Everywhere you turn people are talking about New Year’s resolutions. According to Proactive Change, 40-45% of American adults make resolutions each year about things like weight loss, exercise, smoking, money management and debt reduction. But what is the success rate? How many resolutions have you managed to keep? Proactive Change says that 75% of resolutions are maintained after one week – so 25% don’t even last seven days. After two months Proactive Change says 64% maintain their resolutions and only 46% after six months.
Personally, I’m one of those well-intentioned resolvers who has had trouble keeping resolutions the whole year. So if you’re like me then I would like to pass on some advice that has helped me: take it one month at a time.
“Going green” is a journey that can be overwhelming. So if one of your resolutions this year is to start living a more sustainable lifestyle in 2012 it’s important that you make a plan to set yourself up for success. Give yourself the freedom to focus on just one change every month and work to make that change a regular habit. This way you put yourself on a sustainable pace and avoid getting weighed down by guilt over what you’re not doing – yet.
Brian Webb, Director of Communications for an educational, environmental nonprofit called Blessed Earth, commented an article in Blessed Earth’s January 2011 e-newsletter that “New Year’s resolutions often fail because we are too ambitious, are motivated for the wrong reasons, or don’t pursue them in a sustainable way.” If “going green” is one of your goals this year, here are a few tips to help you make it:
- Select “low-hanging fruit” first. Start with changes you can succeed with and tackle the more difficult ones later.
- Give yourself the freedom to do just one change per month.
- Diversify your area of focus. After focusing on energy reduction, try a food theme for the next month, followed by something related to waste/recycling the following month, etc.
- Some changes may cost extra (switching to organic foods) and some will save money (eating out less); balance the saving and spending months to avoid blowing your budget.
- Encourage others to join you in the process. (read Brian Webb’s article, “Going Green One Month at a Time: A Sustainable Way to Make Incremental Life Changes,” at www.blessedearth.org.)
Gradual changes are much easier to make than many changes all at once. Take it little by little; do what seems manageable to you and don’t get overwhelmed by what else you’re not doing. Be proud of the changes you’re able to make and once a change becomes a new habit, you’ll be surprised by how easy it is to make another change!
To simple, green living,
Changing the world, one home and office at a time.
“You must be the change you hope to see in the world.” -Gandhi
Carrie Brusven is an Independent Green Irene Eco-Consultant based out of Moorhead, MN and her website can be found at www.greenirene.com/carriefargo. Carrie offers Green Home Makeovers and “Go Green” Workshops/Parties to help you on your own path to greener living. Contact Carrie to schedule a makeover for your home: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please check out my Facebook page for lots of free tips, inspiration, advice and information about upcoming classes and product specials: www.facebook.com/colormegreennow.