Let’s face it, we don’t keep resolutions that don’t make life better right now. There’s no point in even trying. We’re wired to stick at things that bring us immediate benefit. Like those kiddies who can’t bring themselves to hold off eating the gummy bears even when they know they’ll get more if they wait 20 minutes, we want immediate gratification. We may as well run with it. So, here are 3 clever resolutions for the new year that really do make life better, now…

1. Break up with the supermarket

“Supermarkets are designed to make you over-spend, buy unhealthy food and cheap, toxic cosmetics and cleaners”, says Down to Earth Mother Jo Hegerty. And (we say) it can be a major bother in the butt to do your weekly shop there. Full parking lots, children screaming for a box of Coco Pops, bright, clinical lights… “Shopping in a supermarket enlivens my soul”… said no one ever.

So disgruntled Jo became with the big supermarkets, she broke up with them. And hasn’t looked back since. And she’s fine. Better, even. Here’s her take:

“My main reasons were: the dodginess of the supermarket duopoly, the crap they sell and the tactics they use to make us overspend, and also because I wanted to support local businesses, food producers, etc. My readers told me they wanted to ditch the big supermarkets because of ethical concerns, including the placement of pokie machines, trolley rage, expense and to create a sense of community.”

“When I talk to people about how I shop, they focus on what I’m missing out on: the convenience, the cheap own-brands, the variety, the specials! Here’s what else I’m missing out on: the shopping centre, those parent-hating “rides” that swallow $2 coins and cause massive tantrums, the car park jammed with angry people, the absolute tedium and monotony of traipsing up and down aisles with two kids and a trolley.”

“My kids come with me when we visit the “vegetable shop” or the “peanut butter shop”. We visit the health shop on the bike, or stop at the bakery or butcher on the way home from day care. We talk to the proprietors, the kids are often involved in what we buy – choosing it, carrying it, paying for it. It’s a better experience in every way.”

Whilst we’re not about boycotting, expanding your shopping horizons by sourcing your produce from small or local producers is definitely something we love to encourage people to do. Jo spells out exactly why she broke up with the big supermarkets in her post here and describes how she did and how you can too here.

2. Stop wasting food

If you’re like most Aussies, you probably throw out over $1,000 worth of food every year. That’s about $20 per week. That’s a coffee a day, or a buttery croissant a few times a week, or a nice dinner out, or a 20-min neck and shoulder massage. These are things you could be spending $20 on instead of throwing it in the bin. These things all make life better now.

Not wasting food also makes you feel better about yourself. You can feel good about the fact that you’re not sending food to landfill where it rots and emits methane, a greenhouse gas 25 times more potent than carbon. Or that you’re not wasting the hard labour of our farmers, or our precious resources. Just saying.
Wondering how to stop wasting food? The good news is that it’s very easy to avoid food waste. There’s no bad news. In fact, this year we are focussing on waste, so keep an eye and ear out for our info and tips. We’re also developing a short documentary about how to live waste-free… you can catch up on the details and contribute to our doco fund here:

3. Go plastic free

Plastic has infiltrated every miniscule corner of our lives, so it’s virtually impossible to avoid it completely. Times we can and should avoid, however, is when said plastic is so much as looking like it might touch our food.

Plastic contains all manner of toxins that can and do leach into food. BPA is a famous one (it’s banned in the EU). Sure there’s a whole suite of BPA-free products available nowadays, but there’s no guarantee these products don’t contain other toxins just as cruddy for you that can be absorbed and sit in your fat cells, circulate in your blood, cause inflammation, toxicity, etc…

Photo by Liesl Clark 

The best thing to do is to get yourself a stash of glass food storage containers (these can be re-used jars) and choose to limit the number of plastic-packed goods you eat (buy and eat wholefoods like fresh vegetables, fruit, nuts, legumes, some meats and dairy from greengrocers or markets where you can buy loose and take your own containers) and avoid unwanted exposure to plastic chemicals.

Life will be better immediately in knowing that you’re not slowly poisoning yourself.

Got other new year resolutions you’re hoping to stick with this year? Do share below!