2014 is upon us and many around the world are making resolutions. Some of those resolutions will be seen to fruition, but most won't see the morning of January 5th. Here are ten things to do in 2014 that will make you feel like you've accomplished something, with none of the icky "forgotten resolution" guilt.
1) Donate compost to a community garden.
Even if you always mean to start a garden of your own but never quite get there doesn't mean that all those great composting scraps have to go to waste. Keep a container for your coffee grounds, egg shells, carrot tops and once a week do a drive-by drop off at your local community garden or co-op, or even to friend that has a greener thumb than you.
2) Visit a farmers' market at least once a month, and check out more than the produce.
Many vendors at farmers' markets are selling more than tomatoes. You can find great teas and coffee, locally made health remedies, crafts, and so much more.
3) Get a hanging plant.
Get some cuttings from a friend and grow a lovely hanging plant just because it is pretty. Sure, you could do double duty and get something useful too, like an aloe plant, but it's not always necessary. A beautiful plant in the kitchen is already helpful, naturally filtering the air and adding more life to your home.
4) Read a book, then give it away.
Read a classic you have been trying to get around to for what feels like forever, then just give it to a friend or family member when you are done. When they finish it, you can discuss it together. Knowledge and comradery, a two-fer.
5) Barter more.
Bartering is great. You get what you need and someone else gets something they need. Look around your house and look at all the things that aren't being used by you, and think of all the things you would use. Look beyond just what the object is to you...to an artist, that broken t.v. is a goldmine of objects for a multi-media piece, that broken blender is probably a really easy fix for someone handier, all those button down shirts could be so much dress-up fun for some little kid.
6) Learn a new, non-tech skill.
Yes, tech skills are important these days, and often, staying abreast of the newest development is integral to one's job. Sometimes, it's just good to unplug and learn something with your hands, as well as your mind. Canning and preserving, gardening, changing a tire or the oil, sewing, minor plumbing, screenprinting, hunting, brewing, carpentry. You don't have to become an expert, but knowing that you can "do that" if the end of life as we know it happens, that you could bake a loaf of bread, or catch a fish, is something that not only makes you feel like you really can take care of yourself and your family, but re-connects you with the world in a very solid way.
7) Take a learning vacation.
Vacations taken for the sake of doing nothing but lounging are wonderful. Vacations taken to learn are invaluable, especially if you have kids. Make one of your vacations or long weekends into a learning trip. Find a national park, go to a mock up of a historical village, visit a major city and check out the museums. Sitting by the hotel pool is nice, but seeing Lindbergh's plane in person is amazing.
8) Visit as many of your area's museums and historical sites as you can.
Easier if you live in a smaller town, a major task in a bigger city...but worth it either way. Learn about your town's history, or about one person in your town. Find out about a hobby or craft you didn't even know existed. (yes, if you live in Paris or New York this will take longer than one year...)
9) Make a 72 hour emergency kit for your home.
This may sound silly, what with all the zombie apocalypse hubbub the past couple of years but...snow emergencies, wind storms, tornadoes, all of these things are very real. All of these things, and many more, could put you in a situation where you must wait it out at home until help can reach you, or until utilities are restored. Yes, many emergencies will make it necessary for you to evacuate, but not always. Make an emergency kit that can get you and your family through a variety of situations, and keep it stocked and un-expired.
10) Really put thought and effort into one gift this year.
Vowing to handcraft all your xmas gifts is often outside of the realm of possibilities for most. However, you can do something really cool for one person. Pick a friend or family member and a gift-giving occasion. Now, really pay attention to what they like and what they need or want. You don't have to make it by hand, but if you did that would be fantastic. Make or purchase that gift and really go all out on presentation. Make one person feel really special. That's the real gift.