New Year’s Resolution ideas for 2023: 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 fora 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%).

Well… 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, how about Regenuary: 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…

New Year’s resolution ideas #1:

Sally Ellis-Rudd, Helen Browning’s

Woman standing in front of lake |  New Year's resolution ideas

Sally Ellis-Rudd is the Ecommerce Manager at Helen Browning’s Organic, a family-run Eastbrook Farm in Wiltshire. Helen Browning’s farming philosophy is to grow the best quality crops and animals while making space for nature, and their produce is all the better for it.

What is your New Year’s resolution for 2023?

I’ll be taking on the One Nature Challenge as proposed by the David Suzuki Foundation. This is where you spend 30 minutes in nature, every day for 30 days, to kick-start a habit that lasts all year. 

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

Regardless of the purpose, a resolution that lasts is always the best! So even the smallest action, if you stick to it, is always important.

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

For more people to join in on the conversation. Please. 

New Year’s resolution ideas #2:

Susanna Wen, co-founder of Birdsong

Woman doing yoga in forest | New Year's resolution ideas

Susanna Wen is the co-founder and Cheif Executive Officer 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 is the most impactful New Year’s resolution you’ve ever made?

It’s better to make smaller, slower life changes that last than to go full throttle for half of January and give up. 

What is your New Year’s resolution for 2023?

To move my body in any way every day, as a sign of love and gratitude to myself.

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

To slow down and reflect more. Even just for a moment a day and to breathe. It’s a miracle to be alive and we’re not here for long, let’s try to appreciate it. 

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

I hope consumers continue to support small independent brands, who often have just one or two people running them but have a far greater positive impact on communities and society as a whole.

It’s never been so hard as it is now for small brands to survive. Many will be closing in the upcoming months or year so give them some love! The world would be a much sadder place without them.

New Year’s resolution ideas #5:

Gilly Ridley Whittle, Peachaus

Visible mending | mindful New Year's resolution ideas

Gilly Ridley Whittle is the CEO and Founder of Peachaus, an ethical and sustainable women’s lifestyle brand that sells everyday leisurewear, sleepwear and underwear.

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

My best New Year’s resolution after many previous failed ones was when I decided I needed to change my life! This was in 2016 I was living in Australia and I realised I was not happy with how my life was progressing. I was stressed out, anxious, in a brutal job that left no time for me and little for my family; I was frustrated at the state of the fashion industry which was ‘profit at any cost to people and planet!’.

That new year I decided enough was enough and from then on, I vowed to find a better way forward not only for myself but for the planet and humanity. I could no longer live with myself unless I lived a life of value and one that gave back. It hasn’t been easy, but I look back at how far I have personally come, how I have grown and what I have achieved – plus how much I still must achieve – and I am proud and excited! 

What is your New Year’s resolution for 2023?

To continue what we have started in 2022 by supporting communities, mentoring rising talent and advocating for a better fashion system. We will continue to build on our partnership with Behind Bras and start developing new projects including, product lifespan extension, design for circularity, low-impact materials goals and implementation of a repair service.

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

To take time to look at how to care for, and re-wear what is already in their wardrobe before making a new purchase. Also learning how to repair and start buying pre-loved clothing.

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

Driving positive impact throughout the value chain, from raising awareness and behaviour change with consumers and communities to collaboration and transparent relationships with best-in-class, ethical supply chain partners, to move the industry forwards.

New Year’s resolution ideas #6:

Eily O Connell, Eily O Connell Jewellery

Vegetables | New Year's resolution ideas

Eily O Connell is the owner, director and goldsmith of a sustainably focused jewellery brand, Eily O Connell. Eily’s stunning nature-inspired designs are made from high-quality, ethical and well-sourced materials. 

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

Even though I don’t eat much meat, I have a full meat ban every January which sometimes extends to March too. I think this is really impactful for the environment as it’s one of the best things we can do to combat climate change. Admittedly I am too weak to keep it up all year but it really makes me admire any full-time vegetarians and vegans. If like me, you can’t keep it up forever then it’s good to ban it for a few months and then you are more mindful when you do eat meat too. 

What is your New Year’s resolution for 2023? 

To relearn Irish. I have made a good start this year but will be a bit stricter with my lessons. There’s a lovely sense of community when learning a language. 

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

Drive less, walk more. Our oil consumption needs to be lessened. 

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

I have high hopes as people are becoming more aware of our impact. Keep doing your bit as all small actions can have a domino effect and create big change. Each small step is significant and I think collectively we are waking up.

New Year’s resolution ideas #7:

Caroline Bennett, Sole of Discretion

Buy local or bye-bye local sign | New Year's resolution ideas

Caroline Bennett is the founder of Sole of Discretion, a fish delivery service that goes above and beyond to make sure of its fish and seafood is sourced sustainably. Caroline is also the owner of the UK’s first Japanese-style conveyor belt sushi-joint Moshi Moshi

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

Don’t purchase anything from Amazon and buy from local independents.

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

That the social aspect is finally being better heard amongst the environmental concerns. The two go hand-in-hand. Separating them achieves nothing, and that is the beginning of the long dismantling of globalised, impersonal supply chains.

I also hope that production of whatever we make returns to a human scale. 

New Year’s resolutions #8:

Lucy Todd, My Little Green Wardrobe

Renewable energy | mindful New Year's resolution ideas

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

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

It doesn’t have to be perfect. Good enough is plenty.

What is your New Year’s resolution for 2023?

To not give myself such a hard time; to step back and try to celebrate my progress as a person and as a business.

