The New Year and new decade are upon us, which inevitably means it's time for reflecting on the past and contemplating the future. Many of us think about goals and set new year's resolutions in an effort to achieve them. But statistics show that within the first 3 months, those goals are forgotten and old habits return. What I propose instead is envisioning the life you want and engaging in daily practices that contribute to that vision. Basically, live "as if" you've already achieved it.
I did this in 2019 and plan to continue these daily practices in 2020. But they aren't really new. In fact, some of these activities I've been practicing for the past 10-15 years as I envisioned creating a life of balance. My vision was to spend more time in nature and less time being busy doing unfulfilling things. One daily practice to achieve this vision was to reduce my consumption by practicing bartering, reusing, and repurposing free materials. Freecycle and Craigslist are great resources, and some public libraries and towns even have Seed Swaps and Library of Things that can be borrowed. If you're a gardener like me, these are some excellent resources for getting started.
Other simple activities I've gradually incorporated into my daily routine are:
morning walks to the public park I'm fortunate to live near;
growing more of my own food;
making my own medicine with herbs and wild plants;
taking online classes that inform these practices; and
reading at least a chapter a day of a non-fiction book.
Because all of these activities take time, they forced me to shift my priorities. And that was a good thing! So, instead of turning on the TV as soon as I get home after a long day, I listen to music or read to wind down. I go out in my yard when I need a break. I also cut cable this year, which not only reduced expenses but also reduced temptation to fall back into old habits. It's amazing how much time this frees up! This allowed me to have more time to volunteer with organizations I care about and participate in activism.
All of this is part of a greater vision I share with many people concerned about our planet and the climate crisis that we are in the midst of. I want to live a simpler life and lessen my impact on the environment in whatever ways I can. In addition to being vegan for the past 22 years, I also garden veganically - growing produce without chemical or animal inputs, thus reducing dependence on industrialized agriculture. I use a battery operated lawn mower and this year was finally able to install solar panels on my house. I'm hoping that my next car will be electric, finances permitting.
This is just a glimpse of my personal vision. It's one that I tweak every day as I'm always challenging myself to do more. What is your vision? What motivates you to live with passion and purpose? Consider these questions as you ring in the New Year and contemplate how 2020 will unfold for you.