Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New Year's Resolutions and Contest

So everyone, there aren't necessarily a ton of things that I've resolved to do this year. I don't want to just have an ever-growing list of things that I'll never do just because I've resolved to do them. I don't really have any health resolutions. I mean, I'm already vegan. What else is there? I guess I could theoretically resolve to stop cheating my gluten-free diet, but I don't really have an ethical problem with gluten, and they make magic pills that can help you digest gluten occasionally.

I have resolved to post more on this blog, especially Vegan College Cookbook reviews, which I guess could be food-related, and thus health-related, but that's really a stretch. But I got a seriously nicer camera for Christmas, so the photo quality on this blog should be improving! YAY! I have also resolved to be more active for the causes and charities I care about, especially animal welfare. But I guess because everyone needs one resolution that they don't mind not keeping, I also resolve to keep my room cleaner. Ha ha ha! Oh, that's a good one. So, that's not an exhaustive list of my resolutions, but too many of them would require context explanations that it's not worth bothering to mention them.

I hope you've made some resolutions that you plan on keeping. Though, as a tip, make them realistic. For example, I would not resolve to be the #1 Pop star in America by the end of the year. First of all, pop isn't even my favorite genre. Like, at all. But that's beside the point. However, I also wouldn't make them so boring or non-specific that they're not motivational, such as resolving to be "a better person" or resolving to smell more flowers. Unless of course, that's your thing. And then, by all means, smell away. I hope you're not allergic to pollen. Basically, make sure it's something that can be accomplished to your satisfaction. If you're really not sure what you want to resolve, but you want to resolve SOMETHING, here's a list of suggestions:
  • Plant a new tree or shrub by the end of the year.
    • You can buy a tree already sprouted (as long as you have permission from the powers that be,) or if you're up for a bigger challenge, try starting out all the way from a seed. Avocados are a good choice if you aren't sure what to go with. First of all, you can make yourself some yummy guacamole to get the pit to start out with. Second, the plants themselves are very pretty.
  •  Plant a veggie garden.
    • The best part about planting your own garden is picking what veggies you want to grow. Then you get really inexpensive, fresh food once it's grown. If you don't really have a yard to plant a garden in, like if you live in a dorm or apartment, or maybe your parents don't want you to dig up their nicely manicured lawn, you can plant window-box gardens, or potted plants. Those are great for smaller plants or herbs. I'd recommend rosemary and basil if you're not sure what to go with, but you want something small.
  • Complete 5 Actions per month at Peta2.
    • This one is really easy because the people over at PETA have already dome the hard work for you by making posters, collecting email addresses and researching the details, etc. Plus, you earn points by doing all those things and you can get yourself free stuff with the points. Who doesn't love free stuff?
  • Go Cruelty-Free!
    • Maybe you already only EAT vegan, but you haven't made the switch with cosmetics, clothes, etc. There are so many great brands of cruelty-free products, and many of them are really affordable. 
  • Go Vegan!
    • If you haven't already done this one, it really has never been easier. There are so many recipes out there thanks to the internet, and veganizing existing recipes is also super-simple with the amazing options that are out there.
  • Go Vegetarian!
    • If for some reason, you can't go vegan yet, or would prefer to make the switch more gradually, this is a good baby step. Again, it's never been easier!  
  • Go Organic!
    • This one can be a bit pricey. But it's certainly more healthful than eating junk food. Though I guess they do make organic "junk" food. Eh. Whatever. Aldis and Costco have a surprising amount of organic options, which are inexpensive.
  • Convince your Family / Friends to do Meatless Mondays.
    • Maybe they won't go 100% vegan or even vegetarian. But there are a lot of doctors and specialists saying that giving up meat at least 1 day a week has a ton of health benefits. This might mean that you have to cook diner once a week, but I'm sure you've got some ideas that you're dying to try, right?
  • Try one new vegan recipe per month.
    • This could involve a bit of pre-planning, but trying new things can be a lot of fun, and if you have the Vegan College Cookbook, it can be really affordable too. 
  • Stay Positive / Be Thankful.
    • The holidays are coming to a close, and it's easy to get out of the habit of being thankful for small things in life, and to take the things you have for granted. One thing that I have found helpful is to get a notebook or journal and write down things that I'm thankful for / happy about. For example, a friend of mine recently had been struggling with depression, and I encouraged him to write down 5 things a day to be thankful for. You can write more or less things, and do it as frequently as you'd like. If 5 things a day is too much, you could do 3 things a day, or 5 things twice a week. The important thing is not to quit when you forget a day. Even if you forget a week. If you're ever feeling down or discouraged, read back through the things you've written, and you're likely to feel a lot better. Everyone I've ever gotten to do this has found it extremely helpful.
If you have any other good ideas for general resolutions you'd like to share, please leave a comment! I'd love to hear what you have to say.

So, whatever you've resolved, here is a motivational picture.

This is my cat, C3PO, who I adopted from my local animal shelter. He had already had one leg amputated when I found him, but he gets along without it pretty well, even if he looks kind of ridiculous when he runs. Anyway, the other day, he climbed on top of our giant old TV that was given away, and was acting like he had achieved the most amazing accomplishment possible. It was pretty much adoreable. This was just an excuse to post a picture of my cat.

Alright. So here's the contest part:

First, you must follow this blog by at least one method if you do not already. Next, using the contact form located in the right sidebar, send me your name and email address, and at least 1 activism-related resolution. The winner will be randomly selected by computer, but if your resolution is just "I resolve to be more active" or something like that, then you won't qualify. And trust me. You want to win. Why? Because here's what the winner gets (approximately $25 value):
  •  2 stickers from Sevenly, a company which funds a huge variety of humanitarian organizations by selling super-cool shirts and other apparel
  • 3 magnets made from Sevenly stickers that are great for lockers or mini-fridges
  • 15 magnets made from PETA stickers that are also great for lockers or mini-fridges. 
  • 1 customized bracelet made by me. You choose colors and specify size. The bracelet will appear similar to this one in my web store, only it will say "ACTIVIST" instead of a name. 
  • The winner will also be featured on this blog with a photo, short biographical description, and their resolution. (The winner will be contacted for the photo and description, as well as the details of the bracelet after being selected. This will act as a conformation method.)
All entries must be received before February 1st 2014. There also must be more than 10 qualifying entries, or the contest will be canceled. If there are a large number of participants, I may add runner-up places with smaller but still awesome prizes. In the event of cancellation, a consolation prize will be available to any participants. I reserve the right to change the rules and awards at any time. I'm sorry if you don't think the prizes are cool. I'm a poor college student, remember?

Happy New Year, Everyone! Good luck! Feel free to comment and tell me what a great idea this is. Tell all your friends about this contest and encourage them to enter as well! Who knows. Maybe they'll share with you if they win.

*************** UPDATE: CONTEST IS CLOSED.