I’m very impatient by nature and find that anything in business takes about three times longer than you think it will…

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

Buy less stuff. Cost of Living Crisis and Sustainability nailed in one.

My husband has a maxim for packing his suitcase for a trip: get out everything you want to take and then put back half of it. I think that’s a great metaphor for life!

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

Lots.

Further investment in green energies and the switch to cleaner forms of energy thus reducing dependence on fossil fuels – both from an economic and an environmental perspective. I’d like the UK government not to be greenlighting new coal mines, for example.

I would love the government to bring in legislation that sees producers and manufacturers have a financial responsibility towards the disposal (or otherwise) of their products. It’s not right that taxpayers have to shoulder the bill for local recycling services when international corporations are making billions from extractive and exploitative practices, with little thought to circularity or recyclability.

Infrastructure and incentives that move our population away from the car and towards other forms of (lower impact) transport.

New Year’s resolution ideas #9:

Noor Veenhoven, Project Cece

Buy less, choose well, make it last sign | mindful New Year's resolution ideas

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 is the most impactful New Year’s resolution you’ve ever made?

No impulse buying. To ask myself why I’m buying something ahead of purchase.

What is your New Year’s resolution for 2023?

Start using a wardrobe app, like Save Your Wardrobe, Stylebook or Whering.

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

Don’t give up; although your impact may seem very small, it still matters a lot. For example, every single item you purchase from a small brand focused on sustainability keeps them going and makes sure they can continue their impact and even invest in progress.

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

More support for sustainable-focused brands.

New Year’s resolution ideas #10:

Hannah Rochell, Rapanui

Solar panels | New Year's resolution ideas

Hannah Rochell is the Content Lead at Rapanui, a sustainable, circular adventurewear clothing brand.

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

I gave up buying clothes for a year. It changed my relationship with shopping for good and I’ve never shopped on the high street since. It was brilliant – I highly recommend it, even if it’s just for a few months rather than 12. 

What is your New Year’s resolution for 2023?

I’m finally going to learn how to use a sewing machine! Being able to repair what we already own is such an important step. I’d also love to be able to make my own clothes. 

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

Identify one area of your life that you can do more sustainably, rather than trying to tackle everything at once. When you’ve sorted that bit out, move on to something else. You can’t switch to a sustainable lifestyle overnight. 

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

I’d like to see the momentum behind renewable energy really ramp up – legislation to allow people to affordably insulate their homes and subsidies to help people to install solar panels would make a huge difference here in the UK, not just to the environment but to the cost of living crisis. 

 New Year’s Resolution ideas #11

Ed Ayton, Abel & Cole

Protester with a sign | mindful New Year's resolution ideas

Ed Ayton is the Sustainability & Communications Officer for food delivery company Abel & Cole. Everything Abel & Cole sell matches its sustainable, local and seasonal ethos.

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

Since deleting Facebook on New Year four years ago, I feel much less manipulated and enraged. It could be a coincidence, of course.

What is your New Year’s resolution for 2023?

To be more available for my friends, whether on the phone or in person.

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

Be heard and be counted. A letter to your MP, a vote, a protest.

Social media doesn’t count, no one hears you scream in Twitter space.

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

I’d like to say positive action from parliament, on farming, on water quality, on fossil fuels, on plastic pollution, for starters. It seems we’ve forgotten the seismic changes our governments are capable of when unnecessary wealth isn’t being hoarded. At the very least, I’d like to stop having to prepare for the worst from them.

New Year’s resolution ideas #12:

Richard Bayley, Fleet London

New Year's resolution ideas

Richard Bayley is the founder of Fleet London, a minimalistic menswear brand selling shirts and boxers designed to last and made from sustainably sourced, high-quality materials.

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

That the government restores proper funding to our regulators: water in particular (this would take just a few million here and there), that the onshore wind Tory rebels succeed (why on earth not offer communities affected a discount on the electricity for as long as the turbines are present rather than just foist them on people?)

 New Year’s Resolution ideas #13

Leticia Credidio

Women laughing together | New Year's resolution ideas

Leticia Credidio is the founder of Leticia Credidio, a luxury sustainable sleepwear and loungewear brand that is heavily inspired by the natural world..

What is the best/most impactful New Year’s resolution you’ve ever made?

To remove toxic people from my social group.

What is your New Year’s resolution for 2023?

To increase my brand network and partnerships. To connect with different people.

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

The most important action someone can take is to allocate time to have fun – every day (not once a month!)

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

That sustainability should be the core of all brands. It should be implicit in all brands and people’s mind.

New Year’s Resolution ideas #14

Victoria Holmes, Riverford

Two women looking at a sunset | New Year's resolution ideas

Victoria Homes is the PR Lead at organic veg box company Riverford. Riverford only grows and supplies 100 per cent organic produce, certified by the Soil Association – meaning no artificial chemicals and more biodiversity.

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

Spend less time on social media and more time outdoors enjoying nature.

What is your New Year’s resolution for 2023? 

I plan on trying vegan for a year. I love Rebel Recipes – Nikki’s dishes are delicious.

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

Take personal accountability for your impact on the planet. Individual actions do make a difference.

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

For governments to actually do what they say they are going to do, when it comes to promises to protect nature and our earth!

About the author

Francesca Carpani

Francesca Carpani

Francesca Carpani has a First-Class Joint Honours Degree in English and American Studies. Particular areas of interest are socio-political topics including feminism, racism, multiculturalism, immigration, and media representation. She cares strongly about creating a fairer, more sustainable world and is passionate about spreading positivity.

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