The presents have all been opened, the last of the eggnog and fudge consumed, and the relatives have departed. We toasted the passing of 2009 with family and friends in Lakewood, Colorado, and are looking forward to the coming year. With the best of intentions, we'll exclaim "This year I'll lose weight" or "Get organized!" Then the days will get busy, the laundry will pile up, and cold winter weather will persuade us to skip another early morning jog.
It seems too many resolutions are vague and fail to offer a path to success. Just as you would set performance goals at Green Mountain High School or your office at the Federal Center, your resolutions should contain some key elements. They should be attainable and measurable, with an outline to achieve, a method to be held accountable, with a reward at the end.
We just returned home from a family vacation. After thinking about how our holiday celebrations differ from the rest of the year, I started compiling a list of goals for 2010.
* SIT-DOWN MEALS: Sit down at the kitchen table together for one meal every day. Some days it may be breakfast, other days it can be dinner, but schedule it on the family calendar. You'll eat healthier, save money, and enjoy spending more time with your family. During the holidays, the dinner table was set every night with fine linen, china, silver, and crystal. Everyone lingered after dinner to chat, and dinners often lasted two or three hours.
* FAMILY NIGHT: Designate one night a week as Family Night - no excuses. Save electricity and turn off the TV, Blackberry, Mac, and Wii and focus on your family for a couple hours. Pull out the Trivial Pursuit, try a new recipe, or learn how to play dominoes. Single? Invite a friend to join you. We enjoyed a walk, a dip in the hot tub, and a few boisterous games of cards over the holidays.
* ONE IN, ONE OUT: For every new item that enters your house this year, give up one item. Our son and daughter are the only grandkids on both sides, and our house is packed with toys, board books and wooden puzzles. This week, we'll be picking out some old toys to donate, and the following week we're attending a Toy Swap with our playgroup.
* FEWER CARS: Pledge to walk, bike, carpool, or take the light rail one day a week, one week a month, or to at least one event per month (like an Av's game or to the DCPA). Set a goal that is realistic for the transit options available, and stick with it! You'll save money, reduce emissions, and de-stress! We spent five days with 11 family members and only two cars and never had more than one in use at a time, with many people walking the mile to and from the hotel.
* SHOP GREENER: Replace one product each week with one that is healthier for your family and the planet. Keep buying (or using) it and add a new one each week. Treat it like the Twelve Days of Christmas - where week 1, you switch to cage-free eggs. Week 2, you keep buying cage-free eggs and switch to rBGH-free milk. Week 3, you keep buying eggs and milk, and replace disposable plastic water bottles with a reusable, BPA-free, stainless steel one. The repetition will quickly become habit!
They sound like huge goals until you stop and realize how intertwined they are, and how even little changes can make a huge difference keeping your family, finances, bodies, and planet healthy in 2010.
For more ideas on how to incorporate easy, affordable green solutions into your fast paced, cosmopolitan lifestyle, visit www.eco-politan.com or stop into the retail storefront opening in Lakewood City Commons on Saturday January 30th and sign up for one of the regularly scheduled eco-classes. eco•POLITAN has Denver's best selection of modern cloth diapers, baby carriers and green gear to keep your family happy and the planet healthy.