Setting a sustainable new year’s resolution can be a great step for a greener planet in 2022. However, making a sustainable new year’s resolution is not enough. We also have to set a realistic target and a clear plan to achieve our sustainable new year’s resolutions. According to research from the University of Scranton, only 8% of people can accomplish their new year’s resolutions.
So, what can we do to make and keep our sustainable new year’s resolutions?
Focus on the Most Prioritized Behavior
A sustainable new year’s resolution would be difficult to accomplish if we have a lot of priorities. Hence, we can start making a sustainable new year’s resolution by choosing what behavior we want to change the most. Start to reflect on yourself. Which part of your behavior that most negatively affects the environment? For instance, if we realize that we often produce food waste in our daily consumption, we can set a sustainable new year’s resolution by committing to reduce food waste.
Start with a Small Simple Step
The most common mistake in creating a new year’s resolution is setting a big and ambitious target. However, that ambitious target is often unachievable. Hence, it is better for us to set a realistic target by starting to change our behavior with a small simple step that can have a bigger impact.
Starting a #MeatlessMonday diet, for instance, can be a good idea to start reducing our carbon footprint. Although this sounds like a small act, it can create a positive impact on the environment because beef produces more carbon and water than vegetables. We can also start with other small acts for the environment such as sorting our waste, adopting a plant, using our used products, and using tumblers and shopping bags to reduce single-use plastic.
Make Our Sustainable Resolution Stick
When we’ve done one sustainable activity, we have to make that activity to be our routine. Try to repeat that activity for 2-7 days in a row until it is built into our new habit. We can also monitor our sustainable habits by using a carbon footprint application to make us aware of the carbon footprint we reduce and produce. Asides from that, we can also try to find support from a community that has a concern on environmental issues to keep us motivated.
Stick to Our Long Term Goal
The thing that potentially fails our new year’s resolution is our tendency to choose a smaller reward at the present moment rather than a bigger reward in the future. It is known as present bias. For instance, in a particular situation, we prefer to combine our organic and inorganic waste because it is more efficient. In fact, by choosing efficiency at the present moment, we have lost our opportunity to gain a bigger reward in the future: a clean and sustainable environment.
Therefore, don’t be trapped by present bias. Try to stick with our long-term goal. Climate change has created many catastrophic events across the world. The National Agency for Disaster Management of Indonesia notes that there are at least 3058 disasters which are mostly affected by climate change.
Making a sustainable new year’s resolution can be one of the solutions to combat climate change at the individual level. A sustainable new year’s resolution also supports the implementation of sustainable consumption and production that has become part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).