Resolutions and me

I haven’t made New Year’s Resolutions since my early twenties (the early 2000’s if you’re counting). As a teen I got quite into it, but over the years I lost the habit.

Two things happened. Firstly, my Resolutions rarely lasted. I didn’t tell anyone what they were, and so there was never any accountability. I could talk myself out of doing them whenever I liked, and no one would be any the wiser. Of course this also meant that no one knew I was failing; an added bonus.

Secondly, once I started working I became interested in the idea of continual improvement. If something needed to change in April, I realised I didn’t have to wait nine months to get started. I could do something right then. I didn’t have to tie improvement to the 1st of January and the pressure and expectation associated with that date.

Consequently though I found myself actively fighting Resolutions. If I wanted change in December or January I would postpone it until February, so that no one could mistake it for a Resolution. I would talk of the hopelessness of Resolutions and encourage people to make the change whenever suited them.

So why the rethink now?

I’m softening on the idea of Resolutions; appreciating that some people (maybe myself included) may need that milestone for any of a number of reasons. Moreover, now that I have a public forum for my desire to be more sustainable, I think that having some accountability for Resolutions will help me.

I’m looking forward to tracking my progress over the course of the year, and engaging with any of you who have made resolutions, whether they’re related to sustainability or the environment or something else entirely.

How I’ve approached Resolutions

I don’t want my Resolutions to be only practical — i.e. use less plastic — as that would be too easy. So I’ve included some more aspirational ones. I want something less binary, that would force me to actually talk about what I’ve achieved (the good and the bad). I hope the aspirational ones will help me make the step to inspire others along on this journey, not just making my improvements in isolation.

My Resolutions

Challenge behaviours (aspirational)

1. I will look at my own behaviours and identify where I can make sustainable improvements.

What assumptions do I have about a product or my activities that might be incorrect? What impacts could there be that are not immediately obvious? What do I do because it’s always been done that way? These are the questions I need to ask in order to make continual change and not just tackle what’s in the news a particular week.

As part of my MSc I have identified that a long-term aim is to move into a challenging mindset. Asking the questions that enable a business to evolve and not just continue to do things “because they’ve always been done”. Keeping us agile and flexible in a VUCA environment. Starting out by challenging myself seems like a good way to go.

Promote sustainable behaviours (aspirational)

2. I will lead by example, promoting sustainable behaviours and encouraging them in others.

It’s my main reason for starting this blog. My aim here is not just to improve myself, but to inspire change in others. Societal change will not happen if only some individuals do it; we need to change en masse. I’m not saying I start any revolutions, but if enough of us do something maybe it will be meaningful.

In our company, leaders are encouraged to demonstrate sustainability leadership, so this is also a sneaky way of getting a career development objective on the list 🙂

Blog posts (practical)

3. I will post to the blog weekly.

My current plan is to post every Tuesday, but I’m willing to change if necessary. I want to grow the readership of this blog, and one of the ways to do that is to provide consistent content. I want people to want to come back frequently, and for that I need updates.

Short journeys (practical)

4. I will not use the car for short journeys.

This is one of the types of things I want to address with the blog: using the car to make short journeys when I know I should be walking (or jumping on the bus or rescuing my bike from the garage) but I don’t because doing so will be a little more inconvenient for me.

Pre-packed sandwiches (practical)

Not this time, ham and cheese.

5. I will not buy pre-packaged sandwiches.

I mentioned this in my last blog post as it’s been on my mind a lot recently. I need to treat pre-packaged sandwiches (or any other lunch items) as emergency items and not as a replacement for actually planning my meals.


So that’s my intentions this year. Check back in regularly to see how I’m getting on.

Have you made any resolutions this year? Are any of them sustainability themed? Feel free to tell me about them in the comments below, or wherever you found this post. And happy new year!