Eco-Conscious, Life

Setting SMART Resolutions for 2020

I know that people seem to love or hate resolutions (the primary argument against them being “if you want to make a change, why do you need to do it in January?”), but I am in the camp of people that love them! I love the idea of a fresh start, setting goals and making plans to make them happen.

2019 has been a year of complete chaos, despite many of the chaotic changes being good things (lots of satisfying projects at work, getting married, moving into our home)… I’m really hoping that 2020 can maybe chill out a bit and not be quite so crazy. I have some general goals for the year (keep working out like I did for all of 2019, continue pouring my free time into reading, commit to posting at least twice per week here) as well as some specific resolutions. I noticed that there was a theme of conscious and intentional living in my resolutions, so I’m going to share them here as a means of holding myself accountable.

When I worked for the University of Wisconsin system, we would set yearly scopes of work for ourselves in what we’d be teaching / addressing, the thematic umbrella of our work and the specific projects and articles / research we’d be engaged in and tied SMART goals to them. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Constrained and I find that they are an effective way to set goals that are specific enough and measurable enough that you don’t slump out on achieving them. I’m trying to use that approach in quantifying my 2020 resolutions.

In 2020 I will make a point to not buy any newly-produced clothing for the entire year unless absolutely unavoidable.

  • Specifying: Clothing should not be newly-produced if purchased (ie, from a regular store). Pre-owned, consigned or rented clothing are OK alternatives.
  • Measurable: Keep myself accountable by tracking my purchases on Quickbooks and analyze at the end of the year what stores were listed under the Clothing expenditure category.
  • Attainable: I’ve worked toward thrifting and renting more of my wardrobe this year, there’s no reason why I can’t go all the way in 2020.
  • Relevant: This decision is in keeping with the way I try to live (putting the environment first)
  • Time-constrained: This isn’t forever, it’s just for this year.

In 2020 I will grocery shop in a more environmentally-sustainable fashion by shopping locally, buying surplus foods and by not buying single use plastics wherever possible.

  • Specifying: I will shop for my produce at the farmers market when it is market season (June-September) and purchase produce from Imperfect Foods* (my review to come on this soon!) in market off-season to ensure that I’m buying as farm-direct as possible. I will bring my own mesh bags and containers for dry goods and buy them from the bulk bins wherever possible. If something is only available packaged, I will not buy single use packaging.
  • Measurable: I will keep myself accountable by posting my grocery haul each week and highlighting packaging alternatives I use and find.
  • Attainable: I already use my own reusable bags at the grocery store and my store offers a generous bulk section. There’s no reason I can’t bring my own bags for produce, grains, beans, nuts, etc.
  • Relevant: This decision is in keeping with the way I try to live (putting the environment first)
  • Time-constrained: I only grocery shop once a week and I would like to shift that to bi-weekly by engaging in better meal planning. I can easily commit to 26 responsible trips to the grocery store!

*Just wanted to point out that in my blog post about meal kits a few months ago, I discovered myself in the writing process that grocery delivery services that are farm or point source direct are actually better for the environment than shopping at a traditional store because of the shipping/logistics process. Who knew?!

In 2020 I will reduce my personal waste generation by starting a home composting system.

  • Specifying: I will work to build a three chambered bin composting system in our backyard this spring with a goal of it being up and running by early June. I already have some fantastic resources from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources on-hand at home!
  • Measurable: I will keep a to-compost bin next to my garbage can so it becomes a force of habit to re-route food waste from our garbage to our compost pile.
  • Attainable: I used to drop off our food waste at a central composting station, but the process became very not-apartment-friendly when the compost program stopped accepting biodegradable bags. Having it in my own backyard should be doable.
  • Relevant: This decision is in keeping with the way I try to live (putting the environment first)
  • Time-constrained: I have been wanting to do this since we lived in the apartment, we will use the timeframe of moving into our new home as a good time to start a new habit.

In 2020 I will give financially to organizations that I believe are making the world a better place.

  • Specifying: I can be more generous than what I am now and I know it. No time like the present to change that! I will set aside a certain amount weekly in cash and give in a lump sum quarterly to a charity of my choice that supports a cause I truly believe in.
  • Measurable: I will make sure this happens by labeling an envelope for this specific purpose and setting aside a set amount of cash per week. My husband is also committing to this goal with me, so we can hold each other accountable!
  • Attainable: Realistically, I spend money on plenty of stupid things. I can spend money on things that make a difference.
  • Relevant: This decision is in keeping with the way I try to live.
  • Time-constrained: This is a goal for one year. If it fits our budget for the future, hopefully I can make this a lifelong goal, but for now it’s just for one year.

Thanks for bearing with me as I shared my goals for 2020 – I appreciate your reading as this tool will help me to stay accountable!

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