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Thursday 5/23/13
Issue #4
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Green Beginners


By Jacquelyn Schneller - 5/23/2013

White Daisies
  Photo Credit: irin-k / Shutterstock.com

Not all of us were born green, from green parents into a green home and life. It would be nice, but few are so lucky. For the otherwise nurtured, we green ourselves. This means, for most of us, our green lifestyles have a defined and dateable beginning. Some of us grasped onto a middle school recycling lecture and never let go. Others tiptoed to a university demonstration and took the plunge. Some have yet to see the green. Perhaps, you've just seen the green and can't wait to wear it and live it, but hesitate because it seems you're walking into the cinema half way through the movie. It feels like the class reunion is tomorrow and you wish you'd lost that 20 lbs. How will you ever catch up? You've decided to live green and you want nothing less than complete, life-flipping, greenification-now. If you're feeling behind in the green-times, it's tempting to go extreme. But believe this late-blooming, sustainability writer. In your tardy entrance, you're not alone.

Don't feel threatened. Don't feel overwhelmed. Cold turkey is tempting, but probably isn't the way to go. Losing 50 lbs is a big change. Keeping it off demands a lifestyle change. If you lose the weight in a week, you've hardly the time to adjust to the type of diet, metabolism, and workout regimen that keeping it off demands, increasing the chances of relapse. Such is green living. We need to carefully ease into any lifestyle change. I say carefully, not lazily. A deliberate, mindful, frequently monitored and amended change makes for a healthy, happy and sustainable lifestyle change. Here are a few tips on how keep tabs on your enthusiasm and progress:

  • Introduce [only] one or two changes per week (such as: hanging your clothes instead of using a machine dryer or walking to the store instead of driving).
  • Keep a journal.
  • Use the journal to record the time and money spent/saved on your new life, as well as your feelings along the way.
  • Ask yourself reflective, yet critical questions such as: What did I do? How did it affect my day? How did it affect my mood? How did it help the environment? Would I suggest it to a friend? Can I afford it? How can I do even more?
  • Please don't use time and money calculations as an excuse to give up prematurely. You may find that this new lifestyle is costing you time and money. I plead: DO NOT GIVE UP after one or two or even three weeks! It may take you a month or two or three to master this new way of being, and therefore take just as long to start saving time and money in doing so. Maybe you never will. Maybe what you lose in time and money, you gain in life quality and karma.
  • Build an inventory of "Ideas for the Future", so when you're ready to introduce more green into your life, you already have ideas in mind and on hand. Cut out articles and pictures; bookmark blogs and websites. Having your next step ready and available will give you something to work towards and look forward to on your green path.
  • Find an accountability partner. Your journal will be valuable beyond belief, but it's useful to hash things out with another human. Find a supportive, yet motivating, friend or group to travel with on your merry, green way. You don't have to have exactly the same goals, as long as the goals are green.

Good and Green Luck, beginners!


 








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