2018 has been an incredible and difficult year all rolled into one, and I'm grateful to be alive and healthy heading into the beginning of 2019. This year was all about learning, failing, experimenting, testing, and finding my way as a small business owner in this world. 2018 was made up of tiny moments of vulnerability, love, uncertainty, and peace. To be able to carve out a bit of space in this world and cultivate a seed of passion is something I feel so lucky to do.
For 2019, I want to continue to grow and learn. I want to connect more with our local community - humans, animals, plants, nature. I want to find more peace with myself. I want to live more in the moment. But not lose sight of the bigger picture - keeping hope our natural planet will survive and contributing to her health.
Below I've written out 8 of my personal goals for 2019. I hope you share with me some of your commitments for our new year. I would love to hear from you!
Complete 30 day yoga journey with Yoga with Adriene
I did the 30 day yoga journey with Adriene to start 2017 and 2018 and it always sets the tone for my mental and physical health for the rest of the year. It’s a free program Adriene Mishler creates for her community (which is anyone who wants to practice!) She uploads a new practice each day which usually comes with an intention or theme.
Adriene’s approach to yoga is my totally my style: She doesn’t take herself too seriously, she’s rooted in the fundamentals and the history of yoga, she’s forgiving and she’s just cool to hang out with (virtually).
Yoga is a key component of my sustainable lifestyle – it helps me keep a healthy personal balance and make intentional choices. I would love to practice alongside you this January – email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are in!
Limit new, sustainable, and natural clothing
I made a goal to only buy secondhand clothing in 2018 (besides underwear and swimsuits) and except for one college sweatshirt (sorry but Go Cougs!) I successfully made it through this year sticking to my goal. Honestly, it was pretty easy with sites like Poshmark, a great local Goodwill and Buffalo Exchange.
I want to keep to up this intention for 2019 to mostly buy secondhand. But I’d like to give myself some leeway this year and try out new, sustainable labels and natural materials that will eventually break down back into earth. With the money I saved buying nothing new, I want to buy a few new, high quality pieces that will last years. I know I’ve been eyeing some Everlane things as January approaches :)
Celebrate the little things
This commitment isn’t super specific, but it’s something I’d like to incorporate into my life more in 2019. Life is full of these little amazing moments that I felt like I took for granted a bit in 2018. It’s been a busy year and I haven’t really slowed down to savor the moments. When I take the time to appreciate this life, I feel a stronger connection on the ‘why’ I started my business and a sustainable lifestyle in the first place.
And real talk for a sec, I have a lot of anxiety around death. During one of my most anxious and vulnerable moments this year, I had to take stock of what I really wanted to leave behind when I die. What real type of impact do I want to make? It became clear: To live a present life full of love and kindness and to help make positive changes to the environment as much as I can.
So when I slow down and celebrate the little victories in life I’m reminded of my purpose and the ultimate goals I hold dear.
Spend 1+hour monthly doing a personal beach/lake/park clean
Usually on my walks I pick up trash if I see it. But in 2019, I want to dedicate at least a full interrupted hour a month to picking up trash along the beach, the lake or a park. Ideally, I can also mobilize some friends to join me! But I’m holding myself accountable, first. It’s true there’s no way I can pick up all trash on a beach in one hour and there’s more that turns up every day. But one person CAN make a difference.
If you’d like to join me but you’re not local or can’t make it the day I’m cleaning, no problem! It would be great to start communication between individual folks dedicating an hour a month in their local communities! Let me know what you think.
Organize/purge my home for optimal storage + peace
Honestly, this feels like one of my intentions every year, but I really want to stick to it this year! My partner and I live in a small space and both of us use our house as an office. For me, my workspace has overflowed into our closet, kitchen table, and living room (sorry Mark!). I want to organize our spot so it feels like a house again, not a warehouse.
Also, I don’t know if anyone else feels like this, but sometimes trying to live more sustainably makes me feel like a bit of a hoarder. I have a lot of glass jars awaiting use, packing supplies and boxes I squirrel away for shipping out orders, and terracycle boxes I’m waiting to fill up. I have to be smarter on how I store these items and know when to donate them to others who have the space and can make use of them!
Having clean and minimal spaces in our home feels necessary for our mental health and it’s time I focus on them. My goal is to go through one room at a time, and not all at once. Starting with the bathroom in January!
Volunteer at least twice a month
Giving my time to my community is something that’s really important to me, but one of the first things to be sacrificed when I’ve scheduled too much on my calendar.
I want to make a commitment in 2019 to volunteering at least twice a month (even if it’s just an hour) to different organizations around Seattle. My favorite place to volunteer is at the senior home across the street from my house. I’ve taught a few yoga classes there, and they are always happy to have helpers with any activity! If you’d like to join me for an activity, let me know!
Provide monthly information on free / low-cost / easy ways to live more sustainably
I sell sustainable items that I really believe in. However, I acknowledge that they aren’t the most affordable or accessible when there are companies like Amazon who are able to sell cheaper (albeit some questionably sourced) sustainable items that can be more accessible to people.
I also acknowledge that there are high-priced products and clothing out there pushing the ‘green’ label that a lot of people can’t afford. Although most of the people I've personally interacted with through the sustainable movement are absolutely lovely people, there are also humans out there claiming to ‘live a zero-waste lifestyle’ and shame people who don’t live like them - not considering that some aspects of a sustainable lifestyle can be expensive at first, time-consuming, and largely inaccessible to lower-income communities.
I hope that one day this movement is practical, inclusive and accessible to all communities. But spending hours making your own soap, buying expensive stainless steel containers or growing your own food is just not realistic for a lot of people in the U.S. right now.
A big personal goal for me in 2019 is to create more content, provide more resources, and share information that help people live more sustainably for free or at a low cost AND are not super time consuming. There are ways in which we can all incorporate sustainable practices without comprising precious time or energy.
Create at least 3 art pieces made out of recycled materials / trash
Before I started my shop, I spent a lot of my free time creating animal sculptures out of cardboard. This is what inspired me to start viewing trash differently – as a resource instead of garbage. I would spend time dumpster diving and collecting paper bags from friends.
Creating 3 pieces of art in 2019 is my goal. I’d like to challenge myself to use mostly recycled materials and trash I’ve collected (this is where my beach cleans will be really useful!) I love creating animals and can't wait to work on some big pieces this year. Stay tuned…and follow along on Instagram for updates!
Thanks for reading some of my commitments I plan to make in 2019! Along with these, I hope to deepen my knowledge on what it means to 'be sustainable'. My actions are far from perfect and in 2019 I want to dive in on what's really making a difference. The sustainability movement is a newer movement and there's a lot of information out there on 'best practices'. Continuing to learn, being open, and being optimistic are qualities necessary for forward momentum and I'm ready for it!
What commitments do you resonate with? What goals are you setting this year? Let me know below!