12 sustainable habits to introduce this year
The new year is in full swing and we're all trying to get back into the rhythm of normal life after a month of indulgence. January can be a time when it seems like everyone around you is partaking in a detox of some kind, whether it's alcohol, eating healthily or getting back into exercising.
We agree that a new year is a great time to take stock and reset but, as most of us know from experience, 'new year, new me' is a trope often forgotten once the year is no longer quite so... new. Instead, this year, we're focusing on simple and sustainable habits you can incorporate into your daily routine that will see you through 2022 and beyond to live a little more mindfully - who's with us?
1. SET INTENTIONS OVER EXPECTATIONS
Expectations are tricky. They can help us set goals and keep us motivated. But on the flip side, if we set expectations for events out of our control, they can inevitably lead to disappointment. This year, we’re letting go of expectations and being outcome-focused. We’re choosing to set intentions instead; maybe forget a goal weight and simply aim to be active 3 days a week. This way of thinking will help you build a routine around healthy habits you feel are essential to your well-being.
2. BUILD A MORNING ROUTINE
Who's guilty of snoozing their alarms 6 times in a row, only to throw themselves out of bed 18 minutes before they're due to leave the house? Just enough time to dress, make a hasty coffee and get out the door. Hopefully it's not just us!
Rising half an hour earlier can make all the difference. Make yourself a morning coffee or tea; pop on the radio; do some yoga, exercise or simple stretching and take the time to think about the day ahead, maybe even setting yourself some intentions for the day.
3. SAY NO TO MULTITASKING
This is inspired by one of our team's resolutions. It's easy to become overwhelmed by the length of our to-do lists and end up ping-ponging between tasks in an effort to get them underway. In actuality, one study suggests that, in our effort to multitask and switch between to-do’s, we might actually reduce efficiency and our brains ability to fully focus on the task at hand because of the extra time we take to shift mental gears when switching between multiple tasks and channels of focus.
Take a breathe, re-centre and, if needed, close your proverbial door by switching your phone to silent and turning off any distractions. Going into each task head on with a clear mind will make it that much more achievable.
4. TRY SOME SUSTAINABLE SWAPS
This is not a single habit to incorporate into your routine. Rather, it's encouragement to habitually question your everyday choices and consider what simple swaps you can make to live a little more sustainably.
Our favoured approach is to reduce first and swap second. Bamboo cutlery and straws are making a big splash at the moment however, instead of buying these new, why not pop a set of your own kitchen cutlery in your bag? As for a straw - can you go without?
It’s applying little swaps like this to our everyday life that makes all the difference.
5. UNPLUG FROM YOUR DEVICES
A huge part of our lives now take place online and there’s no avoiding the fact that we live in a digital world. We use our phones to wake up, we carry them around, to communicate every hour of the day and this can be tough to break away from.
Instead, try putting your digital distractions in a different room for just an hour or two each evening, maybe a whole afternoon on the weekend. You’ll likely find yourself reaching for it automatically at first, whether its to check your notifications or for that Instagram scroll that has become habit, but continue to give yourself the space and soon enough you’ll find yourself filling the time with more fulfilling experiences- even if that simply means a chat with a loved one.
6. GET OUTSIDE
You've heard this one many times before but we're here to reaffirm just how important it is. Multiple studies have explored the benefits of going outside and getting some fresh air and they are seemingly endless; from improving short-term memory to reducing fatigue to bettering mental health.
So, the next time you’re stuck on a crowded tube or bus with your face in someones armpit, why not get off a stop earlier and enjoy some time in the outdoors?
7. BOOK IN ‘YOU’ TIME
We live very fast-paced lives and it's easy to get swept away in family, friends and general everyday life. The same way you'd schedule in breakfast with a friend, start scheduling in an hour or two each week that is yours and only yours to do whatever you like. Is there a class you've been wanting to sign up for but never have the time? Well, now you've made that time! But it can also be something as simple as taking yourself for coffee and being focused solely on yourself for an hour or so. You'll know what you need once you've given yourself the time to explore it.
8. PLAN YOUR MEALS
This is one of those things that makes life just a little easier. Different methods work for different people: some members of our team wait to receive their ODDBOX and plan the meals for the rest of the week accordingly; others plan AND cook so on a single day each week so they have pre-prepared meals waiting for them at the end of the day. However you do this, it makes it more likely that you'll eat a nutrient-packed homemade meal after a long day at work or with the kids rather than turning to takeout. Sustainable for the planet as this way we swerve unnecessary packaging and food waste, sustainable for your health and, lastly, sustainable for your wallet.
Take a look at the produce already in your fridge or have a think about what you'd like for the week and shop accordingly; then simply take a few hours to prepare the main bulk of your dishes and store in the fridge or freezer- any sides can be whipped up in 10 minutes or so later in the week. You might end up saving not only time but money too as you won't have to run to the supermarket multiple times a week!
9. ORDER AN ODDBOX
Now it’s time to make life even easier with an ODDBOX, the ultimate sustainable habit. A fresh box with minimal packaging will be delivered directly to your door each week, full of seasonal fruit and veg that could otherwise have gone to waste.
This is a habit not just for January, but for life.
10. A SELFLESS ACT
It’s easy to get wrapped up in our own lives, especially living somewhere as fast-paced as London. Studies have shown that giving your time away to someone else actually boosts our sense of productivity and distorts our perception of time for the better, making us feel like we have more of it. Taking the time for a random act of kindness - picking up someone’s dropped shopping, popping a pound in a donation pot or volunteering - also creates a sense of belonging but above all, it makes everyone feel good and stands out in a bright spot in your day.
11. TAKE TIME TO TAKE STOCK
At the end of the day we like to take some time to reflect on the day, digest your experiences and apply some perspective. This can be just 5 minutes of consideration or a bit more time dedicated to journaling or talking your thoughts through with a friend. However you like to do it, by taking stock of the day we can learn from our mistakes, think on what we might have done differently - and apply this next time - and also identify our successes and how we might grow them.
12. GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK
None of us are perfect. Sleep through your alarm and wake up 15 minutes before you need to catch your train? It's okay to skip your five minutes peace in favour of running out the door with seconds to spare. A to do list as long as your arm? Sometimes it's better to get everything done as best we can and forget perfection. This is by no means a rule book but a guideline to help live a little more mindfully and allow ourselves to be fully present. Taking the time to practice at least one of these habits daily gives us some time for reflection and grounding when it's easy to get swept away by life.
What habits are you bringing in to 2022 to live a little more mindfully?