As we welcome in the New Year around the world I’m sure many of us will be making resolutions for the months ahead. The 1st of January marks a fresh start and a great opportunity to set personal challenges to improve ourselves, our lifestyles, and perhaps make a difference to the world around us too. However, we all know that sticking to resolutions can be tricky, so if you need a little inspiration just take a look at our favourite role models from the animal kingdom.
Many of us will promise to get a little more exercise, but despite our best intentions it is easy for motivation to fade as the months tick by. However, in the natural world being active is the key to many species’ survival. The bee hummingbird is not only the world’s smallest species of bird, it is also one of the most energetic. In order to hover and feed on the nectar of flowers it must beat its wings around 80 times per second, and to perform its intricate courtship display this rate increases to an incredible 200 beats a second. Just think about that next time you are struggling to do a few more reps in the gym…
Take up a new hobby
Taking up a hobby or learning a new skill can be really fulfilling. Not only do hobbies help us unwind, they can also be a great way of meeting new people. The only tricky part is deciding what appeals to you most; dancing, gardening, baking, yoga, signing, learning a musical instrument – the list is endless! If arts and crafts are more your thing, how about learning to knit? If the garden spider can spin a web this intricate, surely you can have a go at a scarf?
Be more eco-friendly
We all know the mantra “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”, and the New Year is a perfect opportunity to really put this into practice. Excessive waste is a huge environmental issue, so this year make sure you try and throw away as little as possible. Recycling doesn’t just mean using a different bin either, try and find new and creative uses for everything from plastics to fabrics – you might just save yourself a little money too. If you need some inspiration just take a look at this brown booby nest, creatively styled from “recycled” fishing debris!
Eat more greens
Everyone knows the importance of eating healthily, but when faced with a choice between some broccoli or another chocolate biscuit temptation can often get the better of us. If you are struggling to find the willpower to fulfil your five-a-day, spare a thought for the giant panda. As it is only able to digest a small proportion of its bamboo diet, the giant panda has to consume between 10 and 18 kilograms of leafy green bamboo a day. Perhaps you could take a “leaf” out of his book?
Lend a helping hand
The world would be a better place if we could all take a little more time to lend a helping hand to others. There are scores of volunteering opportunities out there, so this year why not make it your aim to do a little more in your community? It isn’t just people who can show altruistic behaviour either. For example, well-fed female common vampire bats have been known to regurgitate a meal to share with their hungry companions. Luckily for us humans, it is possible to make a difference simply by donating a little of your time to help a worthy cause.
And finally, the ARKive team would like to wish everyone a very happy 2013!
Claire Lewis, ARKive Researcher