Sustainable New Year’s resolutions

That will make 2023 a little better

Who doesn’t know them? Those “classic New Year’s resolutions” that we make year after year. For the past two years, we have foregone advice and New Year’s resolutions as a result of the gloomy times.  Now let’s get back to the subject.

“I’m really going to give up smoking next year,” or “Finally lose some weight! In 2023 I will finally be doing more sport!” More than half of Germans set new goals every year. 

According to a survey by Statista, German people want to focus on three important things in 2023. These are the results of a survey of a total of 351 respondents. 49% of Germans want to eat healthier. 48% of Germans intend to do more sport. 46% of Germans want to save more money in the new year.

Those were the resolutions for 2022

The most frequent resolutions for the year 2022 were less stress, more time for the family and friends, and climate-friendly behaviour. Every year, DAK-Gesundheit asks about the resolutions for the coming year and their implementation from the previous year. This is a representative population survey by Forsa and 1,005 people were interviewed.

According to the German Employee Health Insurance Fund (DAK), younger people in particular between the ages of 14 and 29 make resolutions for the new year and consciously set goals. With increasing age, resolutions are of less importance. It was noteworthy that: 60 percent wanted to act more environmentally or climate-friendly.

For the past five years, the desire to reduce mobile phone or computer use has been steadily increasing, states DAK. “30 per cent, two percentage points more than last year, have resolved to be online less in the future.”

But let’s be honest: How many of these dow we really achieve? According to statistics, two-thirds* of Germans promptly neglect their resolutions again. Goals that make one’s own behaviour more sustainable and the world a little better concern, for example, limiting one’s own consumption.

You will be more motivated to tackle a goal if you consider it meaningful. Only do things that you believe in yourself. While it is tempting to make big plans, it is often difficult to implement them. In times of climate change and increasing environmental awareness, sustainability is becoming more and more important to us.

Reason enough to make the new year a little more informal, feasible and sustainable. When it comes to holidays, you can implement many a good intention without sacrificing luxury or relaxing time-outs. With little effort, you can do something good not only for yourself, but also for your fellow human beings and the environment. We have come up with some smart ideas about how to make holidays sustainable in 2023.

Helping on holiday: Giving something back to the locals

There are countless ways to help people who are not as well off as we are. Be it monetary donations or donations in kind. And especially as we plan for the new year, we can give something back to the local community. In this way you can combine pleasant things with what is useful. Like a Caribbean holiday, for example.

Thanks to the Sandals Foundation’s partnership with “Pack for a Purpose”, guests at Sandals and Beaches resorts in the Caribbean can make a difference on their holiday. The initiative asks guests to pack important items such as school supplies, medical aids, hygiene articles or sports equipment back home to help provide for people in nearby underdeveloped regions of the holiday destination.

Heidi Clark, director of the Sandals Foundation, for example, is campaigning with the “Pack for a Purpose” program to ensure that holidaymakers support needy women when they visit Jamaica, Barbados or the Bahamas.

It is still difficult for local women to get hygiene products. The donated products are collected in the Sandals resorts and then distributed to local women’s centres.

Buy seasonal and local

The following recommendation is perhaps one of the best and easiest New Year’s resolutions: Buy regional and seasonal products more often. Anyone who eats seasonal and regional food can save a lot of CO2, because vegetables and fruit that are grown in greenhouses or are even flown in from overseas have significantly higher CO2 emissions than domestic potatoes, apples or carrots.

In this respect, the Baja Hotels in Sardinia can be taken as a model: Great value is placed on regionality here! The hotels work exclusively with craftsmen, artists and farmers on the island. Local and seasonal products are also served in the restaurants.

The island’s own winery, Lilliu, has also committed itself to this philosophy and works exclusively with the products that can be found in Sardinia. This is how the fine wines are produced without any chemical additives: no herbicides, no pesticides and no artificial fertilisers. Guests who wish to visit the winery can book a guided tour of the wine cellar followed by a tasting.

Avoid rubbish and enjoy the beauty of nature

Wouldn’t it be great if each of us picked up just ten things a year that were carelessly discarded in parks, on meadows or in the forest? Why not make that a resolution? Throw just two things found on the street into a bin every month and enjoy clean and plastic-free nature at the same time.

Belize, the second smallest country in Central America, is also dedicated to this commitment to nature. Off its coast lies the great Belize Barrier Reef, the second-largest reef system in the world, which is celebrating its 10,000th birthday this year. Belize wants to protect 30 percent of its sea area, with more than 10,000 square kilometres. Together with other efforts, such as the complete ban on single-use plastic, this has made Belize a pioneer in conservation in the Caribbean and even the world.

Finally, about mobile phone stress again

What was initially considered a technical achievement is now increasingly regarded as a source of stress: the mobile phone. Many find it stressful to be available everywhere and at all times. Social media has put the icing on the cake of permanently being available. Anyone who finds it difficult to switch off will find exactly the right travel destination at Hofgut Hafnerleiten in Bad Birnbach.

This refuge is an ideal place to go offline. Guests enjoy time out in the rooms, suites and themed cottages without internet, television or mobile phones and can thereby recharge their own batteries. Of course, no one has to do completely without Wi-Fi, which is available free of charge in the main building.

So where does the tradition of New Year’s resolutions come from?

The tradition of making New Year’s resolutions goes back over 4,000 years. Researchers found that the first people to make resolutions were also the first to celebrate a “new year” at all: the people of ancient Babylon. The idea of resolutions is therefore more than 4,000 years old. Good goals and wishes were sent to the gods at that time.

The ancient Romans also had a custom of making New Year’s resolutions. We have them to thank for the fact that the beginning of the year falls on the first of January, because this was introduced with the calendar change of Emperor Julius Caesar in 46 BC .

And since when has New Year’s Eve been celebrated?

The popular end-of-year festival has only had its name, New Year’s Eve, since the 16th  century, because in 1582 the last day of the year was moved from today’s Christmas Eve to December 31st, the anniversary of the death of Pope Silvester the First.

Even if the naming is of liturgical origin, then as now, New Year’s Eve was and is more of a secular than a church festival. For a long time, the Church in Rome even fought the celebrations of the citizens, who danced, ate and drank at the end of the year like no other day of the year. They declared the 1st of January a day of penance and fasting – in the hope of getting the population to worship, but without success. And that is how we continue to celebrate today.

We wish you all a healthy and sustainable 2023!



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Sebastian Kneipp
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