3 ways to ease into a more green lifestyle and make it stick
If, like me, you recognize you could be doing better for the planet, but you also know the hard reality is that you have a lot to balance and sometimes convenience is going to win out. Consider the following ideas to help you make a positive change more manageable.
- Do NOT try to overhaul your entire life at the same time. If you recognize several things you want to improve, that is great and we applaud you for caring and for noticing, but often making several big changes all at once can cause us to get overwhelmed or fatigued resulting in giving up on the goal altogether.
- Choose 1 area you want to improve that is important to you. Think about what is bugging you most right now. Is it the amount of plastic you are consuming? Is it the amount of clothing and textiles that you throw out or get rid of every year? Is it food waste in your family’s kitchen? Do you recycle? Does the environmental impact of factory farming cause you to want to eliminate or cut back eating meat or dairy? Or, something else entirely. By choosing to focus on what is bugging us most, we will make improvements that will last because it is important to us. Choosing just one area to get started allows us to stay focused and be consistent. Once we feel like it has become second-nature we can choose to tackle another area. I have been reading and learning the most about the processes used to make our clothes and how they emit 1.7-billion tons of CO2 per year, or 10% of all man-made carbon emissions. That is more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined. And this doesn't even mention all of the plastic fibers in our clothing. Astonishing, right? So my area of improvement right now is focused on more sustainable clothing and home goods.
- Instead of eliminating something completely, consider starting by cutting back substantially. Eliminating something that is harming our environment is ideal and may be the ultimate goal, but can you completely eliminate it right away and sustain that long term? For example, if you choose to focus on eliminating single-use plastic, perhaps the first step would be to reduce the amount of single-use plastic you use instead of making your goal complete elimination immediately. It’s seriously overwhelming to think about everything we buy that comes in plastic or has plastic wrap on it. Committing to completely eliminating it may feel absolutely paralyzing the first time you walk into a store. In this example, maybe step 1 is leaving the store without any plastics bags. Consider not grabbing that plastic bag to put your vegetables in at the grocery store. Or don't buy the peppers pre-wrapped in plastic. Maybe intentionally choose the eggs in the cardboard carton. Small steps like adding a small reusable vegetable bag to your purse so you always have it with you and keeping your reusable shopping bags in your car help us feel motivated to make bigger changes. In my example of focusing on more sustainable clothing and home goods, I clearly don't want to throw everything away and start over causing even more waste. Eliminating for me in this area will look like cutting back as much as I can on buying any new fast-fashion items that I don't need and treat myself to higher end, longer lasting beautiful items made from more sustainable and renewable choices. Natural fibers work really well for this and alpaca fiber happens to be one of the most sustainable and renewable resources available.
Overall, show yourself some grace. We aren’t aiming for perfection; we are aiming for improvement. While it would be amazing if we all could do everything all the time to be more green, this isn’t about all or nothing. This is about noticing that something we are doing could be done in a better way (that’s huge in and of itself) and then taking small steps to improve and make it stick. If everyone improved in one area that is important to them, we’d have a pretty noticeable outcome. Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t conquer it all (seriously who can?). Instead, make small changes over time and keep moving forward. You’re pretty amazing for caring and working to do better.
Interested in working toward a more sustainable wardrobe? We've got you covered. Check out our other blog here: The move toward slower-fashion: Not as hard as you think. And shop our collection of renewable, sustainable, affordable luxury from our small farm in North Carolina.
Great blog here, Shelly. I know your subject is about a greener lifestyle but I found your points can apply to almost anything right now! Especially as we all enter a new year and some people may still focus on resolutions. I think all 3 of your points are applicable to anything you feel in your heart you want to change, focus on or work on. Appreciate the post!