Making New Year’s resolutions is a tradition for many people, but not everyone takes them seriously. (Most, in fact, don't.)
This year, instead of just going through the motions of adding a few aspirations that you haven’t really thought through, commit to setting goals that can genuinely make a difference to you and the world.
It’s time to take responsibility and make more positive changes than ever to how we live, and resolving to embrace a more environmentally-friendly and sustainable lifestyle in the new year will not only benefit the health of the planet, but your own health as well.
And while there are virtually tons of actions that you can take and commit to conquering by year's end, here are five essential eco-friendly New Year's resolutions that EVERY Spartan can make to minimize their impact on the environment next year.
Eco-Friendly New Year's Resolutions to Make in 2022
1. Reduce Single-Use Plastic Consumption
This is a no-brainer. Research shows that while one million plastic bottles are bought around the world every minute, 91% of them won't be recycled. Instead, they end up in landfill sites, rivers, city streets, and green spaces. The harm that this causes to birds, fish, other wildlife — not to mention the natural ecosystems of the places that Spartans like to train and race — is horrific.
Related: 5 Selfish Reasons to Plant a Tree Today
So, don’t be an ass. Use refillable water bottles when training or competing. Besides the fact that they’re less likely to become immediate landfill fodder, their production uses less oil and releases less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than single-use plastic bottles, and they’re better for water in general.
2. Carpool to Spartan Races
Rather than driving solo to races, suggest carpooling with other participants to reduce the number of vehicles hitting the road on race day.
Don’t worry if you’re a newbie to the community either. The camaraderie between Spartans on and off the course is legendary, so just drop a request on your local Spartan Facebook page to see who’s on for sharing driving duties to specific races.
And a further advantage of carpooling to popular races, besides the pollution reduced and the friendships forged? Less congestion around the courses during weekend race events.
3. Run Your Commute
This is a particularly good resolution for Spartans training for challenging races in 2022. By deciding to run or cycle to work rather than commute by car or public transport, you’re not only helping to bump high-polluting vehicles off the road, but you’re also going to take your training up a notch. Therefore, the further the distance to your workplace, the better. And if there are hills, see that as a plus.
Working out on your way to work also reduces your risk of illness. Research shows that swapping your car for more physically active forms of travel decreases the possibilities of heart disease, stroke, and premature death.
4. Recycle or Repurpose Old Racing Shoes
Racers love their shoes. And if you like to run in different terrains, you’ll likely have more than a few pairs for each environment.
But here’s the thing: The production of sneakers is energy-intensive, and many of the materials used are synthetic. So, tossing them in the trash when you’re done with a particular pair is a no-go, and leaving them piled high in a corner of your garage or wardrobe doesn’t make sense either.
Instead, recycle your old shoes whenever possible. (And, there are several recycling and repurposing programs for running shoes across America, making this resolution convenient to comply with.)
5. Make Your Own Race Fuel
Racers — whether they're training, hitting a Spartan course, or taking on another kind of endurance run — typically load up with whatever energy bars, drinks, and gels they feel they’ll need before, during, and after their run. But if you take a look at the ground after a race and note the vast amount of plastic wrappers and bags left behind, you'll get the picture on why eco-friendly choices around the snacks we bring to races are a necessity.
Not only is this good for the environment, but it’ll be good for your gut, as you’ll know exactly what ingredients you're putting into your body.