I don’t normally make New Year’s resolutions.
Want to know why? Well, driven by the insanity that is December/January of every year, I’m sure that at one time or another we’ve all been guilty of crafting resolutions that don’t succeed.
New Year’s resolutions are there to be broken, right?
The Guardian backs this up. Did you know that less than 10% of resolutions are kept by the end of the year, and that 25% of people who make them also break them by 15 January?
Personally, I feel like it’s best to make these life-altering improvements when I’m mentally and emotionally ready to make them and when I know, for certain, that I can commit. A mandated milestone in the annual calendar has in the past – to be quite honest – done nothing much at all to help me with this.
Regardless of all this, I also understand that some people relish the structure and ‘fresh start’ offered by such an important cultural occasion. As much as I’ve been a little virtuous about it all (oh, come on… who hasn’t, at one point or another?), I have to admit that I too kinda like the excuse to turn over a new leaf. I’m admitting it.
So you know what? I’ve decided to set a couple of goals.
Well, three to be exact. Call them resolutions, call them aims, call them ideas… but whatever you call them, don’t call them failures. Nope! I’ve got totally realistic and have set myself a few achievables for 2019.
Okay, so for the sake of full transparency, my alcohol intake is pretty large. I’m fine, it’s not a substitute for anything, but what can I say? Cam and I just love wine. We can easily polish off a bottle each night.
This is, of course, exacerbated by the cultural norm of drinking around the holiday periods, and especially during the very Christmassy time of year that is December. There’s wine on the shelf, mulled wine on the stove, wine on sale at the supermarket… not to mention wine in huge volumes when making one of our 100s of (extremely enjoyable) holiday house visits to dear friends.
In fact, did you know that during the busiest holiday periods most Americans double the amount of alcohol they usually drink?
But whatever. I think you get it: I love wine.
But you probably also get that I’ve decided I need to be a bit kinder to my body and give my liver a bit of a holiday. I’ve stopped entirely before, and to be honest that felt really, really good. I slept better, I ate better… I just generally felt more able to deal, ya know?
So… it’s a realistic goal. I know it’s within my sights.
And because of this, I’m thinking of setting a little additional goal. Sure, dry January is totally fine, but if I’m doing well, why not extend it?
Stay tuned to see if I make it!
Small steps towards a healthy environment
You’ve probably gathered by now that I am, essentially, a massive lefty having trouble adjusting to life under the orange man’s reign here in the grand ol’ USA.
This being said, I’m definitely not as environmentally conscious as a I could or should be.
One of the issues I want to tackle is reducing the amount of non-biodegradable plastic I use. And what better way to start with that than zeroing in on my love of sparkling water?
My god. I LOVE sparkling water. I’m a total sparkling water diva. I drink it in the car, at work, on the weekends, at dinner parties. Basically, whenever I’m not drinking wine, I’m drinking sparkling water! But what’s really s*itty about this is that I always buy it in plastic bottles. You don’t want to see what our recycling bin looks like… not cool!
So you know what I’m doing? I’m buying the resurgence of the century… a SodaStream!
In recent times, the SodaStream company has done a massage push on the environmentally conscious nature of its products. Check it out here in this cute little ad. And me? I’m done. I’m in.
The only monumental decision left here is which colour/model to select? HALP! (Update: I went for the classic in Icy Blue)
The other little element of my beverage-addicted nature is that I buy and drink a lot of tea. This is an easy fix, though. Did you catch the ABC’s War on Waste? It went a huge way towards helping people, like me, feel they could make a significant impact on waste and waste management practices in Australia, and to be honest, the world over.
As for me? I’m now the proud owner of a KeepCup. Never going back.
Limiting the tech
“Clare, you moved to Silicon Valley. Why the hell are you talking about limiting your tech use when you live in one of the most tech-savvy communities in the world? You idiot”.
Yeah, yeah. Ok. I get it’s a little bit weird. But the fact is that living and working here means that technology – and discourse surrounding technology – is soldered into literally every aspect of our daily working lives. I’m around it at work, I’m around it when driving my car, I’m around it when sorting nearly every aspect of my life from the comfort of my own, little handheld smart device. And you know what? I’m over it.
Haha. Well, not completely.
But did you know that humans who have access to this kind of tech are known to spend approximately 30 minutes per day just scrolling? Add that up over the course of a year and that’s 182 hours, or, a whole extra week (with no sleep) that you could be dedicating to something else. Imagine doing anything for 30 minutes, once a day, for a whole year? Imagine what you could learn? The relationships you could form?
So… I promised you I’d be practical though, right?
Full disclosure: I’ve not actually started this resolution. It’s something I’m trying to work out the best way of doing. The tough thing is that I have one phone, and one phone only which I use for both business and personal stuff. It’s something I’ve chosen though, I understand that (who wants to manage more than one device? Not me).
The fact is that I can definitely separate myself from my work, but I’m perhaps not so good at managing my tech consumerism more generally. That is, I mean, that I just love it. I love the efficiency it can induce, the possibilities it can offer… it’s just so hard to consider cutting down!
That being said, the possibility of spending more time on my phone than actually observing the world around me is enough to really set me off. I’ve read some commentators’ musings which suggest that many of us parents are spending more time on/around our phones than directly communicating with our children, and especially in the evenings when we get home from work. Guilty!
So… what to do?
Maybe I could consider a rule where I put my phone in a basket for a couple of hours after getting home, and then try (TRY!) not to look at it until the kids go to bed.
If that’s too extreme for a first go, perhaps I could turn off notifications completely?
They’re two options. Do you have any that work for you?
But as I said right from the beginning: I love a challenge as much as the person next to me, but to make these resolutions fulfilling, to help them to succeed, I need to think about small steps and something that’s achievable for me and my tendencies.
Yep. Small steps indeed.
All of this considered, New Year is meant to represent new beginnings, right?
So it is that I wish that my friends who had a really tough year in 2018 a fresh and really great one this time ‘round. My one wish is that in times of trial I can deal with things by showing same level of grace and tenacity shown by some of my dear friends.
As for us? I hope it’s a year of adventure for our family. That we can do a bit more travel and exploration, budget-dependent of course!
Perhaps, then, resolutions could also be about accepting the ‘new’. Could we do that? Do away with cutting down on stuff and instead turn our eyes to the temptations of wonderful, new experiences? Maybe then the old/unhealthy ones would simply become less enticing.
Lots of people could do with a fresh beginning, right? And if NYE is symbolic for you, there’s no judgement being passed here.
Go for it, I say. I’ll join you.