I like to take my time setting my annual goals, so here I am in early February finally writing them down.
My annual goal setting, much like my life, is a slow and reflective process. I like to calculate my environmental footprint (see my blog post last week for more information), reflect on last years’ progress and this year’s biggest opportunities.
I’m excited to take you on a journey of my 2021 intentions. I’ve organized them to coincide with the areas highlighted by the environmental footprint calculator and in order of my biggest to smallest opportunity to reduce my impacts: transportation, food, shelter, goods, and services.
Transportation remains my biggest opportunity. So, this year, I have the following goals:
- No flights – In 2020, we committed to no flights and found adventure nearby (see last week’s blog for more details). We explored our home state of Michigan and had wonderful family adventure (yes, even in the midst of the pandemic). I love travel, but I know how impactful my flights are. In 2021, we’re going to remain focused on nearby adventures, expanding our radius to include longer car rides this year… we’ve got a date with the smoky mountains for spring break! My long term solution will include offsetting the emissions from our family vacations, so please send me your recommendations if you’ve purchased offsets.
- Become a one car family again – In 2020, we bought a 100% electric vehicle (again, see last week’s blog for more details). We’ve been a one car family for several years, but it’s taken us months to fully embrace our new Tesla and be ready to give up our trusty old ‘08 Honda Fit. This is mostly because Robbie has dirty hobbies like hunting and woodworking and we had to figure out a way to haul messy things in our “fancy new car”. A few weeks ago, we installed a trailer hitch on the Tessy, so we’re finally ready to let Honda go and return to being a one car family. I can’t tell you how excited I am to never buy gasoline again!
My food is wildly important to me as I work to fully align my life with my values. And it’s my second biggest opportunity to impact my footprint. I also find the food category to be a stubborn one… meaning, its hard to see the impact (via a lower environmental footprint in the calculator) from the changes I’ve made (one more time, see last week’s blog for more on this). But that’s not going to stop me from leaning in to the joyous parts of my food journey! This year, I have only one food-related goal:
Eat local food, even in winter.
I’m proud of my summertime foodprint (that is, the environmental footprint of my food), but during the winter in Michigan I struggle to find locally grown, unpackaged food. So, I’m going to focus on this goal especially hard in the next couple of months (February through May) until my own backyard vegetable starts to produce and my local farmers market starts up again.
Here’s where YOU can help!
Michigan friends – please comment below with your favorite winter farm shares, farmers markets, and other resources you have for local food (that are available right now!) so I can build a robust list of farmers to support during these cold winter months. I promise to explore your recommendations and share my adventure, with details and recommendations, in an upcoming blog post.
Non-Michigan friends – please share your strategies and recommendations too! I have followers all over the world and we can always learn from your strategies!
This year I’ve realized how very important it is for my home to be a place of peace, relaxation, and comfort. A place that calms my nerves, supports connected time with my family, and gives my soul space to Just Be Here. It’s not surprising that my 2021 goals include a few to make my home more cozy (and energy efficient) and less cluttered. I love it when the connections between minimalism and sustainability are clear like this.
- Declutter one room per month. Less stuff means less cleaning, less things to break, less things to repair, and more time with my family.
- Install insulated blinds everywhere. Cozy spaces in my home encourage all of us to slow down, sit down, play together and take the time for meaningful connection. Last year, we installed these blinds in most of the windows on the first floor of our home. Even I was shocked at how much warmer I felt in these better insulated spaces. And even better, we could see on our nest thermostat that the furnace was running less often, saving energy, carbon emissions and our hard earned money!
Alright! We’re halfway through my 2021 intentions and this feels like a good spot to take a break. I’ll be back next week with my goad related to goods, services, and self care (self care isn’t part of the footprint calculator, but I’ve added it. I firmly believe that we have to take care of ourselves before we can take care of the community and the planet).
Intentional living takes time. Sometimes the process is (intentionally) slow. If you’re still thinking about 2021 and what you might want to work on, I’m right here with you and for you. Drop your thoughts and questions in the comments. I’d love to hear about your goals, even if they’re still a “work in progress”.