The days leading up to New Year’s Eve are often ripe with sudden epiphanies and tabula rasa optimism. “2016 is going to be my year!” you may say. “This is the year I’m going to quit smoking, get in shape, and eat less sugar,” you might hear from those around you.

Resolutions are, by definition, very personal and an individual vow of self-improvement. But historically, resolutions started out as something that was more of a collective pledge. For example, the Babylonians all pledged they would pay back their debts. The Knights of the medieval epoch renewed their commitment to the concepts of chivalry on January 1st.

In the spirit of collective wellbeing, here are four New Year’s Resolutions specifically customized for those living in Lebanon to make it a better place.


1. Recycle, Recycle, Recycle


Whether a long-term solution to the garbage crisis is found or not, the fact is that recycling on a mass scale needs to be implemented. There are lots of organizations working for this cause. Sign up with Recycle Beirut and do your part for the environment and the country.


2. Buy foods that are local and in season


When you buy foods that are in season, you are saving money as well as ensuring a lighter carbon footprint since the food doesn’t have to travel long distances to arrive on your kitchen table. It’s also a great way to support local economies and farmers who rely on sales of produce for their livelihood.


3. Support small businesses in the country


This shouldn’t be a very difficult resolution to keep since we have amazing small shops all over Beirut. For example, next time you want to buy a book why not try Hamra's Little Bookshopinstead of one of the big, corporate offerings.

4. Honk less


Keeping traffic stress to a minimum won’t just help your own psychological wellbeing but will impact all those around you. The incessant (and often unnecessary) honking of cars during rush hour is taking its toll on everyone in the city. Please, think twice before you slam on your steering wheel. The key to keeping this resolution is making sure that you give yourself plenty of time to get from your home to wherever you want to go. Often the people with the shortest fuses are the ones in a rush, who are late. If you give yourself an extra ten minutes in the morning then you won’t be as angry if you are faced with a traffic jam and will be less likely to honk out your frustration.

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