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Blog - Annick Girard

For as long as I can remember, on January 1, I’ve been getting together with friends and family to make resolutions for the coming year. I never have much to say; I feel like I’ve been caught off guard and can’t come up with anything significant or worthwhile. I always jump right in, but somehow the lack of thought bothers me.

Quite honestly, most resolutions only last a couple of weeks and are forgotten by mid-January—left to gather dust in our inner attics! Perhaps because we haven’t thought it through, or perhaps because we’ve suddenly decided to make unrealistic changes to things that are part and parcel of our lives.

And yet I like this tradition a lot. Beneath it there’s a much more meaningful desire—to do better, to be better people. I really enjoy trying to be a better person . . . and believe me, I still have a way to go! It’s a first step towards changing the world, each in our own way, and I’m totally committed.

To better understand the tradition of new year’s resolutions, I decided to explore their origins.

It turns out that the tradition of making new year’s resolutions dates back 4,000 years. The Babylonians adopted good habits, returning borrowed farming tools and repaying their debts. To avoid disappointing Janus, the God of peace and keeper of the gate of Heaven, the Romans promised him they would become better people. For others, resolutions are of a religious nature. The common denominator, however, is always the same: self-improvement.

There is a clear parallel with the environmental sector. We firmly believe in raising individual awareness, which leads to a significant collective movement. These are the first steps towards change.

Now it’s time to turn the tide and make resolutions that last. Think carefully about your decision, talk to friends and family, be inspired by others. Sit down and really put some careful thought into turning unrealistic resolutions into concrete objectives and develop an action plan that includes how to achieve them.

What’s my resolution? To be inspired by those around me and celebrate their dedication. Because there are good ideas everywhere, sometimes even in the smallest of gestures. I’m very lucky to have inspiring colleagues who set a great example by doing all sorts of things to make the world a better place.

Colleen Thorpe, Project Coordinator for Sustainable Development, will be learning about responsible investment this year so she can transfer her conventional RRSPs to ethical funds. Info:

Marilène Bergeron, Project Coordinator for Sustainable Transportation, has decided to grow the food she eats as much as possible. Taking one step at a time, she has successfully grown herbs on her balcony and in a community garden. Next step: tomatoes! Info:

Normand Roy, Project Coordinator for Sustainable Building, is going to tackle food waste at home. This includes eating up all leftovers. Info:

Gaëlle Zwicky, Research and Logistics Agent for the Family Farmers Network, has made a three-part resolution. On a personal level: to be in the present moment and stay grounded in reality. Where friends and family are concerned: to have more empathy and be less judgmental. On a social level: to learn more about issues so she can be more supportive. Inspiring, don’t you think?

Lyne Roger, Senior Fundraising Officer, intends to replace her usual cleaning and personal hygiene products with bulk products and reusable containers. Info: Look on the Web for stores near you.

Madalina Burtan, communications intern, is going to find out about the long-term effects of using conventional beauty products that contain harmful chemicals and find alternatives. Info:

Anne-Marie Legault, Project Coordinator for Collective Choices, will be using washable rather than disposable handkerchiefs. Info:

I’d like to finish with a colleague’s heartfelt thought (yes, I love my colleagues): Changing the world isn’t a goal; it’s a long process, a long journey! There is always room for self-improvement.

I like it!

And what about you? What’s your resolution for the 365 days of 2015?