Take tiny, manageable steps to produce ripples that reach far and last well past January.
January is when many of us load up on resolutions and new things that will add to our busy lives. More than ever, this includes a desire to live sustainably. While big goals are great, the way to make lasting change is to make them small, frictionless, and attached to the scaffolding of what you are already doing.
As a health and wellness coach, many of my clients come to me with big, beautiful goals that are exciting but also overwhelming. How do you go from sedentary days to running a race? Or how do you go from passive concern for the environment to making your impact? We begin by aligning with the value of the change and then breaking it into little steps.
Success breeds success.
For example, if you commit to walking more, start small. Start by walking around the block to begin your journey. You can fit it into your schedule and feel a sense of accomplishment. The following week, add more steps. Before you know it, you have created a new routine, made time to move your body, and are on your way to your first race. That is a success!
Similarly, if you have contemplated reducing single-use plastic use, you could start this journey by switching to a product supporting your desire to reuse and recycle. These products may be a reusable water bottle and reusable storage bags. You can add another small change the following week, such as switching to toothpaste bits versus using toothpaste in a plastic tube. Now, your actions align with your values and desires, and you are on your way.
Whether you are focused on yourself or the planet, the way forward is the same – take small actions that add up to make a significant impact.
In wellness coaching, we call them S.M.A.R.T goals. We help you make specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound plans. Whether you decide to use a One Planet Life tracking tool or set up a plan for yourself, there are ways to make it more likely to succeed. Whatever you want for yourself, align it with your values and make it easy.
Many people feel energized just by setting goals, but how do you sustain that energy after the novelty wears off? While joining the gym on January 1 is empowering, many have tapered off and quit by month’s end. The consistency of habits gets you to where you want to be.
As James Clear makes simple in his book Atomic Habits, the laws of behavior change are a simple set of rules we can use to build better habits for ourselves, our families, and our planet. “(1) make it obvious, (2) make it attractive, (3) make it easy, and (4) make it satisfying.”
With this framework, the thinking and deciding that can be exhausting become a habit as easy as brushing your teeth in the morning or clicking the check on the OPL app. By the time it is February, you will have made a small but sustainable change, you will feel your accomplishment, and you will be ready to take the next small step.
Written by Jody Goldfarb
Wellness Consultant and OPL Content Contributor
“I’m so excited to support One Planet Life’s mission to encourage individuals and communities to live more sustainably and to be active participants in the climate solution. Much like our own personal health & wellness journeys, growth happens when we turn small steps into big impact.”