Happy 2014! You’ve made it through another year and you may already be tackling a list of resolutions. I’m here to tell you to toss out that list. Instead, I’d like you to consider this ridiculously slow (and permanent) way to go green and healthy forever.
I used to make loads of New Years Resolutions and, like most other folks, I’d be down to working on just one or two (if any) by February. It’s hard to change everything overnight. Especially if the night before was a drunken debacle – or at least a late night with a few too many glasses of wine.
Long before I became a vegan, before I owned an organic clothing shop, before I washed my hair with mud, I was an everyday woman who wanted to green up my life a little and get healthier. Pretty simple. Each year I’d make my list and then end up giving most of it up.
That is until one year, I decided to address just one thing.
That first year, I took on household cleaners. That’s it. I dedicated the entire year to greening up my household cleaners. There was no big rush on January 1st and nothing overwhelming. It was just this: as I ran out of each cleaner, I would take the time to checkout what’s in it, what shouldn’t be in it and what I could get to replace it.
Over the course of 12 months, I switched my laundry detergent, stopped using dryer sheets, got rid of everything with bleach or ammonia in it and effectively changed the look of my cleaning closet. Of course, it got easier with each cleaner. I got to know brands I liked and could trust and automatically went to those first when the next cleaner ran out. The beauty of that concept, was that nothing was wasted. I didn’t throw a bunch of stuff out on January 1. I simply switched when I would need to replace anyway.
The next year, I decided to switch out my beauty products. I found new soaps, lotions, deodorants (that was the hardest one) and hair care. I purchased my first wood-bristle brush.
The year after that was make-up, which I rarely use anyway. But I looked into natural mascara, non-toxic lipstick (you shouldn’t have to poison yourself just to look good), and natural mineral powder blush and foundation.
You get the idea. Just one thing. Each year. Consistently. Food, clothing, cleaners, cosmetics, car, kids toys, you name it. Even food changes weren’t overwhelming.
One year, I committed to just consciously looking at the ingredients in every packaged item I purchased. That’s it. I could still buy whatever I wanted, but read the ingredients to learn.
The next year I committed to stop eating anything with high fructose corn syrup.
The thing is, if you have the entire year to make just one commitment, it works. Living a healthy, green life is great, but you don’t have to (nor would you really want to) change everything all at once.
I know there’s a lot of change-your-life advice that comes out every January. I recommend not changing your life. Just pick one small thing and work it in to what you’re already doing. By the end of the year, it will be so ingrained you won’t have to think about it any more. And then you’ll be ready for the next thing.
That’s it. One small step, taken slowly, will help you be a better you each year than you were the year before.