Lately, I have been hearing people saying that with the spare time at hand, they are about to start doing (or at least planning) some green changes. I remember starting my green journey was exciting, but if I could go back in time , I would perhaps do some things differently and it has to do with mindset.
So, today I’ve decided to compile five tips that I consider important in this path of sustainable living.
Even tiny action makes a difference
It is easy to believe that our actions are insignificant, that we are not doing enough, specially at the beginning, but we all have to start somewhere and one step at time we climb the infinite ladder. It is just amazing the fact that you have decided to start, that you’ve concluded something needed to change and you are here learning.
There is no rush, this is not a competition, you are not proving anything, you are not impressing anyone…every little change we decide to do counts and they have a cumulative effect.
“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together” – V Van Gogh
Also, with these tiny actions you have to power to influence others around you. If you change, and your inspire your friends to change, other people they know also change, that’s where the power resides. I wrote a full post about this topic of making a difference, follow the link if you would like to learn more.
Make your own path
There are many ways to help and many types of activism, pick what feels right for you. I remember years ago when I started to reduce my waste and I woke up to the single-use plastic pollution issue I did a lot of things that I could control first, like taking my own cutlery set, cups, buying in bulk etc but I was terrified about trying ordering/getting food taking my own containers. This was back in 2014, the zero waste movement wasn’t that popular yet and there was way less awareness about these issues in the news.
As an introvert, it took me a while to have the courage to do it, it was out of comfort zone (being weird, fear of rejection and getting people’s looks). So, if I had started my goal of reducing waste with this one, only because I somehow was supposed to try it, then it would have been harder to continue feeling that uncomfortable to start with.
I think we need to feel empowered and inspired with our small progress, specially at the beginning, so just follow the steps in the order that feel right to you and keep going at your own pace.
You are supposed to enjoy the ride
Living a sustainable life is a bit different, but it can’t be a life that feels full of hard sacrifices, otherwise it is not sustainable. Starting this journey thinking it would be too difficult/inconvenient and you’ll be deprived of many things, won’t really help you to move forward.
Yes, sustainability and convenience sometimes don’t go well together and yes, some things may take you longer than before and yes, you may want to stop shopping few things you used to love, but absolutely everything will be your decision and it has to come from a place of satisfaction.
Earlier in my journey, I felt into the trap of comparison and self-imposed pressures and honestly it was overwhelming and certainly not fun or mentally healthy. Our lives are often full of so many responsibilities, things we “have to” do. Why would we want to add more?
If part of you feels angry/deprived/frustrated about this green journey, honestly stop, go back and re-assess: Why did you start in the first place? Where did your motivation to change come from? What can you do different to change your perspective? What can you let go? If you can’t find answers that make you feel inspired, then put this on hold for a bit, give yourself permission to step back.
Let’s embrace this journey with curiosity, let’s do this because you want to do it, because it feels great to reduce your waste/carbon footprint/impact, not because we are supposed to be doing it, otherwise it probably won’t last.
Find your motivation and values
Related to the previous one, for me the the best way to move forward is finding a “why” that is intense enough to inspire change, perhaps for you this is about your children’s future, or the other species which are disappearing, or people in other parts of the world suffering. We are all different, but we have something in common: a desire to improve the planet we live in, starting with the “man in the mirror”, as Michael Jackson said.
A “why” inspires us to do more and help us to carry on when things don’t go as we plan. What’s yours?
Another aspect I consider key is to define our core values, in other words what’s important to us, that help us make decisions very easily and follow a path that’s aligned with what’s import to us. I wrote a post about this topic, follow this link to learn more.
“Don’t expect to see a change if you don’t make one”- Anonymous
You don’t have to do it all
Years ago I had a personal blog about our migration process to Australia, and during that time, I met several other bloggers who also wrote about similar topics, some were already here, some like me were in the process to getting their visas. When we finally travelled to Melbourne, one of these bloggers offered us to pick us up from the airport.
We were really grateful and I remember I said to him: “I won’t mention in the blog, so that there is no expectation that you will be doing the same for others – unless you want to of course”. And he said to me something like: “I can help people in many different ways, some I can pick up from the airport, some I give the information or my advice, and it is all good”. He didn’t need to do it all for his actions to be valuable, it is exactly the same for the environment; we don’t have to do it all to still make a difference.
That’s it for today, if you find this useful please share it with other people starting this journey #togetherwecandomore