5 Natural Living Goals for 2013 (And How To Achieve Them)

'Road' photo (c) 2011, Moyan Brenn - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Post by Contributing Writer, Beth

We are just hours away from a sparkling, clean, brand-new year. It’s kind of nice to dream about all the ways in which we’ll improve ourselves and our lives in this magical new unblemished chapter, isn’t it?

Unfortunately, if you’re anything like me, you are quick to dream up new resolutions and goals for yourself, but a little (ok, maybe a lot) lacking in follow-through.

Maybe your New Year’s Resolution for this year is to never make a New Year’s Resolution again because you can’t ever seem to accomplish them anyway. Been there, done that.

To be perfectly honest, I really don’t think giving up on resolutions altogether is the solution. Instead, let’s talk about a few awesome-yet-achievable natural living goals you may want to work on for 2013. Then we’ll chat about how to make them happen.

5 Natural Living Goals for 2013

1. Eat less sugar

At the top of any naturally-minded mama’s list is inevitably to consume less sugar. Check out this awesome post at Keeper of the Home called Cutting Down on Sugar: 21 Ways to Eat Less Sugar.

2. Ditch the paper towels

Grab an old t-shirt or two from the back of your closet and cut them up. Boom. Instant rag supply. I was always taught by my frugally-minded-before-it-was-fashionable mama that when clothes wore out, they became literal rags. Used for cleaning and such. Free and easy – can’t ask for much more! Keep a pile in a cute basket in the kitchen, and your paper towel days are over.

3. Replace one thing

There are probably dozens of things in your kitchen right now that you’ve wanted to make yourself or switch out for a more natural, healthy option. Try making your own taco seasoning, yogurt, bread, or salad dressing. One of my favorites is my homemade granola bars. They’re cheaper, healthier, and way tastier! Pick one thing, and go from there.

4. Healthy treat options

The idea of giving up treats altogether is quite unrealistic. That’s why I have an amazing and healthy chocolate macaroon recipe up my sleeve at all times. I go back and forth between sweet and salty cravings, and would love to try this homemade potato chips recipe from Cheeseslave. These brownies are amazing, and guilt-free.

5. Minimize toxins

It’s easy enough to plug our ears humming when the topic of chemical toxins comes up. It’s hard to go down that road because it’s seemingly never-ending! Lead in candles, toxic finishes in cookware, unpronounceable ingredients in every cosmetic and body care product, and the list goes on. The first step is simply to get informed, so why not make it your goal to simply do some reading on these topics? Or, if you want a concrete step, try switching out your household cleaners for greener options, like baking soda and vinegar.

'Tree light' photo (c) 2012, Denise Chan - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Once you’ve made a list of things you’d like to accomplish this year, the hard part begins. I love making lists, but like I mentioned above, I’m not so great at the follow-through. I need practical ideas for implementation, and maybe you do too?

5 Tips for Achieving Your New Year’s Resolutions

1. Pick one goal

You may have a list as long as your arm of things you want to do (I have several), but wise advice generally says to pick one thing at a time to accomplish. You can focus better and spend more energy achieving your goals if you avoid spreading yourself out too thin.

2. Break it down

If your goal is to ditch the paper towels, then your to-do list might start with making a trip to a thrift store for some shirts and a cute basket, then cutting up the shirts, hemming the edges (totally optional!), finding a designated spot in your kitchen, and removing the paper towels.

3. Make it easy & realistic

Instead of saying you will give up sugar from now on and forevermore, make an easier goal, like switching from white sugar to real maple syrup in your coffee (it’s so good!). Smaller, simpler steps are much more likely to be achieved, which then gives you the motivation to keep going and conquer even more!

4. Don’t Break the Chain

I stumbled on this little gem of an idea in my internet wanderings a while ago, and I plan to start it this year to try it out. I can definitely see it working for me, since I am a very visual person and motivated by things like crossing something off a list, checkmarks, and the like. I am also quite competitive, and this is kind of like competing with yourself, which I love.

5. Set Yourself Up for Success

When I was getting myself into the habit of daily Bible reading and journaling, I made sure to set my Bible, journal, and pencil case on top of my laptop next to my chair in the living room. This was key because my default had always been to mindlessly surf facebook and such when first waking up and getting my brain into gear. By having my Bible on top of my laptop, it was a physical reminder to my still-half-asleep brain first thing in the morning. Guess what? It works! On days where I hadn’t done this simple step the night before, it was a thousand times easier to skip out on my new habit.

I am making one resolution this year, which I am blogging about today over at Red and Honey. In the meantime, inquiring minds want to know…

Are you making a New Year’s resolution for 2013? Share in the comments below!

“It does not matter how slow you go so long as you do not stop.” Confucius

Beth blogs at Red & Honey, a lifestyle blog for the naturally-minded homemaker. She recently began a passionate love affair with coffee and her life will never be the same. She has had three babies in less than four years, is a professional laundry-avoider, and loves to stay up way too late making weird stuff from scratch that normal people tend to just buy in a store. Hence, the coffee.

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