Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Set Realistic Goals

This is a post I've been wanting to write for a while so I thought I'd put it out there before leaving on my trip so it's on top and give you something to think about while I'm gone.  This post is dedicated to making yourself more green, but being realistic about it.

I find the biggest reason people feel they "fail" in being Green is because they set huge goals that are just not achievable without a huge lifestyle change.  When people realize this they rebel against it.  It's human nature and I admit, I've done this in my life as well in regards to other things.  So the best way to succeed is to start small and build up from there!

I started last year with deodorant.  I read an article about the dangers of aluminum in deodorant and it sent me on the hunt for something better and safer.  During this hunt I stumbled upon a Green Living message board where I found a group of women who were striving to be more green.  They helped me with the deodorant issue and a thought popped into my mind- What else am I doing every day that could be harming me?  Since then, one goal at a time, I've made myself more Green.

In order, here is what I did:

-Switched to a safe and natural deodorant
-Switched to all natural and organic household cleaners
-Started using homemade and natural laundry detergents

At this point, about 5 months after starting my journey, I realized almost every product I used to clean my home and body were more natural.  I also started noticing that I personally felt better (more energy, didn't get sick as much) and that my hair and nails were growing faster and appeared way healthier.  This is when I decided to start branching out with my Green efforts into my community.

-I strived to eat locally grown and support small local companies

This was actually my favorite step to make, but I think if I'd tried to make it first I would have been frustrated by the process.  It's hard to limit what you eat suddenly and not have the convieniences of big box stores that you once had.  But since I'd already started buying natural, organic, and eco-friendly products I found that I was already shopping at these types of places more to find the products I liked.  And this was when the best thing happened...

-I started buying produce exclusively from a Co-Op

I love getting fresh, locally grown produce weekly.  I've been exposed to produce I've never been exposed to before (Acorn Squash, Green Plums, etc.), I'm learning how to use produce, and I'm having fun in the kitchen!  And this let to my other favorite thing that's happened to me since I went green...

-I started canning!

I love canning.  I find it to be theraputic and I love that I am creating these wonderful things that I can give to my friends and family.  I am now the girl who shows up to parties with jams and homemade salsas.  I love being that girl!

It hasn't even been a year yet and already I feel like my small things have grown into something big.  I feel good about the choices I make every day and with the products that I have in my home.  I know that I am healthier, when I have children they will be healthier, and even my dog loves his Holistic dog food!  By starting small I was able to expand my efforts slowly so I wasn't ovewhelmed and actually enjoyed the process!

Over the next year I plan to start doing more.  I want to buy a home that "needs work" and fix it up in an eco-friendly way.  This is "going big".  Solar paneling, solar water heater, double pained windows, bamboo flooring (if it needs to be replaced, otherwise it's more eco-friendly to stick with what you have!), etc.  From this point on I want every choice I make to be considered for it's environmental impact. 

I'm not trying to save the world.  I'm trying to do my part.  Every small effort counts and adds up to something big.  Even if it's making the decision to use re-usable bags instead of plastic bags (which can save your money in some stores like Target if you shop there!), that will make an impact!

The most important thing to do is educate yourself.  Knowing what's going on and realizing you CAN make a difference, no matter how big or small, is extremely valuable.

I hope this helped someone who's been thinking of how to start.  I'll see you all next week!  Green Follow Friday WILL post this week so come back on Friday and Linky Up!


Crunchy Beach Mama said...

Love this post! It's so true.

There are so many easy ways to become "green" that starting with 1 puts you in the right direction :)

Lita said...

AMEN! It's so true that if you start making simple healthier choices for yourself, your household, and your family they will stick. And then you start to feel good about yourself and your choices. From there it becomes part of your identity and grows and grows. All it takes is being aware and knowing that with this awareness you have the right to make choices every day in so many ways. Thanks for writing such an inspiring post!

Elena White said...

SO glad you wrote this post! I often beat myself up for not being more "green." Thanks for sharing.

Parag said...

We started living green by installing Eco friendly water heater. Normal water heaters require fair amount of electricity to turn the water hot. This way we use more electricity which we get either from fossil fuels or nuclear powers.
Installing eco friendly water heaters have helped us and we are happy that we are contributing positively towards the environment.