Minimalist Resolutions

This is the time of year when my family and friends, amidst Thanksgiving feasts and Christmas cookies, declare their New Year’s Resolutions for the coming year.  And since we all survived the End of the World without a scratch, it looks like 2013 will be here before we know it, in just a few days!

The typical resolutions end up like some of those Christmas gifts we didn’t ask for but got anyway… left, forgotten, under the bed or on a shelf somewhere.  We see them in March or April and think, “Oh yeah, I should do something about that…” but eventually they just fall into the void.  Common resolutions include things like:

  • Lose weight
  • Start _______ (something you’ve had plenty of time to start already)
  • Start a vacation fund
  • Join a gym
  • Quit smoking

These are all admirable goals, but if you haven’t started already, why is January 1, 2013 going to be any easier a time to start?  When I wanted to start walking daily, I just decided that day I would take a walk every day.  It was a Saturday.  Do I still walk every day? No, it’s cold out and I have yet to get winter boots or gloves.  But I didn’t wait for Monday or the first of the month or the first of the year to start doing something I wanted to do.  In any case, here are some new resolutions that you can make that align with your minimalist ideals.  The best part is, you don’t have to wait until 2013 if you don’t want to, you can just start today!

  • Remove one thing from your space per day.  This could be old mail, or it could be a shirt you’re not wearing or a pair of earrings you got for Christmas and know you will never wear.  Declutter one item per day (or per week if one per day is overwhelming).
  • Eliminate disposable cups.  This is an idea I got from Sandra at Living Lagom.  Bring a travel mug or cup with you to coffee shops or restaurants like Chipotle that use paper cups even for eat-in customers.  Or, you can sit down at a coffee shop – they usually have proper mugs and cups for eat-in customers if you request them.  For every disposable cup you DO use in 2013, put $1 into a charity fund for an environmental organization, and/or find one disposable cup in the garbage to recycle.  I love this resolution!
  • Participate in Project 333, just once.
  • Flip your hangers, set a deadline, and honestly get rid of the items you haven’t worn after your time is up.
  • Stick to a one-in, one-out rule and eliminate one like item for every item you bring into your home in 2013.
  • Eat three (or more) vegan meals per week.  This is a non-scary way to reduce the amount of high-cholesterol meat, eggs, and dairy in your diet.  I can’t tell you how many people say to me, “I want to be vegetarian, but bacon!” or “I would love to be vegan, but cheese!”  Meat and cheese and eggs aren’t necessarily bad for you in moderation, but so few people truly do consume them in moderation.  A resolution to eat three or more vegan meals per week will increase culinary creativity, as well as help instill a sense of moderation without banning all of the bacon and cheese you crave.  Just only have bacon once a week.  (Is my boyfriend reading this?).
  • Don’t go to bed with dirty dishes in the kitchen.  This has been my kitchen motto since I moved into my apartment in June, and it’s always wonderful to have all my dishes clean to start each day.
  • Quit smoking.  Make the resolution every day.  The cravings will go away after about six months (according to my mom).  You can do it.

For 2013, I have several mini-resolutions.  I haven’t decided on their order yet, but I would like to try the following throughout the year:

  • Project 333
  • One month without a microwave
  • No disposable cups (all year)
  • Reverse 100 Things Challenge (declutter 100 items in a year)
  • Upcycle old shirts into grocery produce bags
  • One month without eating out (yeah, right)

Are you making a New Year’s Resolution?

21 thoughts on “Minimalist Resolutions

  1. Bethany@OurSoCalledLife says:

    I made resolutions last year, and they were a really positive thing, something to aim for. Some of them I achieved, some I didn’t, and some I modified, because our needs changed in that area. The important thing, with any goal setting, is to remember that the journey is more important than the destination. It’s what you gain along the way, that really matters, not whether you actually “arrive.”

    This year, I’m doing a one-word theme instead. I chose “love” as my theme, and will try to meet various goals surrounding that. Here is the post I did on it: http://oursocalledlife.blog.com/2012/12/24/my-one-word-theme-for-2013-love/

    • Caitlin says:

      That sounds wonderful! Good luck🙂 Maybe I’ll think of a theme too, that seems like a really great way to encourage year-long growth and change for the better.

  2. markadamdouglass says:

    No resolutions for me. I’m not a fan of setting arbitrary dates to start things, as discussed above. I started my blog on July 11th. No meaning attached to it, the day just felt right.

    Just continuing my continuous self improvement, one day at a time.

  3. Nicola B says:

    I’ve not had a microwave for 2 1/2 years (since we moved in to our house) and I’ve not missed it at all. Microwave popcorn is the only thing I can’t make, which I can live without! And I much prefer the space on the work surfaces to the potential convenience of the microwave…

    I have several resolutions for next year….but I have started them already, as it seems silly to wait! I have tried to make specific resolutions/ targets, such as ‘pass this test’ or ‘plan meals’, rather than more vague ones like ‘lose weight’. I’d like to lose weight, but I am going to try to form habits that lead to that, rather than weight loss being the sole goal.

    On the ‘starting on Jan 1st’ point- I think it is good to have a starting point, whether or not you choose 1st Jan, because then you can look back at where you started and measure your progress.

    • Caitlin says:

      I agree that vague resolutions like “lose weight” aren’t really the best. More specific goals, like taking a daily walk, or eating three servings of vegetables each day, etc. are better habits to get into! Perhaps we should resolve to make habits instead of to reach a goal. I think more people would succeed that way!

      • Nicola B says:

        Definitely- there is no point making a resolution with no idea about how you will achieve it…and if you make a resolution that is essentially a short term fix, you’ll just find yourself making the same resolution year after year! (Which I used to do!)

  4. living lagom says:

    Just to clarify, I didn’t go garbage picking, I’m too much of a germaphobe. I took cups I found on the ground (kind of less icky) or empty ones left behind on store shelves.

    I like to give myself yearly “challenges” like the disposable cup thing. One year I gave up Coca Cola and going to McDonald’s for the whole year. I like using January 1 as a starting point after all the gluttony of December.

    This year, I’m going to…well, you’ll have to wait and see! I’m SO mysterious.😉

  5. livingsimplyfree says:

    I don’t have the typical resolutions, but rather goals I’ve set for myself. For instance, I want to increase the size and number of plants I grow in the garden this year, and seeking to find a freezer to store my excess bounty in. By putting up more of my own food I will eat better and if I can lose weight, even better. My goals are more about lifestyle choices than hard fast rules I have to follow to reach the goal.

    • Caitlin says:

      I hope to start a garden this year, at my mom’s house. That’s definitely a goal!🙂 I love all the comments I’m seeing about people’s goals for the next year. Thanks for all of your comments🙂

  6. moteviolence says:

    I like your list! To replace single use cups earlier this year I bought a 12oz Klean Kanteen to use as my coffee mug and a 20oz KK for my water. It makes a huge difference and definitely makes you more conscious.

  7. dollymixtures4me says:

    Hi Caitlin, I like Bethany have chosen a word/theme for 2013 – focus – and am currently compiling 13 goals for the new year too. I prefer the word goals to resolutions as I associate resolutions with repeated failed attempts. I also set monthly mini-goals. I think the key is getting started and trying to practise the goal/resolution everyday. I’ve enjoyed my first read here and will be back for more. Claire at Just a little less xo

    • Caitlin says:

      Glad you enjoyed reading, I hope you like my other posts as well! I think I am at a place where I choose to describe my “resolutions” as “directions” or “habits.” I want to move in the direction of being healthier… by eating better food and moving more. No numerical goals, no possible failure as long as I move in that direction. I look forward to hearing more about your focus goals!

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