6 Easy New Year’s Resolutions for the Causes You Care About

With the New Year soon upon us, that means making resolutions. Here are a few suggestions for easy resolutions you can adopt to help the causes you care about.

1. Focus On Your Community to Improve Your World.

Right now it feels like the world is on fire, with a Trump presidency that is ignoring the threat of climate change, Russian meddling in global democracy, and a mass extinction event on the horizon that could change life as we know it.

It’s easy to think that you can’t do anything to change these circumstances and wonder where you would even begin to try, anyway.

One thing that is in your power, however, is how you interact with your local community, whether that is in the physical sense and the neighborhood in which you live, or in the virtual sense.

Paying attention to this is important, because grassroots energy is a powerful force for change. We saw that energy quite literally change the makeup of the US House in the midterms, and it starts with individuals like you and me building connections.

You can do this in a variety of ways, for example:

  • getting involved in constructive and empathetic discussions
  • showing up to and helping to organize meetings (physical or virtual)
  • building communities around your passions and interests (art clubs, movie nights, writing workshops).

This builds a foundation of support, so we can  help one another travel our unique paths while hopefully maximizing the good in the world.

2. Understand that People and Ideas Are Different.

When you see people spouting viewpoints that could harm you and the communities or causes you care about, it can be really easy to start using labels to write people off. They are cruel. They are idiots. They are evil.

When you give in to this kind of labeling, you have decided that you will not allow that person with whom you profoundly disagree to be multifaceted. Instead, they become the enemy. There is us and there is them. And this attitude perpetuates more of itself, with the competition to be the “most woke”, a slippery slope not far off on the horizon. You have seen this in places like social media, where the propensity to take offence has, at times, become a badge of honor, while people who genuinely meant well but made a mistake are written off as “problematic”.

How do you combat this? Focus on fighting ideas, not people. Ideas can be good, a mix or outright bad, but you give people — even those whom you profoundly dislike because of their actions — the grace to be complex beings. You say that individual people are not problems.

Recognizing this it leaves the door open for discourse and empathy without going soft on terrible ideas and wrong actions. Essentially, you remain mindful of human fallibility while still allowing ourselves open hearts.

3. Take a Social Media Break to Reset.

Social media can be a vital resource, in particular when you find yourself without the ability to access the communities in your immediate area. However, social media is, by its design, an addictive medium. The infinite scrolls, the push notifications, the small pleasure hormone hit you get when you open your favorite app to find new content.

Personally, this year I said goodbye to social media almost entirely, and I feel great for having done so. Not everyone will want to go that far, but taking a break—say a weekend every so often—where you can “unplug” can be beneficial and could help improve your mental health by readdressing the balance between screen time and mindful activity.

If this sounds too daunting, consider setting a simple goal like no screen time after a certain time at night. This can help give you breathing room from the busy world.

4. Ditch Plastic if, You Are Able.

A groundswell of support for ditching plastic hit in 2018, and there are good reasons for this. Our world is literally drowning in the stuff, and we drop more and more  into our oceans every day.

Ditching plastic makes sense for many able-bodied people, because there are ready alternatives, for example buying drinks containers that you can reuse and wash at home or buying food in bulk to get round our supermarkets’ ridiculous relationship to useless plastic packaging.

But there are several reasons why people may not be able to do this—and that is okay. For example, carrying lots of things—a reusable straw, a reusable drinks flask, your own cutlery etc.—can quickly add weight to your handbag or backpack. For someone with mobility issues, dealing with that can be a nightmare.

Doing what you can when you can is good enough, all the while pressuring our governments and our retailers to break the world’s addiction to single-use plastics.

5. Buy Second-Hand As Much as Practical and Possible.

A great way to cut down on your waste is to ditch buying new and designer goods. Instead, visit local charity shops to see what pre-loved goods there are on offer that might answer a need you have.

Obviously, there are something you do need new, such as cosmetics, but you can buy things like furniture, clothes and even computers (depending on your requirements) second-hand, and often much more cheaply. I’m particularly looking forward to restoring an old table in the new year and adding to its story. What will your next pre-loved find be?

6. Self Care, So You Can Care for Others.

Being an activist or even just an empathetic person can be stressful. There’s always something to worry over, and there are so many fires to fight.

As you do that great work for others, it’s also important to do that work for yourself. In fact, it’s key to not burning out. Care2 has a number of great articles on this subject that dig down into specifics, like self care in the face of triggering headlines, how to create a self care habit on a budget and self care through poetry and the arts. The main takeaway is to take time for yourself, even if that can only be a few minutes, because you deserve that time.

This new year, show up for yourself, so that you can be there for others and build the communities you want to see and shape the world you want to live in.

Photo credit: Getty Images.


Daniel N
Past Member 26 days ago

thank you for posting

Louise A
Louise Aabout a month ago

thank you

Anna R
Anna Rabout a month ago

thanks for posting

Jan S
Jan S1 months ago


Mia B
Mia B1 months ago

thanks for sharing

Chad A
Chad A2 months ago

Thank you.

Mely Lu
Mely Lu2 months ago

Thank you for sharing. Will keep these in mind next this new years.

Glennis W
Glennis W2 months ago

Great info . Thank you for carin and sharing

Glennis W
Glennis W2 months ago

. Thank you for carin and sharing

Glennis W
Glennis W2 months ago

. Thank you for carin and sharing