All the tricks you need to stick with eco-friendly habits
Coming up with habits to be more eco-friendly is easy. From using less plastic and eating more plant-based meals to composting and driving less, there are many ways to be greener in your everyday. However, sticking with these eco-friendly habits is a whole other story.
What we often forget as we overwhelm ourselves with all the many things we can do is that making new habits usually involves breaking old ones, which causes a real shift in our routines.
A study from Duke University found that up to 45% of all our daily behaviors are automatic. That means, about half of what we do — we do without even thinking about it! So when we introduce a new pattern in our routine… in a way, we’re fighting with half of ourselves to transform something from automatic to intentional.
All this to say, making a new habit is hard! But especially when it comes to changing for the benefit of Mother Earth, it’s worth it.
10 tips and tricks to help you stick with eco-friendly habits
1. Just start
If you’re anything like us, usually the process of thinking about starting is a whole lot more work than actually doing anything. So, just give it a try and embrace a little experimentation! Want to eat more vegetables? Pick out one head of broccoli. Hoping to waste less food? Put some food in the freezer.
Of course, don’t expect yourself to be a zero-waste master overnight or composting extraordinaire in minutes. But trying, messing up, and starting again is a part of the habit-building process.
2. Pick one tiny thing
Instead of trying to do everything at once, try picking one focused habit at a time. Research shows that the smaller the habit, the easier it is to establish and maintain.
For example, rather than eliminating all single-use plastic at once, use bamboo utensils (not plastic utensils).
3. Give visual reminders
Between post-it notes and phone alarms, there are lots of simple ways to give yourself visual cues to stay on track with your goals. Tips: put a note on the door with a list of your reusables, keep your reusable bags by the front door, or in you car, and stick your compost bin somewhere obvious, so you don’t forget you have one.
4. Make it as easy as you can
Do a little research so that you find the easiest and most efficient way to stay on track.
Here are some of our favorite sustainability posts to hopefully help you in your eco-friendly goals:
- Make your skin care greener → How to get a planet-friendly skin care routine
- Waste less food→ 8 simple ways to stop throwing out food
- Travel more sustainably→ How to have the most sustainable spring break ever
- Clean greener→ 11 Tips to tidy your home the eco-friendly way
- Compost→ Everything you need to know to compost the right way
- Be more eco-friendly in the kitchen→ 25 simple ways to be the most eco-friendly cook
- Have a greener commute→ How to make your morning commute more eco-friendly
5. Find a friend
One fun way to stay on track is to find a friend with like-minded goals. Little slices of validation can give just the right amount of extra motivation to stay excited and inspired.
Feeling lonely on your sustainability journey? Follow these tips to inspire a friend to be more eco-friendly (without being preachy!).
6. Take advantage of technology
Check out the Way of Life app. It’s a user-friendly tool that helps you get to know your patterns. So, it won’t only help you figure out what triggers a certain habit, but it’ll also send reminders to keep you focused (along with a bunch of other practical features).
Habit-building with a buddy? Try the HabitShare app. It’s free and connects you with your friends to track your habits together and motivate each other!
7. Get rid of temptation
This is pretty self-explanatory, but if you’re trying to use fewer paper towels, don’t keep them within reach. It’s a lot easier to resist something when it’s not easily accessible!
8. See slip-ups as times to find your footing
Fun fact: a study showed that people who were successful in maintaining their resolutions had slip ups at least 14 times. So next time you say “oops” when you do that thing you were trying not to do — just keep moving forward.
9. Celebrate all the small wins
As you get into goal-setting mode, give yourself some rewards to look forward to! Maybe if you compost for one week, treat yourself to your favorite plant-based dessert. Or if you don’t use a plastic bag for a month, get yourself that cute reusable tote you’ve been eyeing.
10. Be in touch with your “why”
Whether you’re motivated to keep plastic away from adorable animals or preserve the water that gives us life, stay connected to your purpose. Mother Earth will thank you. 🌎
Need more inspiration to be eco-friendly? Check out these posts:
- 2020 is here! 20 quotes to welcome the new decade with open hearts
- 8 Eco-friendly resolutions we’re going to (actually) keep this year
- 31 Ways to make 2020 the most eco-friendly year ever