Last January, the Global Action Plan team set environmental New Year's Resolutions so that we could 'walk the talk'.

One year on, we decided to check in with some of the team to see how they got on.

Adriana

Adriana pledged to buy from her local farmers' market.

1. Are you still sticking to your resolution? (If not, how long did it last?)

I’ve stuck to it! I go to my local farmer’s market or organic grocers every weekend. Moving house earlier this year, proximity to a market contributed to my choice of flat.

2. Reflecting on last year, how has it changed your behaviour and why?

It’s made me so much pickier about the food I eat, in a good way! I am much more aware of what’s in season, and as a result I’ve become more experimental with what I cook. The lack of plastic packaging on most market fruit and veg even pushed me to do a zero-waste-to-landfill month earlier this year. 

3. Will you be sticking with it, trying again or setting a brand new resolution for 2018?

I’m going to see how far I can go down the zero-waste-to-landfill route. 

4. What would your one tip be to someone setting a resolution?

Get other people involved – I make my trips to market social. There’s nothing better than grabbing a bite or a coffee with a friend on a weekend morning. 

Natasha

Natasha pledged to buy fewer fast fashion items, and start buying more second hand clothes.

1. Are you still sticking to your resolution? (If not, how long did it last?)

Yes, mostly – I am much more conscious of what clothing I buy. I have bought much less and bought a lot more 2nd hand clothes.

2. Reflecting on last year, how has it changed your behaviour and why?

I spend a lot less time in shops, I find that if I go in cheap, fast fashion shops like Primark or H&M it’s very tempting to buy things. I used to go into shops to entertain myself (e.g when waiting for trains etc) – now I don’t. If I need something new I always search 2nd hand shops first.

3. Will you be sticking with it, trying again or setting a brand new resolution for 2018?

Yes I’ll be sticking with it – it doesn’t feel like a “resolution” anymore, just the way I buy clothes. Plus when I go into big stores like Primark I actually feel very uncomfortable as I look around and think about the cost to other people and the planet to produce all those clothes that will probably end up in landfill soon. 

My resolution for 2018 is to fly less (I know – “first world problem” doesn’t even start to cover this one!). I love to travel and often flying somewhere in Europe is cheaper than getting a train to somewhere in the UK (and living 10 minutes away from Gatwick makes it easier as well!). But I’m going to make more of exploring the UK.

4. What would your one tip be to someone setting a resolution?

Focus on what you can gain from it and WHY you chose to set it in the first place…. Often we set resolutions to “give something up”, but that doesn’t feel very fun. For example with my resolution to buy less fast fashion, I focussed on how good it made me feel to live in line with my values – plus I have some beautiful new clothes that cost me next to nothing as I got them in second hand shops. I haven’t missed out on anything!

Rachel

Rachel pledged to swap her morning takeaway coffee for a Rooibos tea instead.

1. Are you still sticking to your resolution? (If not, how long did it last?)

No! It lasted about 6 weeks.

2. Reflecting on last year, how has it changed your behaviour and why?

It changed the way I think about buying. I now question if I really need it, and try to challenge myself to go without. I always feel quite proud of myself when I don’t buy a coffee as I do feel it is a craving and once I get over that feeling then I don’t need it. I find I have applied this thinking to other things I think I need too, such as when I am buying clothes.

3. Will you be sticking with it, trying again or setting a brand new resolution for 2018?

Yes I think I will give this resolution another go as it is a good money saver and made me feel good. I also tried new (healthier!) things, such as more herbal teas.

4. What would your one tip be to someone setting a resolution?

Try to make it easy for yourself, don’t frame it as doing without. Instead,(for example) think “I will have loads more money at the end of the month if I don’t buy coffee everyday”, then maybe use that money to treat yourself to something nice. Also changing up your routine so the opportunities for you to fulfil your habit are reduced – for me this was walking a different way to work (not past my favourite coffee shop).

Sonja

Sonja pledged to have packaging free lunches.

1. Are you still sticking to your resolution? (If not, how long did it last?)

Did it all year instead of just Jan - bar a few slip ups (3or 4 over the year?) where I allowed myself compostable packaging – the alternative would have meant me not eating (I.e on trains)/creating awkward situations for others (meetings where partners/funders produced lunches in packaging for everyone). Also extended my new rule to all meals/drinks and snacks rather than just lunch.

2. Reflecting on last year, how has it changed your behaviour and why?

It has really made me think about and choose differently where I eat - the big chains are often the easiest and quickest to get lunch from but inevitably the least flexible about dishing out their food into reusable tupperwares or even being able to support a non disposable crockery/cutlery option for eating in - having said this Wasabi supported tupperware takeaways proving that it isn't impossible for the big’uns and it did get some conversations going with others, having staff approach managers about how they can support customer wishes for packaging free lunch has got to be good right?

Interestingly it has completely stopped me using one or two of my previously favourite independent local lunch spots - Kastner and Ovens being one where I just couldn't handle the battle with the owner every time I went with mu Tupperware. She always felt her team had given me more food in my Tupperware because it wasn't their standard issue size (although they gave me the same number of “scoops”). Saving the outlet money on not using their take-out containers and prtecting the environment didn't seem to wash it for her. For me, holding up all the other customers in the queue behind me whilst she made suggestions like I should pay for a bigger lunch (when I asked for a small) and that that she should take food out of my tuppaware and put it back (not good from and HS point of view surely?) proved just too stressful for me so I no longer go there. But it opened more doors than it shut and a number of my local haunts now provide reusable glasses for water which I put down to me incessantly asking for glasses instead of the paper cups provided! Small wins I realise but just goes to show that the more customers ask….

3. Will you be sticking with it, trying again or setting a brand new resolution for 2018?

Yes I’ll be sticking with it and will be trying to go vegan rather than veggie for 2 lunches a week .

4. What would your one tip be to someone setting a resolution?

Can I have 2? Give yourself:

(1) a clear rule/structure to follow and

(2) an easy explanation to make your new habit more socially acceptable. For example “only eating packaging-free lunches” is clearer to follow than “trying to reduce packaging from lunches” so you are more likely to stick with it and not go down the slippery slope of “sort of” keeping to your new habit.  Equally being able to say “I’ve taken on a challenge to  always eat packaging-free lunches” sounded more positive and less worthy when producing my tupperware than “I’m avoiding trying to pollute the planet and perpetuate a throwaway culture”

What's your New Year's Resolution for 2018? Read our tips on how to set and achieve your goals!