Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Simplify, simplify, simplify.

One of my biggest resolutions for this year is to live more simply, and focus on the necessities. The needs and not the wants. Here is a list of some of the most important ones:

>> Walking more. Ever since I brought my car to school, I find myself making excuses about why I need to drive somewhere, yet somehow I lived without it at school for two years just fine.

>> Riding my bike more, even when it's cold and I reeeeally just want to take the bus or drive my car. My job this upcoming semester is also very close to my house (and I get to wear school clothes this time! Cya heels and pencil skirts.) so I really have no excuse not to bike to work either.

>> Eating closer to the garden, and choosing organic or local whenever possible (HyVee has a great organic section for all you Mizzou students!).

>> Buying less and saving more, and only spending money on the necessities. As I learn more and more about the way that people in other places live, through documentaries or sermons or youtube videos or whatever it may be, and how many people are forced to live with so little, it really makes me think about the things that I have and the way that I have spent my money in the past. Non profit work and helping those who are less fortunate has always been something that is near and dear to my heart, yet I thought that donating to an organization and doing a mission trip here and there was enough. It's not. We think we need the coolest cars, most luxurious cars, even though they're complete gas guzzlers and far worse than other, more efficient options for our environment. We think we need the designer handbags, even though a $20 bag would probably be just as practical. We go out to the bars and spend countless amounts of money on over-priced drinks or on cover charges or cabs at the end of the night, when that money could be going towards so many better things. All of these things are part of our culture, and these materialistic ideas have been instilled in our minds since we were little due to advertising and how products are being marketed. I mean heck, I wouldn't wear anything that didn't say Abercromie & Fitch or Hollister Co. on it in middle school because I thought I wouldn't be "cool" if people didn't know where I bought my clothes from. But now we're older and wiser, and I think deep down we all know that its the people and the moments and the experiences that are most valuable, and the rest of it is just noise. So I urge all of you to simplify your life, and focus on the things that really matter. While you're at it, check out (an organization I'm in at Mizzou that strives to raise money and awareness for people in Africa) and see how you can start this resolution today by sacrificing the price of two lattes (or two drinks or a meal at chipotle etc.) per month in order to help the lives of those who have nothing.

>> On that note, saying goodbye to lattes. I think I need it, but I know I don't, and I especially don't need to be spending almost $5 a day or consuming give-or-take 300 liquid calories on something that will last me a maximum of 15 minutes. This means making tea at home and carrying it to class in a thermos, or substituting lattes for black coffee or tea if I need a pick me up while studying on campus or downtown, which will save me approximately $2-3 each time and a whole lot of unnecessary calories.

>> Cutting out alcohol. When reading health and lifestyle books, I find this is always one of the first things they talk about. Our culture is so revolved around drinking, but I have found that there are so many ways to have fun and feel good about yourself without it. I'm not saying that a casual drink here and there is bad, but think about how much you spend on alcohol every month, and then the drunk food and hungover food that you eat the next day. For most college students that's a lot. Try substituting a night on town town with a game night or movie night with your friends, staying in on a Wednesday or Thursday instead of going out to read a good book, or going out with friends to just grab one beer. You'll feel better, happier, and your body and bank account with thank you.

>> And the one that's on everyone's list, working out more and hopefully completing my fourth half-marathon with some great friends this spring!

Check out this video on Bellingham, Washington; a small town that has developed a completely sustainable, local-living economy. They trade cookies for fresh veggies! I wish we could all live like this. Who wants to move here with me?!

These are just some of my resolutions and the way that I hope to live in 2012. What are your resolutions for 2012?

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