Search

Mindful New Year’s Resolutions: inspiration from sustainability thought-leaders

Are you planning to make more mindful New Year’s Resolutions this year, but are in desperate need of some inspiration? Are you curious about ideas for impactful goals you could set to help make a difference?

You’ve come to the right place.

Alongside partying the night away with friends and family, New Year is a great time to do some annual self-reflecting. And to set positive new goals for the year ahead that (fingers crossed) you will actually stick to…

According to one survey, of those who made resolutions in the UK in 2020, only a quarter kept all of them (26%), half kept some of them (48%), and around a quarter failed entirely (23%). Yikes… It’s the thought that counts, right?

So, this time around, have a go at making small new lifestyle changes that work towards having a positive impact on your life, other people and/or the planet.

For example, you could try out a vegan diet for Veganuary and see if that encourages you to eat more plant-based foods for the rest of the year.

Or, if going vegan isn’t for you, The Ethical Butcher have also launched Reganuary. This is a challenge to consider the impact of everything you eat for a month, sourcing as much as possible from regenerative agriculture.

But, these are just two ideas…

When it comes to setting inspiring goals, who better to learn from than the thought-leaders? Especially the founders of small, independent brands. After all, their work is pioneering the way towards a more sustainable future – walking the walk, not just talking the talk. Here’s their top tips for impactful and mindful New Year’s Resolutions…

Ulla VItting Richards
Ulla Vitting Richards, founder of Vildnis

Mindful new year’s resolutions #1

“Every time you buy something, make a habit of checking if there is a more sustainable – equally nice – option available on the market.”

Ulla Vitting Richards is the founder of contemporary clothing brand Vildnis. The brand is determined to disrupt the fast-fashion industry with stylish clothing that’s made with respect for people and the planet.

What’s the most meaningful New Year’s resolution you’ve ever made?

In 2014 I committed to only buy fashion that is made from “more sustainable” fibres e.g. organic cotton, Tencel, recycled polyester, recycled wool etc. It was difficult to find exactly what I wanted at times – especially in the beginning – but somehow I always find something that I love and now it has become a habit. Now, I literally cannot make myself buy something that doesn’t look after the planet.

What is your New Year’s Resolution for 2022?

To always choose the organic option if I have a choice when I go food shopping (subject to it being remotely within my reach price-wise). I have already started and only buy organic wine, but I can do more.

What is the most important action you think someone can take next year?

Every time you buy something, make a habit of checking if there is a more sustainable – equally nice – option available on the market. This goes for clothes, home textiles, furniture – anything really.

What are your hopes for the year ahead?

I hope that more brands will realise the importance of pulling out all the stops when it comes to changing the materials they use following the focus on CO2 emissions at COP26.

Project Cece team
Noor Veenhoven, co-founder of Project Cece (pictured middle)

Mindful new year’s resolutions #2

“Just try to do small impactful things, in the areas that matter. Choose a topic you really care about (so you have a lot of motivation), and try to change the main thing that actually matters.”

Noor Veenhoven is one of the three all-female founders of Project Cece. It’s the largest online marketplace for stylish and ethical clothing in Europe, featuring 100 brands – and growing.

What’s the most meaningful New Year’s resolution you’ve ever made?

I always try to keep my New Years Resolutions small. Last year it was to use less plastic in the bathroom, by switching from liquids in plastic containers to bars of soap. We’ve also managed to keep a lot of our food plastic free by using the Dutch initiative Pieter Pot. It’s a grocery delivery service that brings everything in glass pots, and picks them up again.

What is the most important action you think someone can take next year?

I think start by making small lifestyle decisions that have an impact, but that don’t impact your life too much.

It’s sad to see when someone tries to go completely vegan or zero-waste for two weeks, only to find out it is too much work and so they give up completely.

A really good way is to choose a topic you really care about (so you have a lot of motivation), and try to change the thing that actually matters most in that area.

For example: if you really care about the plastic problem, you can try to seriously cut down on all your plastic consumption. But, something that is really impactful in this area is to stop eating fish. Most of the plastic in the sea is discarded fishing nets, so quitting fish helps a lot for the plastic problem.

What are your hopes for the year ahead?

With COP26 ending in a vague and disappointing conclusion, I hope that governments will do a lot better next year when it comes to Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

I think the market for ethically produced products will definitely keep growing, and I hope we can play a part in helping people find what they are searching for. We just launched our European-wide platform, so we hope this becomes a huge success, of course.

Rachel Kenyon Buttress & Snatch
Rachel Kenyon, founder of Buttress & Snatch

Mindful new year’s resolutions #3

“Be silly, be colourful, be kind.”

Rachel Kenyon is the owner, designer and creator of independent Hackney-based lingerie brand Buttress & Snatch. Rachel sets the tone of the brand in fiercely promoting diversity and inclusion.

