See the reasons why this is true in the paragraph below. The most compelling reasons to me are that trees retain ground water and cool the surrounding areas, which helps to combat droughts. And, trees increase the oxygen content in the air, which is at an all-time low around the world, threatening basic human health. And there isn’t anyone out there who is assigned to the task of planting more. Trees don’t often just sprout out of the ground and thrive – growing conditions have worsened – soils are dry and hard and seeds have trouble taking root. We all need to take responsibility and restore the tree population around the world.
22 Healthy Benefits of Trees
There is an organization in Los Angeles caled TreePeople, and they’ve compiled a list of 22 benefits that trees provide: Trees combat climate change, Trees clean the air, Trees provide oxygen, Trees cool the streets and the city, Trees help us conserve energy, Trees help us save water, Trees help prevent water pollution, Trees help prevent soil erosion, Trees shield children from ultra-violet rays, Trees provide food, Trees heal, Trees reduce violence, Trees mark the seasons, Trees create economic opportunities, Trees are teachers and playmates, Trees bring diverse groups of people together, Trees create neighborhood unity, Trees provide a canopy and habitat for wildlife, Trees block things (like unsightly views), Trees provide wood, Trees increase property values, Trees increase business traffic. Read the details here.
5. I will stop spraying my lawn with chemical fertilizers and pesticides, especially RoundUp.
Roundup, a common household and agriculture-grade pesticide, is now classified as a known carcinogen to the State of California and all products containing this ingredient will have to be labeled. When you spray your lawn with pesticides and fertilizers, the chemicals will, and do, seep into your groundwater, contaminating your drinking water and the drinking water of your neighbors. That’s not something you or I should be responsible for. Try to see the beauty in weeds – they are mostly edible and extremely medicinal, like dandelions for example, which support your liver with detoxification. You can add them to your salads and green smoothies!
6. I will buy local foods from my farmers’ market at least once every month.
When you spend your money locally, you will create significantly positive economic, social and environmental change. When you buy food that is grown in your state, you are injecting money into your immediate and local economy, and helping to sustain local employment rates. You are saying no to wasting fossil fuels on shipping food around the globe. You are purchasing fresher and more nutritious foods. You are supporting an environmentally and economically sustainable life for your community. This creates a better place to live and a happier life for you and your neighbors! We can all agree that we want to fix our country’s economic, employment and environmental issues. Start with spending some of your food budget on your neighbors’ products. Find your local farmers’ market here.
7. I will count my blessings every night as I fall asleep.
Like many of you out there, my mind wanders to the worst-case-scenario. I can turn a payday into a sh*t day, if one negative email comes my way. Keeping my mind focused on the things in my life that are going very well, and the things that I love, I am able to feel happier on a daily basis. Doing this also forces your mind to re-evaluate what is important to you. After a day of consuming advertisements and conversation, we are likely to place high value on unnecessary material things, and low value on family and love. When you spend time feeling how grateful you are for things like family, friends, warm covers at night, etc, the world becomes a much friendlier, and happier place.
8. I will stop buying GMO foods.
GMO crops are bred to withstand higher-than-regular amounts of pesticides. This means that when you eat a GMO food, you are ingesting higher-than-normal amounts of pesticides. These pesticides have been shown to cause a whole host of health and environmental problems. Because more and more pesticides means sick and mineral-less soil, this also means that your money is going towards supporting the downfall of the American agriculture system. Don’t vote for that with your dollars. Choose organically labeled foods, as GMO crops cannot be legally labeled organic. Also, study this list of GMO crops and make sure to scan your food labels for any of them. They sneak in all the time.
9. I will go to at least 2 local government meetings this year.
Who wants to do that? I know. Town meetings may be boring and you may feel like they are a waste of your life, but they are your responsibility to attend as a citizen of a democratic state. That’s the point of a democracy – the citizens are involved in the law-making and governing process. Take responsibility for what is happening. If you want change, you must get involved. If you want a strong country, you must support it with your time, energy and wisdom. If you want a free state, you must exercise your freedom – just like a body needs to remain flexible to move smoothly – democracy needs to be stretched and exercised by the people in order to run smoothly. To find a public government meeting near you, start by googling for it in your local town or state, or visit your county or state website.
10. I will stop asking what my country can do for me and I will start asking what I can do for my country.
There is a place and time for government, but our founding fathers did not intend for the answer to every problem to be new legislation. Think about your problems. What can you do to start solving them? If your neighbor is hungry, feed them. If there is litter on your street, pick it up. If you are sick, feed your body better fuel. If you don’t make enough money, make yourself better and apply for a better job, or stop spending your money on things you don’t need. If you want cleaner air, invest in clean energy technology, like Solar City. If you want peace, make peace within yourself, your home and your community. If you want a stronger economy, start buying your stuff from U.S. and your local state producers and manufacturers!
We are all responsible for this precious place we live in and no one else is going to take care of it for us. This last one was not really an action step, or a habit per say, but it is a mindset that I’m encouraging you to adopt. We can be better and do better for ourselves and for each other.
Thank you for spending the time to read through this post. It has been sitting up in my brain for so long and it feels wonderful to put it all into words.
What is your New Year’s Resolution? I love hearing positive stories from all our readers, so please share!
Keep taking back your health,