“Do your little bit of good where you are: it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” Desmond Tutu
January is always a time of new hope. A fresh start. An opportunity for a new beginning. For many years I have unsuccessfully challenged myself to new year resolutions. Cliched, I know. And so far, not so good as the same resolutions come up for me year on year.
This year, I have purposefully not challenged myself to anything. I haven’t chosen a word for the year. I haven’t set my intention. But I have been inspired. With Desmond Tutu’s passing in December, I looked back at some of his words of wisdom. There was one quote that seems to have stayed with me since then – “Do your little bit of good where you are.”
All to often I don’t start. I research the things I think I should be doing to live better. I think about them. I punish myself with the reality of not doing them. But I am not always a consistent person. I hold myself back when I get overwhelmed about not getting things right, not doing them well enough. I get stuck in the planning phase. I think lots about being zero waste, about what we should be eating, and not eating. I think about going vegetarian, giving up dairy, eating only organic. I never quite get there.
This year, I’m going to try to hold this quote from Desmond Tutu near me. I know I’m not going to make it as a vegetarian, but I can decrease the amount of meat we eat. I’m never going to manage to go zero waste, but I can make different choices in the supermarket. I can be more conscious without having to be all or nothing. Each good decision contributes, and I can be okay with that. I don’t need to go all in, I don’t need the labels, I don’t need the looming sense of failure on one shoulder. Each day, each decision is okay.
So, I will try to do my little bit of good, right here in each moment. I’ll start with these easy swaps knowing each small change can make a difference:
- Add a can of lentils to Bolognese or Chilli con Carne – goes further, less meat consumption.
- Switch things out one at a time. I don’t need to go completely organic – but shifting to organic milk is an easy swap, won’t break the bank and
- Buy bigger sizes of things – I have always bought toiletries in the smaller sizes. I don’t know why I still do this when I no longer have to walk home from the supermarket with my shopping. Buying in larger sizes definitely reduces waste.
- Get into subscriptions – I love SMOL products, I order their dishwasher tablets, washing capsules and fabric softener on subscription. Partly because I’m lazy and not good at writing a shopping list, partly because they are much more environmentally friendly and finally because they are actually really decent.
- Choose the environmentally aware brands when shopping for cleaning products. Method makes a brilliant range of cleaning products, they smell amazing, work well and are available in lots of regular places.
- Cloths rather than kitchen roll. We reach for the kitchen roll way too quickly at home. A stash of old tea towels can be just as handy for spills around the house.