Today’s post is a guest blog post by Kaitlyn Nakagoshi of the University Alliance, who submitted this article on behalf of The University of San Francisco’s online program. The University of San Francisco provides all the tools and resources necessary to gain a sustainable supply chain management certification online. Read on for tips on how to make your new year’s resolutions last beyond the month of January!

Make Your New Year’s Resolution Last – Make it Sustainable!

New Year’s resolutions are notorious for being broken – some after a few weeks, others after just a couple of days.  How can you make resolutions that are both meaningful and easy to keep?  By thinking sustainably and taking small steps towards positive change for the earth, you can make a resolution that you’ll be proud to carry with you throughout 2012 and beyond.

The resolution success rate will be much higher when helping others becomes a factor. It’s not just about the “new you” of the “new year”. Consider creating a healthier planet for future generations. Here are some suggestions to help get you started.

  • Start with baby steps and write reminders to yourself, placing them around the house.  In the laundry room, post a note to use cold water for all your wash loads.  Most of today’s detergents are so effective that clothing which once required warm or hot water will get just as clean in cold water.  Post another note by the back door as a reminder to take reusable bags with you to the grocery store, and by the mirror in your bathroom, tack on another note telling yourself to turn off the water while brushing your teeth.  These small, simple steps should become habits in no time.
  • Remember: You are what you eat and drink!  Farmers markets are an excellent way to support local agriculture and stock up on produce.  Many offer CSA options (Community Supported Agriculture) where individuals pay in advance for a portion of the farmer’s total seasonal crop.  Seek out restaurants that are locally owned and prepare dishes with local ingredients.   Have fun with meal planning and try some vegetarian and vegan recipes several times a week.  Other food and drink related ideas include using reusable tumblers and travel mugs for drinks and containers for keeping your lunches hot.
  • Paper towels are more wasteful than most people realize.  Purchase stashes of kitchen towels (or better yet, recycle your old and worn towels) that can be washed as often as necessary.  Use them for drying hands, wiping down counters and cleaning up spills.
  • Get off the couch and help both your heart and the environment! Start walking and/or riding your bike to nearby locations.  Many communities are making strides to become more walkable, and others have added bike paths that include stops at local shopping plazas.  Start exploring your hometown from more perspectives than the driver’s seat of your car.
  • What kind of recycling services does your community have?  If you don’t know, call to find out the guidelines for trash and recycling.  Some towns allow all recyclables to be combined in one receptacle, while others require residents to separate glass, plastic, newspapers, etc.  You might even have to drive your recyclables to a transfer station in some cases.  If you’re used to tossing everything in the trash, dump this old habit and resolve to be an informed recycler this year.

Many of us get caught up in the exciting potential of New Year’s resolutions, but isn’t it time we found something we can really stick to?  Start small and tackle changes that are manageable and instantly gratifying.  Gradually build good habits and by the end of 2012 you’ll be able to finally say you’ve stuck to your sustainable resolutions!