Making Real Change -Ditching the "All-or-Nothing" Approach

The media plays on our emotions. This is why it is so easy to read something, feel strong feelings such as sadness or rage, and in that moment dedicate ourselves to changing all of our habits cold turkey.

The problem with this is that it barely lasts a day when we realize that we haven't actually equipped ourselves for long-lasting, meaningful change. 

Changing your habits doesn't have to be, nor should it be, an all-or-nothing approach (unless that’s your style, in which case by all means go for it). But for the majority of us, our pantries are still stocked with ziplock bags, we still have unused k-cups for our Keurig coffee machine, and we've got that inevitable bundle of plastic shopping bags under our sinks and in the pantry. Our initial reaction when wanting to live an eco-friendly lifestyle is to throw it all away, get it out of our house and start afresh with our reusable canvas shopping bags, silicone snack bags, reusable cutlery and any other products that are sustainable in the long run. 

Let me be the one to tell you, this is absolutely not sustainable for (1) the earth, (2) for you, (3) your budget. I'm going to say this loud for those of you in the back: USE UP WHAT YOU HAVE AND START FROM THERE.

I'm saying this from a perspective of impulsivity and a habit to do things 100% all-in right from the get-go. But you're not doing yourself or the earth any favours by throwing out what you would otherwise be throwing out anyway, but throwing it out prematurely means you haven't used the product in it, given it a second chance at it's given duty (plastic containers), or attempted to recycle it in any way, shape or form. 

Just like any other sustainable changes you might have made in the past, this will take time. Use up your k-cups and then invest in a reusable one to fill with your own coffee, use those plastic grocery bags for small garbages and when they're gone buy a canvas bag that you can reuse over and over, use up your zip lock bags (clean them out in between uses if possible) and when you finally have to throw them out invest in a set of silicone snack bags. Use up what you have and then as you run out, replace them with more sustainable and eco-friendly versions. 

I commend you on your desire to make changes, the world definitely needs more people like you. But take your time, do your research, ask questions and make decisions that you will thank yourself for 5, 10, or 15 years down the road. 

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