Research shows that habits account for about 40 percent of our behaviors. Understanding how to build new habits of "sustainability" and how the current ones work is essential for making progress in our sustainability related behaviours in general. Here are few tips:
1. Start with a small sustainability habit
It is so easy to pick a new sustainable habit that you almost don't need motivation to do it. Rather than starting with throwing all the perishable items into composting bin and promise to go zero waste by the very next month, start with bringing a reusable drinking bottle with you every day. Not only it's sustainable, it is also easy enough that you can get it done without motivation.
Bonus: Drinking enough water every day is good for your health and beauty! (source)
2. Gradually increase your sustainability habits
Now you have your drinking bottle that you bring every single day without fail, you may feel the need to do more. Let us suggest you buy your own cutlery set that you’d love to use every time. Cutleries are small items that you can bring everywhere you go. With this, you will say ‘no’ to all disposable plastic cutleries given whenever you buy your take-away food.
Rather than trying to do something amazing from the beginning, start small and gradually improve. Along the way, your willpower and motivation will increase, which will make it easier to stick to your habit for good.
Bonus: You are saving sea turtles, birds and mammal as The Ocean Conservancy lists cutlery as among the items “most deadly” to them as they often mistakenly thought as food. (source is here)
3. Break habits into manageable chunks as you progress
If you continue adding more and more sustainability habits each time, then you'll find yourself increasing very quickly within a short period of time. Sure it is exciting but you may get easily overwhelmed. It is important to keep each habit sustainable (pun intended), so that you can maintain momentum and make the behavior as easy as possible to accomplish.
4. When you slip, get back on track quickly.
Even the most earth loving person out there make mistakes, commit errors, and get off track just like everyone else. The difference is that they get back on track as quickly as possible.
Research has shown that missing your habit once, no matter when it occurs, has no measurable impact on your long-term progress. You just need to be consistent, not perfect.
5. Be patient. Stick to a pace you can sustain. After all, it's sustainability we are talking about!
Learning to be patient is perhaps the most critical skill of all. You can make incredible progress if you are consistent and patient. The world will not end if you take baby steps, one step at a time.
Do things you can sustain. New habits should feel easy, especially in the beginning. If you stay consistent and continue increasing your habit it will get hard enough, fast enough. It always does.
We will share more tips with interesting facts in part 2!