02/09/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Failure Is Indeed An Option


I'm sorry Apollo 13's Ed Harris, but failure is an option. Not only that, it's expected. Here we are in our second week of January and a resounding 88 percent of us are -- to put it bluntly -- failures, and at our very first task of the new year: that dreaded resolution.

I'm really not a fan of this holiday tradition for this exact reason. Who wants to kick off another year by being reminded of how much they need to improve and what an incredibly arduous process improving will be? Not me. I mean, I vowed that there would be more sobriety in my life for the first 30 days of 2009. This obviously brilliant plan quickly dissolved into a haze as the second round of champagne bottles were uncorked come 12:32 am January 1.

Like mine this year, the majority of resolutions involve doing "more" -- I will go to the gym more, I will eat more healthy food, I will read more, I will be more cultured, I will organize more, I will clean more, I will spend more time with the family. Green resolutions are particularly guilty of this emphasis on piling on yet another obligation -- I will recycle more, I will buy more green products, I will be more eco-conscious.

So, here's my revolutionary idea: this year, let's do less.

Let's embrace these every year resolution failures, our hard lessons learned, and our clearly inherent laziness and say, "This year, less is more."

We all know, when it comes to being green, the emphasis is really already on consuming less. I am the first to say, however, that consuming less is definitely more than you bargain for. After all, going vegan to consume less meat, walking to work to consume less gas and flushing once a day to consume less water are all too painful for me to consider. But, in the spirit of lethargy and laziness, there are so many ways we can do less without almost any real effort at all. Here are some quick thoughts:

1. Bleed ink less -- We all print more stuff than we should, I've accepted this reality. My personal excuse is that I find it impossible to edit anything I write on the computer. I got lucky one day and discovered Ecofont, a terrific free download from Spranq that cuts your ink usage by 20%, looks good and won't impact your reading (or my editing) pleasure. Throw in a thinner grade of paper when you press "print" and there you go -- you're already on the road to doing less without even thinking about it.

2. Press power less -- Even when electronics are not in their outlets, they are sucking valuable (and wasteful) energy and electricity from your home or office. So why not do away with the power switch whenever we can and simply plug-in instead of press "on." One less thing on the list.

3. Turn the page less -- Maybe it's just me, but I couldn't jump on the Kindle bandwagon when I tried it this summer and I was planning to try out the Sony Reader this Christmas. But we don't need to buy more to do less. It turns out I have already been carrying around the world's most used e-book for the past six months -- the iPhone loaded up with the free Stanza application. There are thousands of free titles from the likes of Project Gutenberg, as well as free content from Time, the Economist and the New York Times. Conveniently, it means more money in your bank account and less paper cuts.

And this is really just the tip of the iceberg. So, come on -- join me. Do less! Be lazy! And save the planet? Sounds like a perfect start to 2009 to me.

Failing never sounded so good.

Can you think of any more resolutions like this?