I recently stumbled on a few sites where people talked about giving up the eco-lifestyle because it just isn’t practical. It sent me into a little bit of a panic.
Because I know this journey really isn’t easy and it’s made not to be practical. But I know for sure that there are ways.
So I want to share with you how to stay motivated to live sustainably and also rant about why it is so hard.
Why the sustainable lifestyle is pretty much guaranteed to fail
Trying to reach a truly sustainable lifestyle gets sidetracked because there are too many ‘convenient’ options around you that make finding sustainable options harder and more of a hassle.
The world just isn’t compatible with this kind of lifestyle anymore, and that’s how the whole problem started. And it’s not just about convenience. Everywhere you look and in everything you do, the planet is getting hurt.
The system is rigged
Our entire system is set up to exploit mother nature, knowingly or unknowingly. It’s something almost impossible to get out of.
Laura Schmidt describes our situation well in her TED Talk about why we can’t stop eating unhealthy foods, and she makes a good point. Her talk might be about sugar but I find it pretty relatable to sustainable living as well.
We want the plastic packaged item and the cute whatever it is that we really don’t need. We want it because it is marketed so strategically that we can’t help but buy it.
It promises us convenience and comfort and relief. It also happens to be cheaper than its non-packaged or alternatively packaged counterpart.
On top of that marketers are literally trying to get you hooked. And sometimes there really is no other way. This happens a lot, it’s just the world we live in.
Changing the way we live is really hard. Especially when our environment is of such a nature that we are conditioned not to want to change.
What we do to the planet we do to our bodies
The thing about these ‘conveniences’ though is that they come at a greater cost than they lead on.
That one hour you could save on making dinner from scratch by buying a premade meal is actually being offset by plastic waste and preservatives that are not good for your body.
Not to mention the added sugar that is taking a toll on your body.
That’s pretty scary stuff. Not to mention the house you live in for shelter, the car you drive to get to work, the shower you take to stay clean, it’s all causing you health problems because these things cause pollution.
Everything we do is just making this problem worse.
I do understand though, as I am guilty of choosing convenience. Life gets crazy and it’s just too much to try and keep up with everything.
And it’s so frustrating because you feel so guilty knowing that it’s not part of your sustainability goals.
If you have made the decision to take on this journey of saving the planet, I want to congratulate you. (I love to call it that because it’s a quick summary of such an intricate network of what sustainability really means and it sounds so empowering).
It is not an easy decision to make.
So to make this easier I want to share with you my tips on how to get motivated to live sustainably again and how to act when you do end up with something that isn’t sustainable.
Staying motivated and setting yourself up for success
Plant/buy some plants
Plants are a great way to offset some of the carbon we produce through our daily activities, like driving. Plants that don’t need a lot of water are great.
And many plants can be kept in the house so it’s perfect for when you don’t have a lot of outside space.
You can even cut off some part of someone else’s plant and grow it to make sure this practice is extra sustainable.
Mother-in-law’s tongue and other similar plants can greatly benefit your health too. By absorbing CO2 during the day and releasing oxygen intake, allowing you to get a better night’s sleep and feeling more energized.
This is a fairly easy way to start or even restart your journey and it doesn’t need a lot of motivation. Except maybe the weekly watering of your plants, depending on what you have.
Create a vision board
this can be digital or physical and as big or as small as you want it to be. You can add pictures of cute otters, sea turtles, beautiful and clean beaches or anything you want to make your goal.
A clean and healthy planet is the collective ultimate goal, so you can choose to shoot for that goal if you’re more of a bigger picture kind of person. Or you can create goals for yourself in your own daily life.
You can include affirmations, promises to yourself, or write down what would happen if you didn’t make these changes. Anything that will get you going and do what you need to do to succeed.
The vision board is aiming to help you remember why you chose the road less travelled in the first place. Knowing the reason why behind all of it can really boost motivation and keep you focused on the end game.
Plant something every time you choose bad habits over a more sustainable option
This might be a little extreme but hey, it’s a win-win situation. You get cleaner air and also offset some carbon to counteract the CO2 the convenient items produced.
Once you start running out of room to put all your plants, you’ll quickly start changing some of your choices. It’s for those people who need a lot of extra motivation and only the extreme will get them there.
Plus, it’s fun, for me anyway.
Find something to do with single-use items
if you find yourself with a single use item in your possession, make sure you repurpose it for something else instead of getting rid of it.
Use a plastic container as a lunch box for a while, use that plastic water bottle as a semi-permanent one or use it in a creative project.
Go to Pinterest and find ways to upcycle your single-use items. Just don’t let it live up to be what it was meant for, something to be used once and then discarded. Challenge the system, so we can get a new one.
Remember the basics
Not using plastic, bringing reusable grocery bags with you to the shops, not using single-use cutlery, choosing recyclable packaging and recycling properly. Those are the basics.
If you only stick to those, for now, you are doing more than you give yourself credit for. That is the big step, the step that will get the ball rolling again.
These small changes don’t seem like a big deal to you and they require minimal effort. Which is great when you really need minimal effort in your life.
You can keep grocery bags in your car where you can see them, not much motivation needed aside from reaching over and bringing them into the store with you.
You can even have a reusable straw and some cutlery with you in your handbag/satchel or whatever you use. This way you’ll always be prepared for any situation.
Watch some documentaries and stay informed
It’s hard to make all these changes without really knowing exactly why you’re doing it. And if you’re even making a difference.
Knowledge is power. Knowing the facts can really inspire you and make you more positive about what you are accomplishing by leading this lifestyle.
Even being in the know about the state of our environment and new methods to combat it keeps you in the loop and on the lookout to make a difference.
Follow some Instagram accounts to find inspiration
There’s just something about other people being in this with you that gives you a sense of belonging. Being part of a community offers immense support.
When you can draw inspiration from other people it can keep you accountable. It also enables you to try new things and keep this journey interesting.
I have created a list of sustainable Instagram accounts to follow to make it easier for you.
Know that your journey doesn’t have to be perfect, only active
You don’t have to implement the most sustainable practices ever in every aspect of your life. Some things don’t even have sustainable alternatives yet.
As long as you make conscious choices to find an option that can at least be recycled or reused.
You can buy less, do a little more research before you buy something or make sure to buy it locally. That way you make an informed decision that will benefit someone somewhere.
More than it would’ve if you just bought something blindly.
I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy, I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it.-Art Williams
I wish you the best of luck on your journey and hope that you found my tips helpful. I just want you to know that there will be ups and downs. Some days will be more difficult than others.
But as long as you take one day at a time and not be too hard on yourself, you will succeed. You are a beautiful human being and I appreciate everything you do to save our planet.
Cheering you on,
Pin for later:
- How to drastically reduce your carbon footprint
- Beginner’s Guide to Zero Waste
- How to implement circular fashion into your closet