How was your first week of the New Year, dumplings? Have you set some resolutions, or perhaps a one- or two-word intentions? I have been choosing a word of the year since 2015, and this year’s word—courage—has already made a huge difference in my mood and motivation. No more getting so easily upset by things I can’t control; more grace under pressure and fiercely going after my goals and dreams! While this sets the overall tone of the year, I am also partial to smaller and more actionable resolutions—and something that I’m thinking about is the concept of sustainability.
Pretty much all we ever talk about is sustainable in some way, especially in terms of eco-friendly, non-toxic, low- and zero-waste lifestyle. And sustainable resolutions I’ve made in the past have definitely focused on the environment. For example, in January 2017 I resolved to never buy coffee in a disposable cup again. And for a few years after that, I bought ZERO coffee or hot drinks outside, and even eliminated COLD bottled drinks from my diet. In the past few years, I have bought coffee in paper cups, but 1) when I’m meeting friends for coffee and 2) the cafe doesn’t have ceramic cups, especially due to COVID. I’m super happy with that resolution that became a lifelong habit.
Sustainable resolutions I’m thinking of for 2022 apply to other areas of life, as well. Sustainability to me means able to flourish in the long term. It’s the opposite of stressed out, anxiety-ridden, insecure, or needy. It’s feeling satisfied, whole, secure, fulfilled, and resilient.
Did you know that there is a whole subculture of beauty lovers who are devoted to Project Panning, i.e. using up all your makeup and skincare products until you’re only left with an empty pan? Then they proudly post the photo or video on Reddit, YouTube, or your media platform of choice. I know, I know—there is a special thrill to using a new lipstick for the first time, or that shimmery eyeshadow in a shade that you just haven’t tried before. But it can be just as satisfying and even new to go back to your old products that have been languishing in your drawer. I for one have an eyeshadow palette from Hourglass that I used to wear every day, until I completely used up one of the colors and it started cracking. I think getting to the bottom of this is a must before I can earn my right to buy another eyeshadow palette. Challenge accepted! #projectpan #panningcommunity #panporn
Limit social media time
I confess this is easier said than done. I owe it to fans who have read and loved my book and care enough to reach out to me! While social media is a part of my job for both PD and my other writing, it has gotten a little too crazy these past few months. And I find myself itching to constantly check my phone instead of being focused on my real life. I just dislike that feeling of dopamine addiction—I want to feel in control of my own desires and decisions. If you want to reduce your screen time, there is a feature on the iPhone that allows you to limit your usage. I just set my Instagram daily allotment to 1 hour. (Gulp.) This will either sound like a lot or very little, depending on your own habits—wish me luck!! 😬
Read the books you already own… And go slow if you need to
This is another occupational hazard. I buy more books than I can humanly read, and get more from publishers needing endorsements, etc. The pressure to read everything lessens the pleasure of reading itself! I recently was looking back on how, as a child bookworm, I felt I could keep reading forever and not even come out to eat food. That feeling of cherishing each and every book is what I’d like to experience again. So, I vow to prioritize reading books I already own before I go get another one. Well, sometimes I have to do that for my personal friends’ books, but! Another sustainable reading resolution is to choose less based on what other people are reading and more on how I feel; and also to read more slowly and indulgently. Slow living means slow reading.
Don’t give your emotional energy to issues and people who don’t deserve it
I hate wasting anything—plastic, food, beauty products, electricity—so why I do waste so much emotional energy on people and problems that don’t deserve it? That goes for microaggressions, toxic friends, random trolls online. Getting sucked into their negativity isn’t sustainable or worthwhile. While I’ll never back away from an injustice, I would rather spend my energy on fighting for a great cause than reacting to bullies—or even just careless people. Moving on!
Recharge the way you need to
We restore our energy in different ways. Perhaps you’re an extrovert who needs to meet and spend time with friends to relax. Perhaps you’re an introvert who needs to light candles and take a bath and do some journaling to feel fully centered. Or you might need mountain time (or ocean time, desert time…) to feel balanced. Over time, I’ve learned that I’m pretty specific when it comes to my wellness needs, and trying to accommodate others’ wishes (i.e. going out to dinner and drinks when you need to sleep or don’t have enough $$$) tends to become like obligation. Knowing what you like and want isn’t selfish—it’s an essential part of thriving.
What’s your sustainable resolution for 2022?
Photo: Hong Nguyen via Unsplash; panningqtpie via Instagram