Hello, everyone! It’s Erica again, but this time the New Year is upon us and our resolutions are in full swing. Last time, I gave you all some unique ways to “green” your lives in 2012. So far, I have purchased a stylish eco-tote for all of my purchases and have reduced my napkin usage from four to two napkins per meal. My resolutions have only begun, but already I feel as if what I am doing is making a difference; however, it has not been completely peaches and cream. I am only human and naturally, I reach for a pile of napkins or accept the plastic sack that the grocery store clerk offers me. Only when I consciously stop myself and think do I stick with my goals. As one of our followers has pointed out (Thank you, Chuck for such inspiring input!), a goal on paper is one thing, but to form a habit is an altogether different sort of feat. We must continue "greening" our lives not only for the month of January, but into the future if we want to really make our actions count. Sounds like an upward climb, eh? Here are a few unique tips to aid you in your uphill battle:
1. Failure is your friend. As I stated before, we are all human and we WILL forget occasionally. Do not be discouraged. Instead, write your slip-up on a scrap piece of paper and place it somewhere where you can see it for the next week (car dashboard, wallet, etc.). This small reminder will imprint itself in your memory the next time you respond “Plastic” at the grocery store.
2. Reward yourself. Now, I am in no way comparing us as humans to animals, but we all know that even an old dog can learn new tricks if there is a reward involved. Why shouldn’t we follow the same rule? Instead of taking your good behavior for granted, treat yourself to a new eco-tote or five minutes with your nose buried in a good book. Not only will you reinforce your "green" habit, but you will feel great doing it!
3. Find a Fellow Warrior. Everything is easier (and more fun) when you have a partner in crime, so enlist a good friend to fight the battle with you. Challenge each other to see who can commit the most "green"acts in one week. Write down each eco-friendly step you take and at the end of the week, the losing, but equally important side buys coffee (without stirrers, of course!). The incentive will ensure your best behavior and keep you repeating your actions.
4. Form a trigger. As silly as it may sound, a really great way to form a habit is to create your own personal trigger. A snap of the finger, a click of the tongue or even a short phrase that you tell yourself will do. Each time that you take a step towards the "greener" side, perform this trigger, without fail; the key is repetition, so it is absolutely necessary to do this. Proceed for at least a month and you will be well on your way to a shiny new habit.
Not every one of these tips will work for everyone, but if we can stick to them for a month, we may just find ourselves on the "greener" side! I hope to see you there!