5 Green resolutions and how to keep them.
It’s that time of the year again – when we have some free time on our hands and a little guilt after overindulging at Christmas – when we take a look at our life and think about how we can make it better.
When I looked back on the year that was it took me a moment to pin-point the highlights. Not because it was a bad year, but because it was just so busy. There was always so much going on, working, caring for kids, sport, study, self-improvement…
How am I going to add ‘live more sustainably’ to the list of all the other things I am doing?
After a bit of internet surfing and accessing the stuff at the back of my brain (in the box labelled ‘obvious’) the answer is clear – Get back to basics.
A simpler life can be a more sustainable one.
Exercise – this has got to be the number one new year’s resolution. We all need to do it but it doesn’t have to be such a big deal. Do you climb into your fossil fuelled car to drive to an air-conditioned gym to work out on an electricity powered machine? Why not go for a walk, jog or bike ride around your neighbourhood. Do you really need that device to count your steps? You know in your heart when you are on the right track.
Eat better – move away from processed and packaged foods and switch to local fresh produce – we have loads of it in our area. Visit a farmers market and get to know the grower. This change will benefit your physical and mental health and help our growers and the environment as well.
Get your bike out of the shed – people who re-start cycling to work and/or the supermarket often say that it is lovely to rediscover their area that way. This could be the most relaxing resolution you make!
That electronic device can last another year – New mobile? Latest iPad? Will that voice recognition feature really change your life? Consumption of electronics is reaching a staggering new high . Make a break, promise not to buy electronics for a year (unless the one you have breaks down, then recycle it properly!). You will gain all the time you would have spent transferring your data and learning how to use your new device.
Switch off – reduce your energy consumption by switching off the television, computer, gaming machine, air-conditioner, even the lights. When did you last sit outside and do nothing except listen and feel? Yep, doing nothing can help save the world!
Resolutions – How to keep them
We have all sat through enough planning workshops to know about setting goals – remember the SMART acronym? It applies to New Year’s Resolutions too. Effective goals need to be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-framed. Stick to this and you are on the right track. Here are some other useful tips too:
Add something rather than take something away. You first have to focus on positive goals rather than negative ones. A positive goal is an action you want to perform; a negative goal is something you want to stop doing. Your habits are memories of actions you perform in a particular situation. You can’t learn not to do something, so if you focus only on stopping behaviours, you will never develop new habits.  So, for example, instead of trying to stop eating processed food, focus on adding more fresh food to your diet.
Limit your list to a number you can handle. It’s probably best to make two or three resolutions that you intend to keep. That way, you are focusing your efforts on the goals you truly want.
Talk about it. Share your experiences with family and friends. Set up a little support network with others who are trying to achieve the same things. Co-workers can be great to enlist for support as you see them every day.
Don’t beat yourself up. Perfection is unattainable. Remember that minor deviances from your goal are normal and OK. Don’t get down on yourself because you didn’t ride your bike to the supermarket this week. Everyone has ups and downs. Make yourself feel better by resolving to get on that bike again next week.
Have a great 2016! Art Markman via Time Ideas www.time.com  SAUWS Environment www.sauwsenvironment.wordpress.com