What is your New Year’s Resolution for 2022?

To completely restructure the way I work emphasising all of its most artisanal aspects.

To book fun times and rest time out in advance so I make sure I get some!

What is the most important action you think someone can take next year?

Be silly, be colourful, be kind.

What are your hopes for the year ahead?

I hope that people will increasingly recognise the great value of the small scale, the handmade and the diverse.

Sophie Birdsong
Sophie Slater, co-founder and CEO of Birdsong

Mindful new year’s resolutions #4

“Move your bank accounts from fossil fuel funders and green your pension – it’s THE most effective thing you can do as an individual.”

Sophie Slater, co-founder and CEO of cult feminist fashion brand Birdsong. Birdsong’s mantra is one we couldn’t be more on board with: ‘Dress in Protest.’ This means no sweatshops, no Photoshop.

What’s the most meaningful New Year’s resolution you’ve ever made?

To read more books.

What is your New Year’s Resolution for 2022?

To slow down.

What is the most important action you think someone can take next year?

Move your bank accounts from fossil fuel funders and green your pension – it’s THE most effective thing you can do as an individual.

What are your hopes for the year ahead?

That we see the conversation around de-growth centred. And, in fashion, we move away from vague, greenwashy notions of sustainability purely through fabrics.

Ian Boyd Cotswold Beef
Ian Boyd, owner of Cotswold Beef

Mindful new year’s resolutions #5

“Look upon what food you buy as a vote for that production system.” 

Regenerative farmer and avid wildlife photographer Ian Boyd is the owner of Cotswold Beef – an award winning, conservation-led, family-run farm that produces top quality organic, certified Pasture for Life beef from their pedigree Hereford suckler herd.

What’s the most meaningful New Year’s resolution you’ve ever made?

Giving myself thinking time.

What is your New Year’s resolution for 2022?

Seek out more local food producers. They are not always good at advertising themselves.

What is the most important action you think someone can take next year?

Look upon what food you buy as a vote for that production system. 

What are your hopes for the year ahead?

Sustainable farming means keeping the situation the same. But Regenerative farming means improving the situation – and this is what we need to solve the climate change and biodiversity crises.

Lora Gene Profile Shot
Lora Gene

Mindful new year’s resolutions #6

“Start buying into people rather than just product offerings. Even the most beautiful item when made by exploitation is never worth it.”

Lora GENE is a contemporary, forward-thinking London-based luxury womenswear label. Founder Lora Gene is outspoken about how the fashion industry needs to change. Read the brilliant article she penned for Live Frankly: Enough talk. Let’s start the Fashion Revolution.

What’s the most meaningful New Year’s resolution you’ve ever made?

I don’t think I’ve ever made one. My resolutions are more daily, for example to exercise (OK, maybe weekly). But, in general I’m someone that is quite self-driven and I have a purposeful approach to almost everything I do. So, I don’t really resort to yearly resolutions. 

What is your New Year’s resolution for 2022?

I don’t know if I will make one. But, now you ask, perhaps something personal, like having a bit more time for my family.

What is the most important action you think someone can take next year? 

That’s a hard question because people have different views on all kinds of things. Perhaps start buying into people rather than just product offerings. Even the most beautiful item when made by exploitation is never really worth it. 

What are your hopes for the year ahead?

I’m very hopeful that the trends we’ve seen in the past two years will continue to grow. Customers will be even more selective and question empty sustainability claims. They will continue to buy into genuine companies that adopt sustainability as a core strategy, not just a marketing tool.

Also, I hope to see more mindful purchasing habits becoming a norm on the market. This year, we’ve experienced good growth. We’ve also had more reach in our messages and campaigning for a fairer and more equitable industry. I truly believe the uphill battle we are experiencing now will ease and we’ll start seeing even better results. 

James Venvell Brothers We Stand
James Venvell, Marketing Manager at Brothers We Stand

Mindful new year’s resolutions #7

“Love others as you would yourself. We live in a toxically individualistic society, and the simple act of looking out for others will be key to addressing climate change and the coronavirus.” 

James Venvell is the Marketing Manager at Brothers We Stand, a brand which curates stylish menswear. Alongside featuring several Live Frankly favourite brands, including Elvis & Kresse (see below), they also produce their own organic basics range, with t-shirts available from £20.

What’s the most meaningful New Year’s resolution you’ve ever made?

I quit Facebook at the end of 2020, and it’s been surprisingly easy. I had already cut down my usage considerably. But, what’s made out to be an essential tool of social connection is really a complete facade for what can be a deeply poisonous app.

What mindset did you go into this year with and how has that changed/evolved?

With each year, I find the issues become more alarming. This can bring about more climate anxiety, but there is also such a great deal of hope to be found in our collective efforts to turn the tide.

