It’s the beginning of a new year (hello, 2017!) and for many people that means it’s also time for New Year’s resolutions. We’ve all heard that those resolutions tend to fall by the wayside sometime around February, but that doesn’t stop us from trying to make positive changes! There is a way to stick with those resolutions, though. Here’s a look at this year’s three most popular New Year’s resolutions, and how mobility can help you keep them.
- Get Healthy
This doesn’t have to mean going to a gym. There’s a really, really easy way to improve your health almost immediately: less sitting and more moving. Unfortunately, if you drive to work alone during peak rush hour, you’ve built a large amount of sitting into your day. And that driving time can be detrimental to your health. Studies show that driving more than 10 miles each way to and from work can increase your cholesterol, raise your risk for depression and anxiety, and raise your blood pressure.
But incorporating a more active commute into your routine, even if it’s only one or two days a week, can help improve your health. That could mean taking the bus or train, riding your bike, walking, or combining walking and bike riding with transit. Eliminating a solo driving commute altogether is another option, and it’s one that more employers are exploring. Teleworking means employees use the time they would otherwise spend in traffic in much more productive ways.
- Live Life to the Fullest
For many people, time spent with family, traveling, exploring, or creating things is infinitely more exciting than time spent sitting in traffic. Yet when we stay in the habit of grabbing the car keys and heading out the door to drive alone during rush hour, we’re taking time away from ourselves (and others) that could be spent doing more of what we love.
Changing your commute is one way to get that time back. If your employer has a policy in place for teleworking or flex hours, try exploring that option and getting out of peak traffic times. Transit and ridesharing are also good ways to get some of your time back: as long as you’re not driving, you can catch up on emails, read, knit, text, even watch your favorite Netflix series. And Capital Metro’s trains and some buses include free WiFi to help you get online.
- Spend Less and Save More
We all know that it takes money to fill our gas tanks, but do you know just how much money you siphon into your car once you take into account insurance, maintenance, gas, parking, and time spent in traffic? By some estimates, a 10-year old car costs almost $6,000 a year to maintain and drive, and a new car costs double that.
Even if you’re not ready to ditch your car altogether, using it less frequently can save some money. Combining car sharing like car2go or zipcar with transit, bike riding or bike share, and TNC services like RideAustin or Fare is one way many car-lite folks get around without their own vehicle.
For more inspiration, check out what Movability board member Roger Cauvin and his wife wrote about their car-free experiment, and all the mobility options they were able to fill the car-shaped hole in their life with.