1Thing: A few simple steps you can take to live more sustainably in the New Year

It’s not about resolutions, it’s about finding 1Thing

January 4, 2019

As we drift into the New Year, many people reassess things in their lives, create resolutions and look for ways to improve themselves. 
For the most part, resolutions fail though.  Some say at an 80% clip! 

Why is that? Mostly because we’re trying to “wish” our way out of the habits we created for ourselves. It’s not a sustainable way to change behavior. The resolution tends to be broad, such as “I want to lose weight.” Instead of focusing on why you want to lose weight, and working on changing your behavior (cutting out sugary snacks for example), we just throw out a broad wish and don’t follow through on the actual steps that help us reach a goal. 

Why do I share this in an article about 1Thing? The name itself is the explanation. Just do one thing. As you start your new year, can you find something you can do to help make our lives more sustainable? The key here is not to take on too much at once. Pick one idea, change your behavior, and go from there. 

Here are a few things to consider as you get started:

  • Eliminate single-use plastics

It’s become a full-blown crisis for our planet. The amount of plastic in our trash has choked waterways and oceans. It can take centuries to break down (maybe, we don’t even know this yet because we have only used plastic for less than a century). Many restaurants are taking steps to use less, or eliminate straws. Take a cue from them. There are countless options for water bottles so you no longer need to buy plastic. You can get your own bags for groceries and quit using plastic bags. With a little extra attention, you can greatly reduce the amount of plastic in our environment. 

  • Reduce food waste

Producing, transporting and preparing food puts a massive strain on our environment. Yet every year, roughly 1/3 of the food produced on our planet is lost or wasted. It’s as much an economic consideration as it is environmental. The best way to cut down your waste is to plan better. Create meal plans, check expiration dates and make meals around your leftovers. You’ll save money and you’ll create a more sustainable environment. 

  • Lower (or raise) your home temperature and pay attention to lighting

When you lower your indoor temperature one degree (or raise it in the summer), you reduce your electricity bill by 5%. You can handle one degree, right? Also, pay attention to your lights. The old wives tale about “costing more by turning lights on and off” is untrue. It is also untrue that lights wear out by turning them on and off. If you like to leave lights on when you’re on a trip, consider investing in a timer. 

  • Use public transportation when you can

Transportation causes about a fifth of the emissions in our air. And let’s face it... traffic in the Twin Cities is horrible. Do you have an option to use public transportation? Perhaps a carpool?  For some of you, it may not work. For others, you are having a hard time coming to grips with giving up your traditional commute, by yourself, sitting in traffic. I made the choice about 5 years ago to start taking the bus even though I thought I’d die without my own car. Boy was I wrong. I can’t imagine going back now. I get to relax without the stress of driving, I read more than I ever have, and get home refreshed from my ride instead of on edge because I was stuck in traffic. Think about your options. 

Use the New Year as an opportunity to think about your lifestyle. What you can do to help our environment?  In almost all cases, there are the added benefits of saving money, or perhaps finding a more enjoyable way of living. 

Make the choice and create 1Thing that changes your behavior. It’s a resolution we know you can stick to!