7 Ways to Completely Sabotage Your Sustainability Journey
Think back when you first experienced “adulthood”. I don’t know if your experience was similar to mine. Still, it was such a shock for me when I suddenly had to pay bills, budget my expenses, pay for my groceries and still find ways to have fun and go out. Don’t worry, I was very good at the latter. Haha! I actually thought I was super rich when I first moved out. But that’s a story for another time. My point is: it can be overwhelming! And it’s only with time, that I learned the nuances, best practices and tricks of adulthood (well, I’m still learning, but aren’t we all?). Now, what does this have to do with your sustainability journey?
Well, if you’ve ever felt overwhelmed by the whole concept of sustainability, I have good news: it works the same! My clients and community members often come to me, asking “Where do I start? It’s overwhelming, I don’t even know what to do right now! And I need to transform my whole lifestyle!”, and I always say the same thing: “No, you don’t, not today anyway”.
So I thought I would share with you the same concepts I share with them. If you are just starting out, there are 7 things you absolutely need to avoid, as they’ll sabotage your sustainability journey. Watch out for these, and you’ll be just fine.
1. Wanting to do it all at the same time
That’s number one, and I am 100% guilty of it. Literally, I used to binge-watch and read anything and everything I could find about sustainability. I needed to create an impact, I was not going to mess it up by overlooking my diet, my wardrobe, my cleaning products, my beauty habits, my … You get it, and you probably know exactly what I mean.
Now, one of the most important thing, one I repeat to my clients over and over again is: “Sustainability is a journey”. As a matter of fact, if anybody tells you they have it all figured out and they don’t have anything else to do to improve their lifestyle and be more sustainable, they’re lying. Sorry, but they are…! Haha!
So start where you are, choose one or two points to focus on now, master these, and once they become second nature, move on to implement other critical principles. It’s a marathon, not a sprint!
2. Letting the guilt settle in
When you first hear about sustainability and all the changes we need to make to be better earthlings, it can be tempting for you to feel guilty about all these things you have to change. I know, because I still think this way sometimes.
The key here is to remember it’s a journey. Use that guilt as a motivation to stick to your values, implement, and then move on. All of us, in the movement, are trying to reduce our impact, make better choices and be better examples, and every little action is essential. Actually, even mathematically, it’s better to have 7 billion imperfect sustainable enthusiasts, than 1 absolutely perfect one. So ditch the guilt, do your best, make mistakes, learn from them, and move on. That’s what I do, and I can guarantee you: it works!
3. Only consuming activists content
This one is a simple tip not to go insane and feel like you’re not good enough. When you educate yourself about sustainability, you’ll find all these different branches and topics that are addressed (and they do need to be treated!). And then you’ll realise you’re only doing 15 things out of the 20 issues you’ve read about today… Guilt will settle in, and you’ll go insane. (Okay, maybe not, but you get the idea).
So while it’s essential to stay up-to-date when it comes to these issues, I think it’s healthy to consume other types of content as well. You’ll realise you’re doing quite well! And when you want a boost, go back into your sustainable love, and seek some more ideas!
4. Forgetting about your Wardrobe
You probably know that the fashion industry is the second most pulling industry in the world. And I’m not even talking about working conditions, animal rights or even the devastating effects of capitalism. So it goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: the way you consume clothes and you build your wardrobe are one of the most efficient ways to fight the sustainability fight! No matter if you do it a the beginning, the middle or the end of your sustainability journey, you will have to address your wardrobe at some point.
5. Waiting to Understand Everything Before you Start
Hello, my perfectionist friends! Confession time: I’m a nerd when I’m passionate. If I love a book, I’ll read it while eating, spend nights awake to finish it, and then I’ll go online and find forums to interact and talk about my passion for this book (do I need help or is it normal?).
And you know where perfectionism often leads? Procrastination, unfortunately. Wanting to understand everything, in fear of doing it “wrong” is never a good idea. And this principle goes for pretty much everything in life. I might be talking to myself here, but it’s so important just to dive in, go step by step and learn along the way, I can’t stress it enough. Just start!
6. Not Seeking Help
Recently, I wrote about seeking help for your wardrobe. I’m going to repeat it here. Sometimes we want to figure it all out on our own, and we forget that there are professionals out there; specialists who know precisely how to help you with your journey, what to do, and how to avoid mistakes (note I said avoid, not eliminate haha! That’s impossible, sorry…).
When some topics are a bit tricky, find influencers, communities, experts and other professionals and get their advice, consume their content and interact. If it doesn’t give you new ideas, it will at least help with the support and the inspiration.
7. Focusing on What Others Are Doing/Not Doing
If you’re part of any movement or community, then you’ve experienced it before. Vegetarians being judged by vegans, vegans being judged by social right activist and so on… When we focus too much on what others are doing or not doing, we are going down a dangerous path. First, because they will be doing things we don’t (no guilt, thanks); and second, they won’t be prioritising the same things we do. And that’s where we start shaming each other… Even when we’re fighting the same fight.
There is always something to learn from others, and that’s what we should focus on; other than that, support is the best way to make sure we stay focus and work as a community. One that cares about others, the planet and the future.
Which one of these traps have you fallen into? I know I fell into almost all of them, but it’s okay. We can just move on and learn from it! I hope this inspires you to help others and keep working on your sustainability journey.
If you are looking for inspiration, and wonder how to start your sustainability journey today, download this free guide, with 21 actionable tips for an easy shift to a SUSTAINABLE LIFESTYLE.