What is the most important action you think someone can take next year?

To love others as you would yourself. We live in a toxically individualistic society, and the simple act of looking out for others will be key to addressing climate change and the coronavirus. 

What are your hopes for the year ahead?

That action will be grounded in compassion. That peoples who are disproportionately affected by climate change will both be heard and supported with the resources available to wealthier nations. 

Kresse Wrsling
Kresse Wesling

Mindful new year’s resolutions #8

“Develop a very healthy curiosity […] I think we all need to be activists now, and there is nothing like knowing the truth to get you motivated.”

Kresse Wesling is a co-founder of Elvis & Kresse, the iconic brand which makes luxury accessories made from reclaimed materials, most notably fire hoses.

What’s the most meaningful New Year’s resolution you’ve ever made?

It was probably two years ago. Elvis & I love pizza, I mean we really love it. So I learned to make it which has cut our weekly packaging waste in half. The pizza is also amazing – which it should be when you get to practise once a week for two years without interruption (…lockdown benefits!?).

What is your New Year’s resolution for 2022?

To stay optimistic. One of the best things I heard this year was Selena Godden’s Pessimism is for Lightweights which I absolutely love. It made me laugh, it makes me feel courageous. It also fostered a whole social media chat with Birdsong, a brand we admire, about how Space is for Lightweights, too… 

What is the most important action you think someone can take next year?

To develop a very healthy curiosity. To start to research as a habit and to look into the systems that provide their basic necessities – food, water, clothing, shelter and see what they can find. Are they opaque? Transparent? Lovely? Are they not? I think we all need to be activists now, and there is nothing like knowing the truth to get you motivated.

What are your hopes for the year ahead?

I hope we can match ambitious targets with action. A lot of governments, businesses and citizens know what to do… we need action now.

Lucy Todd
Lucy Todd, owner and founder of My Little Green Wardrobe

Mindful new year’s resolutions #9

 “If we want to see change, we need to use our money to vote for the businesses that are making a change for the better.”

Lucy Todd is the owner and founder of My Little Green Wardrobe (MLGW), the brilliant new website that exclusively features pre-vetted ethical and sustainable children’s clothing brands.

What’s the most meaningful New Year’s resolution you’ve ever made?

When making decisions: it doesn’t have to be perfect, just good enough.

I found that in life I could be indecisive, or spend too long over one decision because I wanted to make the ‘right’ or ‘best’ choice. I think it’s a particularly female trait of perfectionism that belies a lack of confidence beneath. It was something that was holding me back, and I read some great advice a few years ago saying that decisions whether at work, or in your personal life, just have to be good enough.

What mindset did you go into this year with and how has that changed/evolved?

At the beginning of the year I hadn’t yet launched my business. I hoped that I could do something positive which would be of benefit to the world – and make my two young daughters proud. I’m still working on doing that every day. 

Sometimes it feels frustrating that others aren’t at the same stage as me from an ethical/sustainable standpoint, but then I remind myself everyone is on their own path, and that the drive to greater sustainability is a journey we are all on.

What is your New Year’s resolution for 2022?

Try to manage more of a work/life balance. One of the reasons I set up my own business was so that I could be more flexible around family life and spend time with my children. But what I’ve found instead is that I’m working all hours!

I need to reclaim a bit more of a healthy balance.

What is the most important action you think someone can take next year?

Try to buy organic produce wherever you can. Whether it’s food, or organically-grown fibres for clothes, it’s one of the single biggest and easiest ways to help fight climate change and improve the lives of some of the poorest people on the planet.

Plus you get higher quality produce, which is free of synthetic toxic chemicals that is better for you. It’s a win-win.

What are your hopes for the world of sustainability for the year ahead? 

For the year ahead, I want the public to demand more from the companies they spend money with. I want people to realise they are not powerless and that every single pound spent with a business is a vote of approval for them. If we want to see change, we need to use our money to vote for the businesses that are making a change for the better.

Ben & Anna

Mindful new year’s resolutions #10

“Challenge everything.”

Graeme Hume is founder of Pravera, a company that represents natural and organic beauty brands, such as all-natural vegan toiletry brand Ben & Anna. There are a lot of “natural” deodorants on the market, but if you ask us, none that we’ve tried are as good as theirs.

What’s the most meaningful New Year’s resolution you’ve ever made?

Never seriously done one, they’re another marketing ploy!

What is your New Year’s resolution for 2022?

Not to make one.

What is the most important action you think someone can take next year? 

Challenge everything. Consider whether you are being hoodwinked and refer to independent sources of information before making life-changing decisions.

About the author

Francesca Carpani

Francesca Carpani

Subscribe

to Our Newsletter

Want trustworthy insights straight to your inbox?

We promise to send you a monthly newsletter worth reading.