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Another year has almost come to a close, and now we look ahead to 2019. I spent the holidays with my family in my hometown in Vermont this year. Being in Vermont always helps me slow down and think about the things that are most important in life. Soon I know I’ll be back in Raleigh, back to work and day-to-day responsibilities, which has got me thinking- what will my New Years resolutions be?

Firstly, let me say that I’m not sure how I feel about New Years resolutions. Over the years I have made several resolutions, all focused on bettering myself in some capacity. “This year I will work out more.” “This year I will eat less junk food.” “This year I will be more organized.” “This year I will save more money.”

I feel split about this whole idea of bettering oneself. On the one hand, I think it’s great to set goals for yourself. On the other hand, making resolutions ones previously mentioned implies that there is something fundamentally wrong with you in the first place, or at least something that is not good enough.

What if instead of bettering oneself we practice self acceptance? Instead of kicking oneself for not getting to the gym every day (a goal which may be unattainable), or not losing those few excess pounds you resolved to lose, you say, “Hey, I’m doing the best I can, and that’s enough.”

My First Resolution

I’ve decided one of my goals for 2019 will be to practice self acceptance. Will I still try to work out, eat well, be organized, and save money? Yes, but I will not make it a resolution, and I won’t hold myself to it. I believe that if you make a resolution and don’t meet that goal in a timely manner (say before the next year), you may give up on that goal entirely. Instead I plan on accepting myself, my schedule, my circumstances, and know that sometimes things are out of my control.

My Second Resolution

What if instead of focusing on bettering ourselves, we focused on bettering the world? I realize that thinking on a global scale is a much bigger task to achieve, but I truly believe that if we all make small steps to do our part we can collectively make a global impact. So what small steps can I take for 2019?

Quality Over Quantity

One goal I have for 2019 is to buy less, and buy higher quality. Americans buy far more than they need, and billions of pounds of garments alone fill up our landfills every year. Elizabeth Cline, author of Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion wrote that the average American buys 64 new garments a year. People often shop at fast fashion stores like Forever 21 and H&M because they can buy more items at a lower cost. But what if instead of spending all that money on cheap items, you spend it on less items that are higher quality?

Slow Down

It’s called slow fashion for a reason. This year I will slow down and ask myself: Where were my clothes made? Where was my jewelry made? I’ll try to buy local, fair trade, or ethically made items. I’ll also ask myself, where was my food made? We can support local farmers by eating farm to table restaurants or buy produce from farmers’ markets. If we all took the time to research where our purchases come from, we could help our people and our planet.

Despite how I feel about resolutions, I have tried to set two attainable goals for myself for the new year: to practice self acceptance and make small steps to better the world. Then who knows, maybe along the way I will better myself after all.

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