Despite the determination and focus they bring, I've never been very good at sticking to New Year resolutions. Rather than a lack of willpower, I put this down to a lack of accountability.
I've been doing some work with non-profit organisations in the last quarter of 2019 and have seen firsthand how a deep-rooted need for accountability can help achieve goals. As an Individual Member of 1% For the Planet, I'm expected to upload donation receipts and proof of income. This radical transparency not only keeps all participants honest but also encourages and keeps them on track.
At the risk of humiliating myself should I fail, I'm sharing this year's resolutions publicly...
Fancy food belongs in fancy places.
I drink a shocking amount of barista-made coffee and Coca-Cola and spend a disgusting amount of money on take-out lunches and dinner. It's time to nail these issues with a simple solution: If I want restaurant food, I'll eat at restaurants. I'll also only allow myself a Coca-Cola if it's in one of those locations. As far as coffee's concerned, I'll make coffee at home and take it with me unless I'm drinking it in one of my favourite locations.
Become more carbon effective.
My second resolution is to become more carbon effective in 2020. My goal is not to offset the carbon I produce — although I will be doing that to the tune of being over 200% carbon-positive thanks to more-than-profit Bristol-based Offset Earth — but to instead mitigate as much carbon production as possible whilst simultaneously maximising the effectiveness of the carbon I cannot mitigate. That means buying organically, locally, and sustainably wherever possible and being even more selective with the things I spend my cash on.
Continue a cultural education.
Education should not be a funnel but a wide line and I believe some of our most important lessons and insights come from things that are far divorced from classrooms and curriculum. In 2019, I grabbed myself both a National Trust membership and a National Art Fund Pass and used both to visit heritage sites and galleries across the South. Not only did it mean I was intentionally carving time each week for my own headspace and education but this led me to visit places I never thought I would be interested in, like places of worship. Although my membership to both has lapsed, I intend continue visiting locations of cultural significance in 2020. Somerset House's 24/7 exhibition is one of the first on my list as is Andy Warhol's exhibition when it visits the Tate Modern in March.
Address technological hygiene.
I've become very lackadaisical about my technological hygiene by allowing tech to seep into places it probably shouldn't be: I've begun sleeping with my phone again. My life-technology balance needs re-addressing and I intend to start 2020 with a few simple and easily actionable steps to get back on track; to move my phone out of my bed and back to its charging pad on the other side of my bedroom, to turn on Screen Time for my devices and monitor where I can improve, and to take a break from my one remaining social media platform for a period of time, Twitter.
So, to recap:
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