Published by Ashley Palmer.

The following article was written by Leigh-Anne Dennison.

It is said that it takes 28 days to form a new habit or break an old one. Rather than making a slew of restrictive resolutions that won’t make it to February, this New Year’s Day consider making a list of 12 habits that you can make or break to help animals, the environment, and yourself—and then focus on tackling a new one each month.

1. Read the labels. Start with a simple but hugely impactful change. Information is power, and reading the label makes you an informed consumer.

2. Forsake fur. With so many fantastic insulating fibers and fabrics available today, there’s no reason to choose fur-lined gloves, hats, or coats for warmth.

3. Say “so long” to cruel wool. Both natural fabrics (cotton, linen, hemp, etc.) and synthetic fabrics are excellent for keeping warm in cold climates.

4. Go vegetarian. Cut out meat for a month and see how you feel. If you need to take it slower, try meatless Mondays in January, and then add meatless Tuesdays, Wednesdays, etc. You’ll be fully vegetarian by July!

5. Cut out dairy products. Take a month to try the various alternatives to dairy products that are now available. If soy milk isn’t your thing, try rice milk, almond milk, or coconut milk.

6. Excise eggs. Challenge yourself to go 28 to 31 days without eggs. Like dairy product alternatives, there are a many alternatives to egg products available. Replacing eggs in recipes is a great way to start.

7. Bee kind. Honey is sweet, but maple and agave syrups are sweet and kind. Take a month to try them out and see if your sweet tooth isn’t just as satisfied with the swap.

8. Feel as good as your look. Buy beauty products that are cruelty-free—your conscience will thank you for it. Seek out products that aren’t tested on animals, preferably those that are certified vegan.

9. Buy solely nonleather. Put your best foot fashionably forward by shopping for shoes or boots with synthetic soles and manmade uppers. Shop for faux-leather and faux-suede belts, gloves, and coats as well.

10. Don’t do down. Quilts filled with cotton or polyester can be just as warm and cozy as those filled with duck or goose feathers, and memory foam pillows are not only comfortable but also good for your sleeping posture.

11. Craft cruelty-free. A number of big-name yarn and fabric manufacturers produce high quality (vegan) craft products made from cotton, linen, and bamboo as well as many synthetic fibers that rival those made from animals.

12. Get involved. Organizations don’t know what customers or the public want unless they are told. Write letters to compliment cruelty-free companies and respectfully complain to those you’d like to see change their policies, practices, or products.

Hopefully by the end of the year, these experimental changes will stick. Even if some only survive for a month (on this first attempt), you can take pride in knowing that you’ve taken steps toward living a more compassionate life.

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