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5 Easy Resolutions to Tackle in 2012

We do it every year. We come up with a lengthy list of New Years resolutions that will transform our lives! We swear to finally use that gym membership, lose 10 pounds, pay off our credit cards and bulk up our savings account, all while keeping the house spotless and learning to speak Chinese. Sound familiar?

In the middle of all that, it can be easy to miss those smaller goals that, easy as they are to carry out, come with exponential benefits. This year, feel free to take it easy and still make a difference. Here are five ways:

1. Invest in a reusable coffee mug.  Disposable coffee cups may be convenient, but skipping them helps keep our forests intact. Use a reusable mug – either your own or a ceramic or glass mug in the store - instead of a disposable cup with a paper sleeve once a day for a year, and you could prevent over 16 pounds of waste and 49 pounds of CO2 emissions.    Plus, we’ll give you 10 cents off your beverage every time you bring your own tumbler.  To date, over 48,000 people have pledged to skip disposable, a promise that would save 36 trees per day, or about 18 acres per year.

2. Be a change maker in your community. You might join a group tackling home repairs for families in need, help elementary students improve their reading skills or spend an afternoon cleaning trails and streams in your town’s greenbelt. Volunteer opportunities are endless and one act of kindness can inspire even more positive change. Browse community service projects in your area.

3. Help create jobs. 2011 ended in an upswing for the U.S. economy, with just about 8.5% of the labor force out of work, down from roughly 9.5% in the beginning of the year. That’s good news, but we’ve still got some climbing to do, and you can help.

With the help of Opportunity Finance Network, Create Jobs for U.S.A. launched in November to create and sustain jobs in underserved communities. The program provides financing for community centers, small businesses and housing projects, and is seeded with a $5 million contribution from the Starbucks Foundation. Your donation can help keep the ball rolling. A gift of just five dollars rewards you with a stoic red, white and blue “Indivisible” wristband to spread the word. Give now.

4. Eat breakfast every day. By now, most Americans – 93%, in fact – believe that breakfast truly is the most important meal of the day. Even so, less than half of us make it a daily habit, the International Food Information Council found in 2009.

But if we did, we would improve our performance at work and school and have more energy for exercise. Of course, the healthier the menu the better, like a smoothie made with low-fat yogurt, a hearty bowl of oatmeal or a protein-packed breakfast wrap from Starbucks. We can do this.

5. Reconnect with an old friend over coffee. You’ve been saying that you should get together with so-and-so for ages, but there’s always so much to do! Happiness happens in the moments, so enough with the excuses. Set up that coffee date with the person you miss terribly but never have the time to connect with. You know they’d love to see you, and honestly, we would too.

What should our resolutions be? Leave a comment below, or tell us at My Starbucks Idea. Here’s to another year of meaningful change!

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