January is almost done, are you new years resolutions?

For our first blog post of the year, we wanted to talk about keeping resolutions and building habits. It's a very popular topic at the beginning of the year with momentum often fading at the end of January. So we wanted to give you a few easy ways to keep some popular resolutions. Hopefully, you'll find some inspiration to keep going with your 2020 goals, and if resolutions aren't for you hopefully you'll pick up some local tips along the way! All of our choices are free or inexpensive to help make them accessible to everyone.

Make greener choices

First up is sustainability and shopping locally. Stepping into the eco life can be a little overwhelming with plastics and single-use items invading every area of our lives, it's difficult to know where to begin without breaking the bank. We're very lucky in Deal as we have a wide array of fantastic green grocers, fishmongers and butchers that all use locally sourced products where available. In our opinion they're often better than supermarket quality for around the same price. Well there's a new shop in town Your Little Green Shop, which can help you go eco throughout the house.

We popped in and had a chat with Christine, who runs the newly opened shop. A quick and easy eco swap she suggests is to invest in a wooden washing-up brush. This eco alternative has a replaceable bristle head which can be composted, and the handle will last you forever. We were blown away by the choice the store has to offer, they have refillable shampoo, washing up liquid and lots more. We'd recommend going and having a chat with Christine yourself as she can make some personalised suggestions for you. She's happy to chat and is all about implementing change of any size. Christine is so knowledgeable about her products and is full of advice about sustainable living. Having a friendly face to ask advice makes it all less daunting.

We were really excited to use the peanut butter machine. We brought along our own jar and watched the peanuts transform into amazing smelling butter. There's a great selection of dried goods and spices available, that you can weigh out yourself. Very helpful for the home cook who may only be after a cup of brown sugar or a small amount of an unfamiliar ingredient. In the back alongside the containers of shampoo, soap and household cleaners there's a big range of sustainable items like keep cups, bamboo toothbrushes and lunchboxes, to suit those who want to dip a toe into the sustainable lifestyle, or for those who want to make bigger lifestyle changes.

Getting Exercise

Whilst going to the gym is great, it's a big commitment and quite expensive. We find going for daily walks along the beach is much easier to stick to as it's so easy and doesn't cost a thing. We don't have a dog, unlike most people out walking in Deal, but that doesn't mean we don't need daily exercise. Small things like this don't seem like much but they can really add up, if your looking to get the blood pumping a little more we'd also recommend going for a run. We started a couch to 5k last summer as we hadn't run in a few years, and it's been great to exercise along the seafront, there's always other runners out with you and everyone is super friendly.

The winter months are a tough time for many people and we've found that just a quick thirty minutes walk at the end of each day has made a massive difference, not just in fitness but it's improved our mood and sleeping patterns too. Having a daily habit makes an impact because it gives a sense of routine and comfort. When everything else is thrown out of place, there's something reassuring that we can go for a walk and hit reset. Of course, we're very lucky to have such a beautiful location to go walking in. The recent stormy weather has made for some dramatic scenes, and the vibrant winter skies are a constant source of entertainment.

Make time for reading

We have made the resolution to "read more" for a few years now. Beginning with good intentions, attempting a chapter each night. As the year progresses, reading time getting shorter guilt creeping in until we can no longer bear the sight of the novel sitting on the bedside that's been there for months. We were also stuck in a cycle. Picking up second-hand books here and there until we ran out of shelf space. We'd have a clear-out and begin the whole process again. This seemed like a waste of money and was becoming a drag.

This year, we decided to frame things differently. We decided to break the cycle and to join the library. The process of joining up was super simple and quick, we got our cards right away and could start borrowing that day. The self-service machines make the borrowing process quick and easy, no need to wait around in line, and the returns box outside is handy for returning any time of day. It's really impressive how easy the whole situation was.

At first, we were apprehensive there may be a limited selection of titles to choose from. Lucky for us, we're very slow readers so it will take us some time to make our way through the extensive selection on offer at Deal library. There's a great selection of reference books and non-fiction too. We checked out a few cookbooks to shake up our meal planning. You can find recent releases and old favourites. Including Rosie Birkett's books with beautiful shots of Deal woven throughout.

Rather than setting a target to read 50 books this year, or promising "this is the year I'll finish the Lord of the Rings trilogy", instead we're trying to make time for reading. A slight difference in the wording has allowed us to frame it as an enjoyable process again, rather than a chore we should be punished for not doing enough. No deadlines, targets or daunting unread stacks. Just a simple intention to do something we love.

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