Hey, friends! 2018 was a good year of growth, especially when it came to sustainable living. Inspired by my own journey, I decided to include a 12 month Sustainable Living Challenge in my 2019 monthly newsletters! In the newsletter, I share a couple of tips on making the switch easier and a habit tracking tool. Cool, right?
Then I asked myself: why not also write about and share the challenge on this platform? Having the tasks and tip on the blog allow people to start the challenge at any time — because the 12 months of the year is really just an arbitrary timeline. You can start making changes at any moment! So let’s get to it!
Sustainable Living Task 1: Reusable Grocery Bags
For month one, I found it most fitting to challenge you to start using reusable shopping bags as this was one the first changes I implemented in my own road to living more sustainably.
Seems simple enough, right?
In terms of cost and convenience, it is a rather simple change to make. Reusable grocery bags cost no more than a few dollars a piece at the most, making it rather affordable to get a couple new ones per grocery trip. You can save even more money but just using the random tote bags you might have laying around the house. If you want to take it a step further and splurge a little, you can buy some stylish bags as a form of expression. I personally love Baggu shopping bags; they are massive, ultra sturdy and come with a packable pouch.
The most difficult thing:
The hardest part of getting this habit to stick? Remembering your bags before you go to the store. At first, it was difficult for me to remember the bags, but after a month and a half or so, it became almost mindless. Here are a few tips for helping you get into your own groove:
- Keep your bags in a bundle by your door and in eye’s sight. Seeing them will help you remember to grab them.
- Try keeping them in your car/trunk. Get in to a habit of returning them to your car as soon as unload the groceries. But keeping them in the trunk means keeping them out of eyesight, so it might be necessary to put a post it note on your steering wheel to remind you to grab them from the trunk.
- Keep a habit tracker on your fridge. Not necessary for the long term, but having a visual tracker is effective in creating lasting change for many.
- As I stated before, you can splurge on a set of stylish bags. If you are motivated by style and investing, it might give you a bit of a push if you purchase bags that you also see as a form of style.
- If you start to pull out of the driveway and remember, pull back in and grab them. This might seem like an ultra annoying suggestion — I too have annoyed myself on many occasions. But there is something rather satisfying about remembering — it’s like you can feel the habit becoming stronger.
- And lastly, if you forget your bags: Don’t be hard on yourself. Remembering your bags 3/4 weeks in a month is still a whole lot better than using single use bags every single week. Be proud of your progress. No one is perfect.
A few final thoughts
Maybe you noticed that I haven’t mentioned any scary statistics in regards to landfills, plastic or the oceans — It’s no secret that plastic bags have a negative impact on our environment. Through the next 12 months, my goal is to inspire you to make simple and lasting changes that positively affect your health and the environment; without scare tactics. I might occasionally throw in a stat or two, but if you’re reading this blog right now it’s because you do care about your wellness and positive growth, and at the very least intrigued by living more sustainably.
At times, these changes might feel clunky and make you ask yourself: is this worth it? But trust me when I say, we are all capable of growing and living more environmentally friendly. After enough time passes, you’ll forget that you had ever done things differently and you’ll be so proud of how you’ve grown.