“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”
New Year’s 2021 approaches, vaccines make their way around the world, and with light at the end of the tunnel, millions of people cannot wait to say goodbye to 2020 for good. One of the traditions that has actually stayed traditional? The New Year’s resolution. A contract between you and yourself. A directive for future you. The better you. The you, you’d like to be year-round.
Change starts from within, and 2020 has provided ample opportunity for soul searching, reevaluating priorities, and taking up new hobbies. If anything, we collectively move into 2021 more prepared for new beginnings than ever before.
So perhaps it’s time we use that energy to change not only ourselves, but to change the world. Wondering where to start? Check out the list below for resolutions that can change the world for the better.
Bike, Walk, or Run Your Errands
Normally we see a suggestion that people bike or walk to work in order to reduce pollution. With more people than ever before working from home, that’s probably not the timeliest suggestion. However, there are still the day-to-day errands we need to complete. While this resolution may not work well in a rural area, if you live in a city or town, what errands are you unnecessarily driving to complete? Are any of them walkable instead? Take inventory of the places around you and decide what you can get completed on your feet, or bicycle, rather than in the car. You’ll get extra exercise, and help save the environment. This resolution also leads perfectly into the next suggestion on the list.
Shop Local and Indie Businesses
Local businesses support the livelihoods of many people in your community and around the world. Not to mention, they provide the local flavor, diversity, and unique qualities that differentiate one city, town, or neighborhood from the next. With many businesses on the verge of disappearing, it’s more important than ever that dollars go back into the communities where we live, work, and play. There are usually more businesses right in your area than you know, especially if you haven’t slowed down and walked the blocks of your neighborhood recently. Restaurants, local markets, gift shops, boutiques, clothing stores, and more. Consider making a resolution to choose local independent businesses whenever possible. However, if shopping online is more your speed, check out this list of ethical and sustainable marketplaces to get started.
Get Involved in Your Community
Let’s be honest, even when we’re altruistic, we’re also human. There is an addictive quality to seeing our time, work, or money make a positive impact. We can certainly send monthly or yearly donations to worthy charities as well, but this is different. It requires you to show up, get to know the problem intimately, and be an active part of the solution. What are some issues that hold a place in your heart? Maybe you’re an animal lover. Find local shelters, wildlife rescues, or even your local animal control, and see what you can do or give. Passionate about eliminating hunger in America? Check out local food pantries where you can volunteer or donate healthy groceries. Prefer to play to your skillset rather than a specific type of charity? Check out Taproot, a nonprofit organization that matches volunteers based on their strengths. This includes both local and remote opportunities to give back. They are even hosting a free webinar called “A How-To for Giving Back Through Pro Bono” on January 27th.
Declutter Your Life
Marie Kondo became a household name for her bestselling books Spark Joy and The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Most of us have items in great condition that we simply aren’t using often enough to justify keeping. Does it spark joy? If not, it’s time to give thanks and move it along to a new owner. The good news is, your tidier life can provide much-needed items to those around you. Clothing can easily go to women’s shelters, clothing drives, and local faith-based organizations that give items to those in need. Blankets are always in demand, especially during the cold season. They are accepted at animal rescues as well, to keep dogs and cats warm and cozy through winter. Anything from gently used household goods to vehicles can make a world of difference to those who desperately need them. Decluttering can be done daily, weekly, or monthly, depending on how much excess you’ve accumulated and how much you’d like to reduce it.
Random Acts of Kindness
Don’t underestimate the impact a positive attitude can have on the people and world around you. Click here for a list of pandemic friendly ways to be kind to yourself and others. Commit to at least one thing a day. It can be as simple as letting a pedestrian cross the street, leaving a large tip for a job well done, or paying for a person’s coffee behind you. Kindness can also mean acknowledging that the person who is ruffling your feathers is also human. The person who cut you off in traffic may be on the way to the hospital. Everyone has a story. Give generously, live presently, and forgive quickly. We are all human beings with human flaws, making our way in the world the best we can. When we are kind to ourselves and to each other, the world is a brighter place.
Meet the Writer!
Desiree Mulkey is a freelance writer and storyteller with a passion for food, health and wellness, and the great outdoors. She is also a proud rescue dog mom to her hiking companion, Louie.