Sustainability Resolutions Overwhelming?

If you’re the kind of person, like me, who has firmly committed to allowing Google to replace your creative brain, you’re likely looking for cool New Year’s Resolutions the same way you looked about 2 months ago for a new twist on a Halloween costume. You’ll definitely find information: the flurry of articles this time of year to encourage people to incorporate sustainable practices into their lives and work is perhaps only second in terms of volume to sustainability posts around Earth Day. Everyone has ideas for how you can go a little greener, help a little more, or set your goals for sustainable living through a New Year’s Resolution.

Eventually, it gets a little overwhelming. But instead of tips this year, perhaps you might find your creative juices simmered to perfection by getting away from the noise and simply reflecting on your own goals. Through a little introspection, you might find something that will really stick with you through 2011. Just like all those ab-rollers, jump ropes and treadmills, any sustainability related resolution that you don’t truly enjoy will end up mothballed. The key, then, might be to introspect your way to something you really enjoy and that’s good for your career, the planet, your kids, your pets, etc. Below, I highlight strategies to do just that.

One possibility is to take a workshop that allows you to introspect on the world and your role in it. By co-creating curricula as you proceed through a workshop, you can highlight your objectives, career goals, interests, and hobbies, then work to create a resolution that fits neatly into these categories. Sustainable Seattle has one such workshop, just for example. There are many others of this type. The outcome? What they’re calling a “reSolution” that helps the planet as much as it helps you, and is aligned with the things that make you happy.

For proof that this sort of thing works, one need look no further than Saatchi & Saatchi S. Saatchi does this so well with large corporate clients, throughout the year. Saatchi’s strategy is to have people focus on one thing that fits a variety of criteria. In addition to the criteria of having a positive social and environmental impact is perhaps the most crucial one: your resolution must make you happy. With Wal-Mart, Saatchi rolled out the Personal Sustainability Project, or PSP, to many of the company’s 1.3 Million employees. Nowadays Saatchi is calling the next evolution of the PSP a DOT. It stands for Do One Thing. The second strategy, then, really focuses on exactly that: one thing. Can you find one thing you enjoy that will help your company and the planet at the same time?


Scott Cooney is author of Build a Green Small Business (McGraw-Hill), and Principal of, through which he teaches workshops to help people start green businesses both online and in person.

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Scott Cooney, Principal of and author of Build a Green Small Business: Profitable Ways to Become an Ecopreneur (McGraw-Hill, November 2008), is also a serial ecopreneur who has started and grown several green businesses and consulted several other green startups. He co-founded the ReDirect Guide, a green business directory, in Salt Lake City, UT. He greened his home in Salt Lake City, including xeriscaping, an organic orchard, extra natural fiber insulation, a 1.8kW solar PV array, on-demand hot water, energy star appliances, and natural paints. He is a vegetarian, an avid cyclist, ultimate frisbee player, and surfer, and currently lives in the sunny Mission district of San Francisco. Scott is working on his second book, a look at microeconomics in the green sector.In June 2010, Scott launched, a sustainability consulting firm dedicated to providing solutions to common business problems by leveraging the power of the triple bottom line. Focused exclusively on small business, GBO's mission is to facilitate the creation and success of small, green businesses.