How to make New Year’s resolutions stick

(Sam/ Pixabay)

The New Year is always a cause for celebration, not only because it closes the cycle of the past year and moves on to a new one, but also because beginnings always hold so much promise.

(Sam/ Pixabay)

Many people use the New Year to make resolutions to better their lives. Numerous studies have shown that if one wants to make a resolution–New Year’s or otherwise–stick, they should aim for smaller, doable goals that they can easily fit into their lifestyles. 

Another tip is to incorporate potential habits one by one, as adding several changes at the same time might end in overwhelm and anxiety, discouraging the doer instead of enriching their life.

For Filipinos who want to support the local agriculture industry but don’t know where to start, here are some low-pressure suggestions:

Use what you already have. While not directly related to farmers and fishers, one of the best ways to ease into a low waste, environmentally conscious lifestyle is to use what one already has. There is no need to buy environmentally friendly items such as specially labeled travel mugs or food containers when one can use what is on hand, such as repurposing glass jars and plastic containers instead of throwing them out. Remember that being environmentally conscious shouldn’t be an aesthetic, but a sincere way of life. 

Avoid food waste. Food waste is a huge problem in the agriculture industry, with much of it happening even before meat, seafood, and produce hit the shelves. Not only is wasted food food that is’t going into a person’s stomach, rotting, uncomposted food adds to the global garbage problem because it is unsightly and unsanitary, takes up space in landfills, and contributes to the methane gas that is a big factor in global warming and climate change. Buy only items that are sure to be eated, mark items in the refrigerator and arrange them in such a way so that they will be eaten before they spoil or expire, and take home leftovers when eating out. 


Buy directly from small farmers when possible. More and more smallholder farmers are finding ways to reach the customer directly. It can be through privately organized weekend markets; government-sponsored initiatives like Kadiwa ni Ani at Kita, a traveling market that links farmers and fishers with consumers; websites that buy straight from farmers at competitive prices; or straight from a farm or coop’s social media site. Social media has become a boon for many farms who can now reach customers without a middleman. It’s beneficial for consumers as well because now they can get an insight on farming practices, get to know who grew their vegetables, and are ensured a fresh harvest whenever they make a purchase.

Vacation on a farm. Now that traveling is allowed again, consider vacationing on one of the Department of Tourism’s accredited agritoursim sites. These are farms that offer both day and overnight guests a chance to experience farm life. They often feature fun activities like farm tours and pick and pay programs, where you pick vegetables yourself and pay for them after. Many feature restaurants whose ingredients come straight from the farm itself. Vacationing on an agritourism site is a fun, painless way to support the local agriculture industry. In fact, all one has to do is enjoy the experience!   

Ask questions and seek accountability. If one has the mental bandwidth for it, one can begin asking questions about the local agriculture industry and seeking accountability for systemic problems. This means going beyond blindly reacting to issues as they crop up and studying the causes and potential solutions to these problems. This is probably the hardest thing to do on this list because Filipinos love giving their opinions on everything, and most of it tends to come from cultural myths or unverified sources, but asking intelligent questions about the agriculture industry instead of blindly reacting to whatever is on the news can help support it. 

Support small and peasant farmer organizations. Listen to industry practitioners, especially smallholder and peasant farmers. There are many smallholder and peasant farmer and fisher groups one can support so that one can get an idea of what the people who feed our country have to face on a daily basis. Joining such a group, even as an audience member in one online discussion, is a good start in understanding the realities of the local agriculture industry. 

Don’t feel guilty! Lastly, don’t feel guilty if some or none of these are doable at the moment. Life is hard enough without people making themselves feel guilty over a New Year’s resolution list. In the end, what matters is that one does what they are capable of doing at that moment, and without force or guilt. 

This piece was first published in the Opinion page of

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Yvette Tan
Yvette Tan is Agriculture magazine's managing editor’s web editor. She is an award-winning writer who likes to eat, travel, and listen to stories about the strange and supernatural. She is dedicated to encouraging people to push for sustainable food sources and is an advocate of food security, food sovereignty, and the preservation of community foodways.

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