The charity making life better by water

Five New Year’s resolutions for 2022 that make a positive difference

From making a meaningful impact on our canals and rivers to improving your own wellbeing, the best New Year's resolutions are those with meaning and purpose.

Volunteers in Birmingham

We know it can be hard to stick to New Year's resolutions. Come February or March, you might find yourself thinking 'what's the point?'

But rather than brush that thought away, ask yourself again, what is the point? What will happen if I don't continue my resolution?

If the answer is not much, then you've set the wrong goal.

New Year's resolutions with a purpose

The best resolutions to stick to are those with a point and a purpose.

Most of us set them because we want to feel better, or make a positive impact to society and the environment.

For 2022, here are five resolutions you can make with us that are actually worth sticking to.

Happy volunteers

1. Make your commute greener and swap roads for towpaths

Did you know that our canals and rivers are literally on the back doorstep for almost nine million people?

With around a fifth of the UK's greenhouse gas emissions coming from road transport, you can help the UK reach net zero by 2050 by leaving your car keys at home and taking a greener (and more scenic) route to work along our towpaths.

Why not start by swapping just one commute a week?

2. Volunteer in a way that works for you

Volunteering is a classic New Year's resolution, but for some, it can be hard to commit to long term.

The good news is, we have a variety of volunteering roles across England and Wales that cater for all schedules, no matter how hectic. The even better news is, they all make a positive impact in some way.

Whether it's through litter picking, creating biodiverse spaces, or educating young minds through our Explorers programme, it's all volunteering work with a purpose.

Walking to work in Manchester

3. Spend regular time by your local canal

It's really that simple. We've all heard and read the studies. Spending time outside can benefit you both mentally and physically. But did you know that new findings show that spending time specifically by water can boost your wellbeing even further? Don't just take our word for it, read more from TV's Dr Amir Khan.

Make a pledge with yourself to visit your local canal on a regular basis. Whether you choose to stroll along the towpath with friends, perch in a favoured spot for some thinking time and nature watching, or don your trainers for a lunchtime jog, you're bound to feel the benefit.

4. Take up a fun new hobby

If you're keen to get more active in 2022, thoughts of joining a gym or a fitness class may have crossed your mind. And while you may sign up with the best of intentions, how long will you keep it up? By March you'll have perfected your excuses for not going, you'll still be paying for it each month and feeling guilty about the wasted money.

Remember what we said about spending time in the open air being a great wellbeing booster? Combine the great outdoors with some fun activities and you're onto a winner.

Try something with us that you'll actually enjoy, such as a free paddleboarding or fishing session, or discover some walking, cycling and jogging routes near you.

Paddleboarding on the canal

5. Find a way to #ActNowForCanals

With one in eight people not having access to private outside space, canals have been a lifeline for so many during the pandemic.

We are thrilled that they bring such positivity and a boost of wellbeing into people's lives. But, looking after these precious spaces is costly and takes many hands. We need your help to make canals in your area blue, green and better, so that we can bring nature back into our towns and cities and continue to deliver health, happiness and wellbeing to millions of people.

For your New Year's resolution, will you find a way to #ActNowForCanals? Why not take part in one of our citizen science projects, raise funds, volunteer or just clear up litter?

Every small action you take can make a huge difference.

Last Edited: 22 December 2021

photo of a location on the canals
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