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  • Heni Cloake

10 Questions for a Better 2021

Goodbye 2020!


We’re all glad it’s over, but should we be so quick to forget it? There’s so much we can learn from those years that challenge us the most. If we really want 2021 to be better, then we’re going to need to carry those lessons forward with us.


When you’re faced with a year like 2020 though, it can feel a bit overwhelming to know where to start, right?


Well, I came across these 10 inspiring questions from an article on nosidebar.com that I wanted to share with you. They’re a great way to break down your year and make a blueprint for the year ahead (with not a resolution in sight)!


Resolutions usually focus on all the negative things you want to change: lose weight, save money, or stop using single use plastic. They're difficult to keep because they often mean forcing change to happen. We resent it. Life happens and plans change, our resolutions get forgotten despite our best intentions.


These questions encourage you to build on what already works! What do you love? What makes you happy? What did you think about most? Make a positive foundation to start the year on.


I'm sharing them below with a sustainability twist! As this is the first GLR blog post, I'm hoping you can get to know the person behind the shop better too!


Want to make your 2021 more sustainable?


Block out some time, grab a pen, and join me in answering the questions below. You might find some inspiration for eco-changes you can make in the upcoming year.



1. What makes this year unforgettable?


It has to be setting up The Good Life Refill!


It was always a life goal of mine to run my own business founded on eco-first ethics. At the beginning of the year, I made a note to research more into it, but didn’t imagine it would be possible for another five years.


Lockdown flipped everything on its head. With time to think and research, I realised there was no putting it off.


2020 may be unforgettable for a lot of negative reasons, but for me I will remember it as the year I made a leap of faith in making my job something I really believe in. And it’s been amazing to connect with so many others who are as passionate about making positive change too! There are seeds of hope here.



2. What did I enjoy doing this year?


I loved getting stuck into the garden! There’s nothing like connecting back to the roots and earth when the world seems a bit too mad.


I wish everyone had the opportunity to experience growing fruits & veggies, even if it’s one tomato plant on the balcony. It’s something I want to make possible through The Good Life Refill in future with a “Food Not Lawns” scheme.



3. What/who is the one thing/person you’re grateful for?


The market managers who have worked so hard to keep markets running this year with the ever-changing rules. When everything is running smoothly, it’s easy to miss the work that has gone into making it possible. I’m so grateful for the work they put in so small independents like myself and others can keep trading. Markets are an essential part of creating sustainable, community connected towns.


I’m also really grateful for the customers who continuously support this business. The Good Life Refill would not exist without you. It is what motivates me on those early market day starts (and I am not a morning person!).



4. What’s your biggest win this year?


I promised to not buy any new clothes this year and I did it! Not having anywhere to go out definitely took the pressure off needing to buy anything new.


I’d definitely recommend it as a challenge to anyone wanting to make sustainable changes. There are so many amazing and good quality clothes available on eBay and in charity shops, especially now everyone has had time to clear out their closets!



5. What did I read/watch/listen to that made the most impact this year?


“A Sustainable Mind” was the podcast sound tracking my gardening at the beginning of the year. The host interviews a whole range of people running eco-initiatives, from redistributing wonky veg to running forest school for kids. It made me realise that change was possible. In fact, it was everyday people making these initiatives happen that created change. The Good Life Refill wouldn’t be around without this podcast.


“Dare To Be Great” by Polly Higgins was the most influential book I read this year. Polly was an environmental lawyer and campaigner that tried to make Ecocide an international crime against humanity. Her book talks about her journey, her self-doubts, overcoming challenges, and why it’s so important to create change now. It highlights how everything from environment, community and self are all interconnected. It’s pretty short and an absolute must-read for anyone wanting to make a difference.



6. What did I worry about most and how did it turn out?


I was worried about the impact of coronavirus on the environment – only a small thing! It felt like we were just on the tipping point of attitudes towards the climate crisis. People were making individual changes and pressuring governments. Would this all be forgotten as we faced an unknown virus?


It’s so difficult to judge what the impact has been... In the end, we can only really influence our local surroundings and so that’s what I focused on. I also had to accept that eco-anxiety doesn't really go away.



7. What was my biggest regret and why?


The amount I used my car. Despite all my best intentions to start cycling more, it’s such an ingrained habit to jump in the car for even small errands. Even when it’s only a 15 minute cycle into the centre of town. Getting on my bike is my 2021 intention!



8. What’s one thing that I changed about myself/my lifestyle?


I permanently switched to zero-waste deodorant, shampoo and conditioner. I’ve been trying different ones for a couple of years but not always been happy with the results. What works for some peoples doesn't work for others. This year I fully committed to finding ones that worked – I'm happy I did and now there’s no going back!



9. What surprised me most this year?


It’s been a difficult year but seeing the community spirit and the amount of people wanting to create positive change has been heart-warmingly surprising. From ideas for lending libraries and repair cafes to people growing veg for the first time, there are whole networks of changemakers on our doorsteps.



10. What’s one piece of advice I’d give to someone from this year?


It’s a cliché but no less true: “Be the change you want to see in the world”. It really is a ripple effect. When one person commits to making one sustainable change it shows someone else that it is possible. It opens up a conversation about alternatives. Small, consistent actions make new habits!




Are you making an eco-conscious resolutions? Let me know! The Good Life Refill would love to help you stick to them.


Happy New Year!


~ Heni

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