I bumped into a friend the other day and we started discussing the environment and different ways a person can live a sustainably. As I was talking about the practices I’ve implemented in my life, she suggested I write a blog about it to help others add more sustainable practices to their own lives. At the time I didn’t really see what would be so interesting about my practices specifically, it didn’t seem to me like I really did that much. I thought about it a bit more later and decided to make a list of all the things I do to live more sustainably. In just a few minutes I had a list of 50 Sustainable Living Habits (click to see the list) I’ve developed or am currently adding to my life. The list surprised me. I had never stopped to think about all the little things I’ve added to my daily life. There was not one day I just decided to implement all of these, it happened one at a time over my lifetime. After practicing, they became habits, so much so that I forgot that I used to do it differently.
This is how change usually happens in our lives, gradually, over time, and without strain. It is because of this characteristic that we don’t notice it. It’s the dramatic, quick, often painful change we take note of, and so we can easily assume that all change must be painful. But that is not necessary.
The landscape of this Earth changed slowly over billions of years. Yes, there were dramatic moments that created instant change, volcanos, asteroids, and earthquakes. But for the most part it was the wind and rain working day after day to create the wonders we have today. The molecules in our bodies are the same that created and evolved this planet, and thus we can change in the same way. There will be dramatic, even catastrophic moments that create rapid change for us. However, there is a constant change that is imperceptible. It happens day-by-day, moment-by-moment, choice-by-choice. This is the change we can control, meaning that we can consciously participate in it.
I set an intention early on to live more sustainable, and over the years I’ve created practices, one at a time, to reach this intention. If I tried to do this all over night it would have been difficult, and I may not have succeeded as well. Am I done? No. I’m not sure I ever will be. But each day I take one step further in that direction I want to go in. And in a few years I’ll look back again and realize how much further I’ve progressed.
This is how we can create change in our lives. Set the intention, then move toward it with small steps, every day. Great change will happen and you will barely notice. New practices will become so habitual that you’ll forget you used to do it any other way. After a while you’ll be able to look back and realize how much you’ve evolved.
What is your intention? What are the next, small steps you can take in that direction? What can you do today specifically?