By Bailey Chenevert
2022, New Year, New You!
Although only 9% of people stick with their New Year’s resolutions, 2022 is as good a year as any for change. We’re here to help with some tips for reimagining common resolutions in a way to maximize success, as well as some new resolution ideas for those also wanting to take on more conscious habits.
A New Guide for the Staples
Getting in better shape made up 3 of the top 5 most common resolutions in 2021. Every year, millions of people set their goals for improving their overall health. While you may not immediately think of Jan 1 as a big time for consumer spending, the health and fitness industry, valued at a whopping $72 billion, certainly looks at it that way. If you have your sights set on fitness-related resolutions, you may find yourself going all-in on consumer purchases like pre-made meals and new exercise equipment. Other common goals, like starting a new hobby or quitting a bad habit may have industries pushing products that can “guarantee success.”
These purchases aren’t usually necessary or effective in order to achieve success, plus remember how most resolutions don’t make it past January? So what happens to all those newly purchased goods and subscriptions? To avoid resolution-related waste, and to feel accomplished in your newly set goals, try approaching it with a mind for “sustainability.” We don’t mean sustainability in the commonly used eco-definition, but in its more general definition – the ability for something to be maintained.
Try these three tips for a more sustainable approach to new goals:
1. Don’t set too many! Goal fatigue is a real thing and can ultimately be a resolution killer. People are often so excited for the start of a new year that they go overboard on what they hope to accomplish (saving money and eating healthier and quitting smoking all in one), and this only leads to missing out on multiple goals. Instead, try setting one to two goals max for a month, and see how long you can make it last.
2. Research before your buy! Do your goals require an investment or some upfront cost? Save money on new hobbies by doing some research and talking to old pros about what’s really worth a beginner’s money. Buying less upfront is usually best (for your wallet and the planet), but for goals that require some investment, compare brands or retailers on the Cluey app for brands that at least align with your values. There’s nothing more demotivating than looking into your miscellaneous closet only to see the skeletons of previous resolutions. Overall, if you can wait on investing money in your resolution until you’ve begun to at least form a habit around it, there’s a better chance it’ll stick and not go to waste.
3. Accountability is key! A lot of common resolutions these days can be supported by apps that offer support groups. Even better, find a friend who shares a goal with you and work on your resolutions together! Progress is always more fun (and more sustained) when you’re being held accountable by others.
Consider Impact-Focused Goals As Well
While you have goal-setting on the brain, let us tempt you with an area you may not have previously considered, but one that may have synergies with common goals: improving your consumer habits to be better for people and the planet. Did you know that last year saving money was the third most common resolution? And it’s one that intrinsically requires buying less (good for the planet!) The conscious consumerism movement is growing, and New Year’s resolutions is a great opportunity to get in on it.
Creating goals around being a more conscious and sustainable consumer can be overwhelming and at times discouraging, not unlike other goals. The dire need to solve our world’s problems can create a sense of urgency and undue burden on impact-minded individuals to create life-changing habits as soon as possible. But like any New Year’s resolution, you’ll be more successful with impact-focused goals by minimizing the whiplash of big objectives (like going vegan after eating meat your whole life) and taking it one small step at a time. Again, remember to just pick one or two to maximize your chances for success! For inspiration, we’ve rounded up suggestions and ideas from our own collaborators here at Cluey (shoutout to Kelly, Jess, Maryclaire, and me, Bailey, for these!)
- “I’m going to be testing out new household products and transitioning them (as I run out) from my current single use items to less wasteful alternatives when they’re available (like wool balls over dryer sheets, and shampoo and conditioner bars over bottled products.)”
- “I learned this year how Amazon employees, on average, receive less than their regional living wage for grueling labor and insecure employment. I’m resolving to cancel my Prime membership and find alternatives to Amazon, looking for retailer brands that score more positively on their People impacts.”
- “ I want to volunteer each month with a local non-profit in my community to learn about new organizations, make a positive impact, and make some new friends!”
- “I’m aiming to read a book a month on world-changing ideas regarding the current problems we face as a society. This will help me approach these topics with more informed optimism (starting with the Cluey recommended holiday reads).”
- “This year, with the upcoming midterm elections and having recently moved, I want to register in my new state and pick a candidate whose vision and values I share and phonebank for them. I need to start my research now to identify all of the races happening, the issues being discussed, and who I most closely align with. I’m going to start by visiting vote411.org, which is powered by The League of Women Voters Education Fund.”
- “I’m making a resolution to compost every week (there’s a drop off across from my building so no excuses).
- “I’m going for minimal food waste as a resolution. I recently bought an at-home composting machine, but I also want to upcycle food scraps in creative ways, like onion peels and celery roots to make my own homemade broth. I’m also going to plan my grocery trips more efficiently by using the estimator at savethefood.com, powered by the Natural Resources Defense Council.”
Changing habits is… difficult. Even something like drinking an extra cup of water everyday can take months to become a habit. If any of your new habits require new purchases, or if you simply want to start buying from better brands for people and the planet, let the Cluey app do some of the hard work for you. It’s full of information about the impacts of our purchases to help you achieve a variety of your New Year’s resolutions.
Bailey Chenevert is a freelance journalist and guest editorial contributor for Cluey Consumer. As a current master’s student at Appalachian State University, Bailey is researching the ways media consumption impacts our psychology. Bailey is passionate about impartial reporting on consumerism and the impacts that fashion brands have on our modern world. She has more than six years of experience in journalism as a writer, editor and director.