How NOT To Start An Eco-Friendly Lifestyle

Kate Hall

New Year = New YOU!

New Year’s resolutions come in all shapes and sizes: this year I’m going to lose weight, this year I’m going to start pottery classes, this year I’m going to learn how to fly an airplane.

I may not be able to help you out with flying an airplane, but if your resolution this year was to live an eco-friendly lifestyle, I’ve got endless tips for you.

Whilst there is a world full of information about how to live an eco-friendly lifestyle, no one ever talks about what NOT to do.

We’re a month into the year, and chances are, you’re struggling. Here’s what NOT to do when starting an eco-friendly lifestyle.

eco new year

"We’re a month into the year, and chances are, you’re struggling."

1. Don’t start out by changing everything

Changing your lifestyle is a biggie. These are your habits we’re talking about. Habits are the very things that make you YOU. They define your days and portray to the world your values and beliefs. If you start by drastically changing everything you do, you’re bound to fail and give up on your goal altogether. Making small and attainable goals in a timeline will make sure you reach your destination without feeling like a failure. For example: this week, I’m going to master making my own cereal with grains from the wholefoods store. Next week, I’ll research and decide on an eco-friendly makeup brand.

2. Just because Jessica next door is doing it, doesn’t mean it’s eco

Do your research. Just because an eco-alternative is working for someone else, doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for you. Ask the experts, and gather opinions before making decisions.

3. Try not to beat yourself up over a plastic straw

The secret is out… humans aren’t perfect! Forgetting to say ‘no straw please’ or leaving your keep cup at home, happens to the best of us. Though being disappointed is a helpful reminder of how important your new values and goals are, don’t dwell on your mistakes. Use them to energise you, rather than affect your self-worth. You are already amazing for setting this goal, and one plastic straw set-back doesn’t make you a failure.

4. Don’t throw out all your clothes and replace them with ethical fashion

This was the first thing I felt like doing when I made my choice to live with lower impact on the planet and its people. With second thought, I realised that doing this would be the exact opposite of what I was trying to achieve. Ethical fashion embraces reusing a garment until it’s dead. Loving and enjoying the clothes you have and replacing them with sustainably made items when they are no longer wearable is what slow fashion is all about.

5. Avoid going on an eco-store shopping haul

Taking the credit card and blowing your money on brand new eco-items is a sure way to fool yourself into thinking living an eco-friendly lifestyle is unaffordable for you. It’s not. Rather than wasting your money on items you already have, when you realise you need something, find an eco-friendly alternative or buy it second-hand. You’ll find these alternatives often last longer, meaning you save in the long run.

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

Kate Hall

I live and breathe sustainable living and ethical fashion. This alternative way of consuming and existing dominates my every waking moment- and sometimes more. Ethical fashion and living are no longer my hobbies, it has become my mission... to change the future of fast fashion and the way we consume. My husband and I strive to live a zero-waste lifestyle, live at thrift stores, and always look to 'up-cycle' rather than throw out. Eco-living is not a choice for me, it's in my blood, and I am trying with all my power for it to be the new 'norm'.