Resolutions for Nature
New Year’s Day marks many new beginnings — a new year, a new month, a new season as winter is very much in its infancy, and new goals.
Many people use this time of year to set resolutions, a firm decision to do or not do something in the coming year, usually accompanied by some sort of target if it is to be successfully accomplished.
For many, explore the outdoors, lose weight, increase time with family, reduce stress, save money or exercise more fall onto this list of resolutions. All worthy goals but how about adding in an element for nature too while aspiring to the challenges of change?
Here are ten ideas for nature-oriented goals that can also help save money, add exercise into a daily routine, spend more time with family and work towards a lower number when stepping on the scale.
Each small effort for nature can add up to much larger impacts. Considering that 2023 was the warmest year in recorded history and the 2030 goal of limiting global warming by 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels is quickly approaching, every little bit can help to achieve the larger, longer-term resolution to limit global warming.
This may not seem like a big deal but there are several benefits, including supporting the local community, saving money on buying less that may go to waste and reduced fuel costs for locally purchased food with lower shipping costs.
Reuse, reuse, reuse
Colorado is helping start the year off with this idea, as plastic bags are banned from use staring Jan. 1. There are many other options as well for reusing, such as reusable water bottles, coffee cups and bags. For those who can never remember to bring the bags into the store, find ones that stuff into themselves and then use carabiners to attach them to car keys, purse straps or something else always in the car. Or leave them in the car. Ring up groceries by not using bags in the checkout line but rather just putting them back in the cart and then filling the bags when unloading the cart at the car.
Walk or bike to work
This is an easy one to do in many towns today. With the popularity of encouraging people to be outdoors, many towns have created a network of trails throughout towns and cities. Walking or biking to work or to other events if work is too far saves gas money, helps towards the exercise goal and can assist with weight loss. Purchase a pair of spikes for the shoes to help with traction on ice or purchase a fat tire bike to get around town. Remember a warm face buff to keep the skin from the cold outside temperatures.
Yes, this sounds like Grandma reminding you that there are leftovers to eat in the fridge but preparing or buying a meal that can be split into two or even three portions will save calories at each meal, saves money on food and creates less waste. Casseroles, chili, pasta and soups all make great leftovers that heat well. These meal options are also hearty comfort food for a cold winter’s night. There are many cookbooks available for casseroles, soups and chili. Keep reusable containers in the kitchen that can be safe to microwave too.
Turn it off
Dads are always reminding kids to turn off those lights. There is something to that. It not only saves money but reduces electricity and light pollution. In addition to lights, consider unplugging from the wall — not just the light switch — any infrequently used appliances or electronics. Many have trickle charges or even worse, little glowing lights that use up energy over time.
Hit the trail
Make a commitment to hike once a week. I conveniently write a weekly column for the Estes Park Trail-Gazette that helps with this goal by publishing a Hike of the Week column every Friday. Some of the trails are longer, more adventurous treks but most are local, easy or short. Making a commitment by putting a scheduled hike on the calendar with help with the success of this goal plus the time in nature will help reduce stress and the activity can help reduce weight. For those not in Colorado, check your local newspapers or hiking clubs for hikes in your area or check the local library for books about a particular area for hiking. In Colorado, I love the Falcon Guide series for books like Best Lake Hikes Colorado and Hiking Waterfalls Colorado.
Typically, shopping local reduces fuel costs on shipping and saves a significant amount of packaging from places like Amazon. In more remote towns, like Estes Park or Jackson, Wyo., places like Dollar General, Ace Hardware, Safeway and Dollar Tree, will have a wide variety of supplies to pick up locally while buying online in bulk or combining orders into one shipment via Amazon, Chewy or Walmart will help save on packaging.
Make a habitat
This can be the most fun thing to do on this list as it can reduce stress, encourage time outdoors and be a source for learning. It may cost a little money to initially start a backyard habitat that encourages wildlife, insects and native plant species, but the long-term benefits outweigh the short-term impacts. Volunteers with local community gardens and garden clubs frequently give presentations around town about how to garden in your specific location or get involved with the organizations to learn how to start a backyard habitat full of butterflies, birds and bees in time for the spring and summer seasons. Books are available for reference, like The Backyard Bird Sanctuary, or add features like bee watering stations or bird houses to give wildlife the necessities of life, like shelter, water and native food, to attract them to the yard and garden.
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Keywords: lost weight, nature, new year, new year's resolutions, resolution, Resolutions near me, save money, tips for resolutions
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