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Year in Review + Ethical Resolutions

The time has come to say goodbye to this glorious, tumultuous year. 2015 was a weird one.


I feel like I came into my own as a writer. I took risks, got rejected, and published a few articles and posts that I’m really proud of (see one, two, and three). I worked with some cool companies, met some cool people, and befriended lots of ethical bloggers who have helped me refine my voice and find the confidence to press on.

Working in an increasingly crowded space means there’s always someone else doing it better. There’s always a prettier face, a more approachable writer, a bigger success story. But I’m learning that that’s ok, because there’s only one me and I’ve got to believe that I have something to offer or there’s no point at all.

I had intended to start writing a book this year, but I realized early on that I need more time to define myself as a writer, blogger, and conscious consumer. That’s ok. Things will work out in time. I’m also considering more formal study, but we’ll see what 2016 brings.

This year, I feel like a real, capable adult for the first time, well, ever. And I understand that my words and actions have weight, not only in this space, but in everyday life. I’m learning the exhausting work of practicing kindess and fostering empathy for everyone – acknowledging my privilege, stepping out of conversations I have no business being involved in, and listening, even when I don’t like what I’m hearing.

This year I’ve been angrier, more humbled, more sure, and more emotionally exhausted than ever before and I hope that the ride has taught me something. It’s hard to keep the faith in a world of near insurmountable tragedy, violence, and catastrophe. Things aren’t ok and it’s easy to toss up your hands and say, “What’s the point of trying?” every time another person dies in a mass shooting, or a refugee is denied entry, or another human rights abuse is brought to light. But we press on, because there’s nothing else we can do.


1. Get a plan.

Figure out what I want to do in the long term and take intentional steps to get there. Ever since I graduated, I’ve been flailing around waiting to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. I feel like I’m getting close to knowing, and it’s time to just go for it.

2. Reduce my plastic and materials consumption.

I took a few steps to reduce my daily waste this year, but it’s time to go all the way: bring my reusable bags to the grocery store, purchase reusable food storage bags, use what I have until it’s gone, consider shampoo and soap bars over liquids that require plastic containers. I’m excited about this, because I know from switching to cloth pads and cotton rounds that it’s really not hard!

3. Read more books.

I’ve got a big ol’ stack of books waiting to be opened. All I need to do is make time to read them. From capitalism to theology, global manufacturing to quiet novels, I know that I need the knowledge and enrichment good books bring.

4. Write more articles on ethical living and theology.

I want to continue to pitch large publications and write better long form pieces for the blog, too. I have a list of post ideas and I just need to get started on them. If you have a question or a topic idea, let me know.

5. Integrate my values into everything I do.

I want to get better at reconciling my consumer ethics to my everyday behavior, and vice versa. It’s all too easy to put things in boxes and fail to recognize the internal inconsistencies in my ethical outlook. I want to think harder about how my faith practices, political and social views, and moral perspectives play into one another.

6. Pare down.

It’s time to get a grip on my “collecting” habit. I don’t need to buy everything I like at the thrift shop. I don’t need to keep my 11th grade notes. A few blank spaces on the wall never killed anyone. I have a tendency to buy and keep things just for the heck of it and I think it’s time to say goodbye to a few things (responsibly, of course – I’ll donate to local thrifts or sell on ebay).

7. Exercise like a responsible person.

I’ve spent all of my adult life justifying my near total lack of exercise. To be fair, I do work in retail, so I get more exercise than your average office worker just by going to work, but I’m starting to feel my age and I would like to start jogging, or at least power walking, 2-3 times a week.

8. Celebrate humanity.

Look for the good, in myself and others. Seek reconciliation. Always give others the benefit of the doubt. See my failures as normal, expected parts of being human. Know that being human is good enough (you know, but try to be a good human).


I’m curious to know what your thoughts are on this year and the next one. What did you learn about yourself this year? What are you looking forward to?


Check out my fellow Ethical Writers Co. members’ Resolutions posts:

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Tuesday 5th of January 2016

Great post. I think that listening even when you are not liking what you're hearing is not for everyone but it's a gift and very rar. I also think I have it and that is why I value it a lot. It is also something that you gain with patience and time. I also love writing but I'm just getting my feet and that is why I want to read more and write more too. The collecting is a problem I need to solve too but my problem is nick-nacks. Have a great 2016, hope you get to achieve all your goals.

Sandi Erickson

Saturday 2nd of January 2016

I'm sorry you had such a bad experience with Direct Sales, Avon more specifically. This has not at all been my experience with Trades of Hope. I've met and traveled with the companies founders and found them all to be women of integrity and genuinely caring for our artisans and for us. They love doing what they can to empower, reward and encourage us. Thanks for responding to my comment.

Rebekah Jaunty

Saturday 2nd of January 2016

"When I was a kid, I would quit anything I wasn't immediately good at..." Same here, lady, which means that only at age 30 am I finally learning to be a humble beginner and screw up publicly. Wish I'd started decades ago!

Leah Wise

Saturday 2nd of January 2016

I LOVE this comment. Thanks for the shampoo bar info. I'm going to look into Liggett. And thanks for your encouragement. I am prone toward tons of self criticism, which, on the positive side, can be a driving force to keep pushing myself, but more often than not, it just paralyzes me from doing the things I want to do. When I was a kid, I would quit anything I wasn't immediately good at, so it's hard to turn that bad habit around and keep working at things even when I'm not clearly "the best," whatever that means.I'm looking forward to a year of working hard without so much pressure on myself to have everything turn out the way I expect it to.

Leah Wise

Saturday 2nd of January 2016

Thank you for your encouragement. I wasn't trying to be too hard on myself, but I often feel like I'm not where I'm supposed to be or doing exactly what I'd like to be doing. It's so nice to hear that what I'm doing is appreciated. Thanks and happy new year!

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