The new year is well underway and it’s time to check-in with the goals and resolutions you made to see if you’re making progress.
I’ve been thinking about the things that we can do to make a difference. I believe that there are things that we can do everyday that can go a long way in creating change for the environment, our communities and the kind of people that we are. Developing habits is a great way to be a change-maker in your daily life. Here are 5 things that you can build into your life this year to make a world of difference:
Invest in Reusables.
All of the 3 R’s – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – are important, but did you know that the least effective is recycling? One of the easiest, most tangible and best things you can do to help the environment is using reusable products. Instead of plastic bags and water bottles, invest in reusable lunch bags, containers, water bottles, napkins and shopping bags. You can make a difference everyday when you reduce your waste as much as possible.
Box it up!
The new year seems to be a time when, magazines, blogs and social media feeds are filled with ways to get organized. I’ve noticed that many of them are talking about ‘de-cluttering’ and letting go of those things that you don’t use or need anymore. I’m all for that. A great way to do this and get your whole family involved is to put a ‘Donation Box’ in your home and make it a point to put one thing in it everyday – a book, a sweater or a boardgame. At the end of the month your box will be overflowing, but your closets won’t be. Take the box and donate it to an organization in your community. Win-Win.
Make a difference each time you shop.
RBC has a Free The Children Virtual Visa Debit Card that has been nicknamed “A Card That Cares” because RBC donates a portion of every purchase you make to support Free The Children in creating positive change in the world. Since the card was introduced in November 2013, more than $275,000 has been donated to support Free The Children’s developing communities including Kenya, India and Ecuador. Through people using this card they have supported projects such as school room construction, clean water projects, equipping classrooms with resources, or training in farming, beekeeping, goat rearing and more. When you make a difference with every purchase, the impact adds up and that is powerful!
Since it is a debit card, not a credit card, anyone who has one can use their own money. And parents think it’s a great idea because you can spend time together discussing how to set limits for spending. It is pretty cool that whatever you purchase from music to shoes to food, you make an impact without even noticing.
What is your star power?
This is something really awesome that I picked up in reading Pretty Little Liars. In the first book of the series, Spencer explains that “Star Power was a game her parents had made up when Spencer and Melissa were little kids that she’d always suspected they’d pilfered from some company power retreat. It was simple: everyone shared their biggest achievement of the day, and the family would select one star. It was supposed to make people feel proud and accomplished…” At our house we do Star Power every night over dinner and we all take turns. It gives you a chance to celebrate something good every day and make it a habit to recognize yourself and each other for something that you did that went really well.
Learn from TED
Watch TED Talks – for knowledge, perspective, inspiration and motivation. Every TED talk makes a difference because you learn something new about the world or yourself. Start with committing to watch one TED Talk a week and I promise, you’ll end up watching more and you’ll be amazed at how a 20-minute talk can impact you. Make it a point to watch some together as a family and then talk about what you think or learned. The TED website has put together some great playlists that are collections of TED Talks grouped together by topic. It’s a great way to get started. Some of the playlists that I recommend checking out are Small Ways to Change the World (10 talks), Talks By Brilliant Kids and Teens (14 talks), Talks to Watch with Kids (11 talks) and Stand Up to Bullying (6 talks).
How will your new habits make a difference in 2016?