Phewf! Can you believe 2022 is over already? We can’t. In fact, we can’t even believe 2021 or 2020 are over. Are you sure it isn’t still December 2019? Has anyone actually done the maths?
Like it or not, 2023 is coming in hot. And with everything that’s going on in the world, we figured it’d be a good opportunity to talk about some New Year’s resolutions that put people and planet smack-dab in the centre.
Instead of prescribing you with a list of resolutions from the Bank Australia Impact Resolutions Think Tank Team© (which doesn’t actually exist), we went out to our community to ask for their top tips for would-be changemakers in 2023. Here’s what they had to say.
Resolution #1: Support the underdogs
For Meneka Premkumar, founder of Melbourne-based ethical grocery store The Common Good, 2023 is the perfect year to roll up your sleeves and support the independent operators in your life. “Choose to support the underdogs,” she says. “The smaller options, where convenience isn’t always king. Shop where the owners are right there in front of you working in their business and belong to their local area. This ensures that your money is going to independent folk, who in turn choose to support other local independent folk. A circular economy of ethical commerce.”
Resolution #2: Listen to the little people in your life
“The one resolution I would suggest to those who care for children is to listen to them with intent and to encourage curiosity,” says Jayneen Sanders, Bank Australia customer, children’s book author and owner of Educate2Empower publishing. “Today, as I waited for an appointment, I had the most wonderful opportunity to witness a dad interacting with his little girl. While observing the outside world through a window, they talked about the flowers they saw, the bees they observed and so much more. Every ‘Why?’ from his daughter was explained simply and yet the language used was not ‘babied’ in any way. Together they took time to observe and explore. Parents truly are children's first educators. This little girl learnt so much more than what was outside the window.”
Resolution #3: Make First Nations allyship your default setting
“Committing to supporting First Nations people and businesses is a great way to kick off the new year with meaning, and there are so many ways to have a positive impact,” says Carly Spek from Welcome to Country, a not-for-profit marketplace for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander experiences and products. “Shop with purpose by buying your gifts and essentials from the ever-growing range of deadly First Nations businesses. Learn about the spectacular diversity of Country and traditions alongside Traditional Custodians of the world's oldest living cultures, or actively engage with a wide array of content from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices. Your small actions have a big impact!”
Resolution #4: Change your job
Sally HiIl is the founder of Purpose Conference, a two-day annual gathering in Sydney that’s all about bringing purpose-driven individuals and organisations together. So she knows a thing or two about the importance of aligning your professional life with your personal values. “If you're thinking about a career change or a new job in 2023, you could consider starting to steer your career along a more people and planet focused path,” says Sally. “The work you do takes up a huge part of your life. With your eight hours a day, five days a week, could you be doing something that makes a positive dent? It might make you happier, plus it sends a signal to employers that they need to step up their game if they're going to attract the best talent into their organisations.”
Resolution #5: Change your job
No, that’s not a typo! For some of us, a quicker route to impact might be found through our current roles and employers. How? When it comes to climate action, businesses all over Australia can have a huge role in shifting the dial – even if they’re not ‘climate’ or ‘environmental’ organisations. “You can get your workplace to shift in four key climate areas,” says Lucy Piper, Director of WorkforClimate – an NGO that helps individuals do just that. “You could help them shift to using 100% renewable energy, you can help them decarbonise their supply chains, you can encourage them to start lobbying and using their voice for climate, and you can encourage them to divest their money out of fossil fuels. It isn’t always easy work, but it’s incredibly rewarding – and an essential resolution for anyone hoping to turbo-charge their positive impact in 2023.”
Resolution #6: Make small tweaks, have a big impact
Change doesn’t need to be this huge event, either. Change can be small, incremental and sustained. Just Ask Kira Day, Impact and Engagement Manager at B Lab ANZ. “Find things in your life –things you use daily, things you use monthly – and see if you can find better alternatives that align with your values,” says Kira. “Use the B Corp directory to search. Might be something like toothpaste, cleaning supplies, and your superannuation. Or the chocolate you buy, the wine you order, and where you stay on vacation. For businesses, it might be where you order notebooks, where you bank, and the recruitment agency you use. But where we spend our money is powerful, so the more we can be aware of our choices, the better the economy we help to create.”
