Remember those lifestyle changes you had in mind a few months ago? It’s mid-April and I have a feeling that many people have already given up on their New Years Resolutions. But it’s totally understandable. I’ve noticed people often give themselves unobtainable goals. It’s nearly impossible to become a complete vegetarian overnight or to suddenly become some fitness guru that has 0 body fat.
I’m not one to have a big News Years Resolution. Instead, I try and have smaller goals that are much more obtainable. Approaching any personal goal you may have in this manner is easier, more rewarding and may actually help you one day become that vegetarian or fitness guru.
Here are 5 lifestyle changes I try and follow that benefit yourself and the environment. Win-win!
1. Buy less shit.
We live in a consumer-driven capitalistic world where someone is always trying to sell you something. And companies will advertise that as something you need to achieve happiness. This is a lie.
I was completely overwhelmed with how much shit there was being sold on every corner when I first moved to Canada. There is a Starbucks on every block, a Forever21 around every corner and gigantic department stores the size of the island I grew up on. It was overwhelmingly addictive to shop for everything and anything. I eventually discovered that buying all this shit was not actually improving my life in any way. I didn’t really need that Taco shaped phone case or those goofy sunglasses. Fast fashion is a huge problem today. Stores like H&M and Forever 21 are mistreating their employees and have horrible effects on the environment. SO – over the last couple years I have tried to cut back on my shopping.
While I still love fashion, I don’t just go buy things for the sake of buying things. I will make a list of things that I know I need and only shop for those things. And before I ever walk into a fast fashion store, I will check out the local thrift shops. Wanna know the great thing about thrift shops too? No one will have what you’re wearing! Unlike if you were to buy that graphic tee that everyone bought from Urban Outfitters last week…
2. Eating better.
If you’re the kind of person that loves a greasy burger, don’t tell yourself you’re gonna cut it out from your diet. Believe me, in an ideal world I’d be completely vegan. I hate what it takes for the world to produce meat and animal product, but I know I won’t be able to wake up one day and miraculously eat vegan only. Eating right is a lifestyle. It is something that you learn how to do over time.
I used to be that girl ordering Domino’s pizza twice a week (with cheesy bread) and munching McDonald’s burgers every weekend after a night out. But over time I’ve learned how to slowly cut back. I’ll replace that craving for greasy nachos with some cucumber slices and guac (it does the trick if you make a mean guac). I’ll also only go to the grocery store when I’m full. Going when you’re hungry means you’ll buy more, and you’re likely to buy more junk food too. When I’m at the store, I’ll spend most of my time in the produce section, avoiding all the processed foods down the isles and in the freezers. You can’t eat junk if it isn’t in the house!
3. Cut back on plastic.
This is actually a lot easier than you’d think. One super simple step is to buy yourself a good water bottle. I use two types – my Swell bottle which I sometimes use for hot drinks too, and my Nalgene bottle from MEC for longer day trips where I can’t refill. Using a reusable good quality bottle will reduce the number of plastic water bottles you purchase. You can refill at airports too, guys.
Another thing I do is always carry around a bag large enough to throw small purchases into or carry a small, cheap, on the go tote that I can fold up into my small purse. I’ve listed other easy ways I cut back on plastic:
- Skip the straw.
- Bring your thermos/swell bottle with you and avoid the Starbucks cups.
- Avoid using period products that produce loads of waste.
- Ice cream cones, not cups.
- Skip the plastic produce bags. You don’t really need them…
- Use bars of soaps.
4. Taking care of yourself.
This can be done in many ways, but it’s important to take the time what you need to do for yourself. Maybe it’s just me, but it took a while to learn what I needed for myself to be in a good place mentally, physically and emotionally. For me, it’s a good balance of getting out there while also taking the alone time I need. I love being with people and having new conversations but I also need that time to unwind alone whether that is on my laptop editing photos or watching the latest Grey’s Anatomy episode. Yes, I know, it’s an overdramatic soap opera, but I like it.
My happy place also means being active. I’m not gonna lie, the hardest part of being an active person is being active. Haha, but for real. Sometimes it’s just that initial push to get your body up and ready to get moving. Get this: you’ll never regret going for that run, taking that yoga class or hiking that trail. And it’s a win-win situation every time since you not only start feeling more in shape but you also feel happier. #Endorphins
This is probably the most important thing. Always keep reading and learning. Read novels, articles, journals, papers, essays, autobiographies, newspapers, graphic novels, comics. Just read everything. You can never stop expanding your mind.
My current read? The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. I haven’t seen the movie, nor do I want to. I’ve heard the book is better anyway.
Wanna read and help the environment? Invest in a paperless e-reader option! I got the Kobo e-reader for Chrismas from Martin and love it… I actually read more now that I have it because it makes carrying books around that much easier. Sidenote, you can also download your Pocket articles onto the Kobo which is awesome for when I don’t feel like reading an actual book. There are also a few sites you can download e-pub books for free!
It’s never too late to start making lifestyle changes!