Alright, so who is pumped to start going to the gym everyday at 5:00 AM in a polar vortex? Not us, and probably not you either. That’s the issue with resolutions, so many people set goals they’re NOT excited about. That’s why all of our resolutions this year focus on something that really gets us going: sustainability. We’ve set specific, attainable eco-friendly resolutions that we’re jazzed about, and bonus! They’re not restrictive. They allow us to improve ourselves and the planet without giving up the things we love (we’ll never leave you Small Cheval Burger covered in garlic aioli). We hope you’ll approach your resolutions in the same way and consider adding some Green Freak approved resolutions to your list as well 😉
Be kinder to our bodies and the environment
We love food, we love the free Cheetos at work, we love ordering chicken nuggets at 2:00 AM. The thing is though, a lot of the foods we love are bad for us and the planet. So we’re going to cut back. Are we going to become vegans? No, but reducing meat is our starting point for this goal. It can’t be denied that meat-based diets contribute to a number of health issues including diabetes and heart disease. It also contributes to climate change. According to an article published by the NRDC, when Americans consumed 19 percent less beef between over a 9-year time span, the amount of climate-warming pollution we eliminated was equivalent to taking 39 million cars off the road. So our goal here is simple: be a little less carnivorous. We’ll start by trying one new vegan dish or vegan restaurant per month. If we can find a plant-based recipe that will satisfy our 2:00 am chicken nug cravings AND lessen climate change, we’ll take it (because the future generation of Chicago should not have to find out what -50 degrees feels like).
Lose the “new event, new outfit” mindset.
Let’s be honest, social media is to blame for this epidemic. No one wants to post a picture in the same top two weekends in a row, ya know, because the whole world is watching our Instagram through a microscope and if it sees a repeat outfit we’ll inevitably be cast to the outskirts of society… *eye roll.* Sarcasm aside, we do understand the craving for newness. A fresh outfit has the potential to boost confidence and self-esteem, so we’re not boycotting Michigan Ave, but when that inevitable 37th wedding invite makes its way to our mailbox, we’re going to employ our eco-conscious shopping strategies (i.e., borrowing, renting or buying secondhand) before we resort to purchasing *gasp* a virgin piece of clothing.
Also (and this is a big also), regardless of how we find the dress for that 37th wedding, we’re going to think about what we’re buying. As consumers we’re conditioned to believe every purchase is urgent, but here’s the thing, urgency is profitable, not practical. Buying a dress in one click is great for the retailer, but for the consumer there’s a good chance it will result in regret and anxiety. So with any purchase we make, big or small, new or used, we’ll apply the “buying a couch mentality.” We’ll think about the item for at least 48 hours before pressing that “place order” button and we bet our mental, economical and environmental health will benefit as a result.
Minimize the complaining, maximize the creating
Complaining is on trend, just look at meme culture, it’s built on sarcasm, irony and self-deprecating humor (which is important, memes never go away please), but we need more people to take their complaints and turn them into ideas. Example: one of our most recent complaints at the office (sustainability-wise at least) was that we have too much plasticware, so we asked for more silverware, which was met with a real quick NOPE. We ranted about the fact that people are too lazy to wash dishes and then we moved on.
What if we went further though? What if we thought about ways to encourage others to bring their own utensils the way we do? What if we spent 2 minutes complaining and 20 minutes creating? We’d probably have a handful of strategies to help others reduce their reliance on single-use utensils. So for this eco-friendly resolution, we’ll still be complaining (life is not perfect and venting is a necessary survival tactic), but once the vent sesh concludes, we’ll write down that complaint, think of 3 ways we can solve the issue and then take action.
Mental Health > Environmental Health
This will always be number one on our list (yes it’s number 4, but don’t you put the most important last but not least..?). Living a more sustainable life is NOT easy, so it is okay to not be eco-friendly in every part of your life. If using eco-friendly skin care makes you breakout, don’t use it. If replacing meat with beans makes your stomach hurt, don’t do it. It’s the whole “put on your own oxygen mask before putting on someone else’s” mentality. If you’re not in a positive mental state you’re not going to be able to help move the planet in a positive direction either. So we’ll be making a list of the top 5 things that make us feel like our best selves and we won’t be giving any of those things up, even if might not be the most eco-conscious habit.
And that’s it! Those are our eco-friendly resolutions for 2020. It is important to note, they are not set in stone, nothing ever is. You should always leave room for flexibility. These goals may get tweaked as the year goes on, but right now they’re our starting point to becoming more sustainable, wellness-focused human beings and like we said before, we’re super jazzed about it. Let us know what resolutions you’re excited to get started on, especially if you are actually pumped about going to the gym at 5:00 AM in a polar vortex (please teach us your ways). Regardless, we’re excited you’re here and we’re even more excited to be sharing our sustainability journey with you. Happy New Year!