I have a confession to make: I am a chronic New Year’s resolutioner. I love New Year's Eve -- the sparkling dress, the sparkling wine, and the sparkling new year laid out in front of me full of possibilities. Every year, like most of us, I vow to lose weight, save money, and spend more quality time with my friends and family. But every year, just like that sparkling New Year's Eve dress, my resolutions usually don’t make it past February.
But this year it’s going to be different! This year, I have a secret weapon -- the sharing economy. I am sensing some raised eyebrows, but read on to learn how the sharing economy can help you stick to your New Year’s resolutions.
Get Fit and Lose Weight
So it seems, according to a Neilsen study, 43 percent of us will commit to some kind of diet and exercise plan in the new year, but 76 percent of us will fail at sticking to it. While we might start off with a bang, it can be hard to maintain our motivation when we are going it alone. But this is where the sharing economy can help.
Good Gym (UK) is an organization that pairs runners with isolated elderly people (referred to as Coaches). It’s great for the Coaches, as they get a smiling (albeit slightly sweaty) visitor to brighten their week, and the runners get the best motivation in the world -- knowing that they have done something wonderful and selfless for someone who really appreciates it.
If your diet regimen includes healthy home-cooked meals that you know you will get sick of making, then sharing economy platform Mamabake (Global) can help. Simply sign up to cook one huge meal that you can then share with a select group of people in your area. You cook enough for four people and get four different meals for the week. Brilliant!
For 34 percent of us, our top New Year's resolution will be money-related. But, thankfully, the sharing economy has hundreds of platforms to help you out.
Is fleeting fashion your foible? Then why not considering renting instead of buying? Sharing economy platforms Rent the Runway (USA), Rewear (The Netherlands), and Rentez vous (UK) all let you rent designer clothes for a fraction of the price.
Need a quick buck and want to save the environment? Rent out the car that is sitting idle in your driveway! Seriously, renting out your car can be one of the easiest ways to get cold, hard cash in your wallet -- not to mention the fact that you will also be helping the environment by reducing the number of cars needed on the road. Check out Getaround (USA), Car Next Door (Australia), and Easy Car Club (UK).
There is nothing grander than seeing the world and, for around 14 percent of us, 2016 is the year that travel will be on top of our lists. By now you have probably heard of Airbnb and other peer-to-peer home-sharing platforms that can save you a mint, but what if I told you, you could get accommodations for free?
Have a nice house but looking for a holiday? Consider swapping your home for someone else’s. Try Home Exchange (Global) or Homebase Holidays (Global). If you love animals or have a green thumb, why not consider house-sitting? You are normally expected to look after a pet, but does walking a dog through the sunny streets of Spain for free accommodations really sound that bad? Try Trusted House Sitters (Global) or Normador (Global).
If your holiday priorities list adrenalin before accommodations, then maybe you should look into Gearlope (USA) or Spinlister (Global). Both are sharing economy platforms where you can rent gear from locals so you don't have to bring your own. Plus they know where all the good surfing and skiing spots are.
Spend More Time with Family and Friends
For 20 percent of us, spending time with friends and family makes our list. But, with only so many hours in the day, it’s hard to find the time for everything. What if you could swap an hour of your time doing something you are good at with an hour of someone else’s expert time? Echo lets you swap bee-keeping for book-keeping or meditation for mediation.
Last but not least: 30 percent of us make the simple New Year’s resolution to simply try to be happier. But how do you do that exactly? I am going to pinch some ideas from Ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus who proposed that, for a happy life, you need just three things: friends, freedom, and thought.
Well, thanks to the sharing economy, in the last year, I have made more friends than I have in the last five -- which is at least in part due to the sharing economy’s magical ability to introduce you to people who are similar to you as you connect over shared interests.
In 2015, my New Year's resolution was to travel. Thanks to platforms like Freelancer, Trusted Housesitters, Tripadvisor, and more, for over eight months -- and on a limited budget -- I was able to criss-cross the globe going wherever my heart took me. How’s that for freedom?
Getting involved in the sharing economy made me think a lot about what I have, what I need, and what makes me happy. And, for me, that is sharing.
So, for 2016, my New Year's resolution is simply to share more, and I want to start with you. After my crazy experiment in the sharing economy, I sat down and wrote an eBook titled How to Make Money (and a whole lot more) by Sharing. If you want to embrace 2016 as the year of sharing, click here for a free download -- and have a wonderful year!