Resolution #7: Got pets? Shrink your carbon pawprint
“Pet consumer trends are quite concerning – especially around the excessive consumption of buying things your pet doesn’t need, and purchasing products that are not ethically produced,” says Bank Australia customer Dr. Alicia Kennedy, founder and Director Veterinarian at Cherished Pets – the world’s first B Corp vet. “Seek out and support companies that are ethical in their business practices such as B Corps like Scratch pet food and Cherished Pets. Reduce unnecessary spending and waste by exploring recycled toys and pet products, and respect your pet’s natural behaviour and psychological needs. Pets generally don’t like or need to be dressed up in clothing!”
Resolution #8: Join the Clean Money revolution resolution!
Haven’t you heard? The Clean Money revolution is here! And we’re not talking about giving your dollars and cents a scrubdown with the nearest bar of soap. “One simple and impactful resolution for 2023 is to divest your money away from fossil fuels and put it into institutions that’ll harness it to benefit people and the planet,” says Dr. Sasha Courville, Bank Australia’s Chief Impact Officer. “Bank Australia doesn’t invest in things like fossil fuels, live animal exports, tobacco or gambling, and instead uses our customers’ money to support sustainable investments, not-for-profits and inclusive and community housing. That’s the world-changing power of Clean Money.” If you want to know where your bank sits on the issue, you might find resources from Market Forces helpful.
Resolution #9: Be more present (be more animal!)
With all the distractions in our lives, it can be difficult to remain present and focused on the here and now. Which is a shame because – when you think about it – the here and now is all we have. Luckily, Dr. Alicia Kennedy has some words to the wise. “Take a leaf out of the animal’s book of living in the moment, being fully present and letting go of expectations,” she says. “Our suffering comes from when we desire things to be different to what they are. Think more like your pet, who has mastered the art of being in the moment, feeling grateful for the love and blessings that are present.”
Resolution #10: Put the phone down (and roll out the yoga mat)
Jayneen Sanders isn’t just a children’s book author extraordinaire, she’s also an amateur advocate for a lower-tech lifestyle. “In order to carve out a bit more quality time for yourself, definitely take a break from your phone,” she says. “Put it down and pick up that book you have been meaning to read instead. I also suggest getting up 30 minutes earlier three or four times a week, and making time for a 20 to 25 minute yoga practice. I tune in to Yoga with Adrienne and it has changed my life! I am stronger, fitter, calmer and more flexible. And it’s free!”
Resolution 11: Find better news sources
The inputs we have can inform our worldview and impact how we think and feel on any given day. So it’s a little strange that we so often engage with news and media without being critical of those sources of information, isn’t it? “Keep up to date with a news source that resonates with you,” says Kate McCrimmon from Free to Feed (a Bank Australia impact grant recipient who just quietly ticked over $1 million in wages paid to their participants!). “Some sources that adopt a more emotional approach to news and storytelling can make you feel like you’re not doing enough, which can be a little overwhelming and unmotivating in the process. Go with a news source that works with you.”
Resolution #12: If in doubt, write it down
Great Wrap co-founders Jordy and Julia Kay have experienced a tonne of business growth over the last couple of years. With that growth comes a lot more considerations, decisions and responsibilities to hold and to make on a day-to-day basis. Jordy keeps his mind clear and focused by regularly putting pen to paper. “Journalling,” he says, when asked what resolutions he’d recommend for 2023. “Just write down three specific things you’re grateful for that day. Today I'm grateful for Julia who made me avocado on toast when I had a lot of meetings this morning. It made me feel great! You may not master journaling but keep trying – a few days a week is much better than not doing it at all.”
And if all this feels a little overwhelming, keep it simple, and heed this advice from Small Giants Academy co-founder and Dumbo Feather Publisher and Editor in Chief, Berry Liberman: “All I can say is that for me, I’m trying to monitor my self-interest, thoughts and actions to see that they intersect with communal and global wellbeing.”
Communal and global wellbeing sounds pretty good to us. What are your resolutions for 2023? Let us know!