TIPS FOR SHARING YOUR SUSTAINABLE LIFESTYLE
Tips for Sharing Your Sustainable Lifestyle
It can be daunting to share your new sustainable lifestyle with your friends, family, roommates, and even your romantic partner. In this episode, I bring in my partner, Will Moore, to discuss our experience of moving towards a more sustainable lifestyle together, and the tips we used to make it work in our relationship as well as in the relationships with our friends and family.
Communicate your lifestyle changes
The biggest key is communication. We don’t all live the same lives. So your sustainable lifestyle may come as a surprise to the people you love. Even if it’s not a surprise it can still be a hard pill to swallow when they don’t understand or don’t want to accommodate the changes in your routine. Sustainable living comes with a shifted mindset – there’s no way around it.
And sometimes that is a difficult thing to communicate to the people you love when you hope they will adopt some of the same ideals. The best thing you can do is to communicate your lifestyle changes. Explain your WHY. WHY living sustainably matters to you. WHY you see things the way you do now. WHY you hope that they will adopt some of the same practices. Ask them WHY they might be doing what they’re doing so they can do the inner work.
Getting over the hurdles
Getting them over the stigma that living a sustainable lifestyle is too challenging can be the biggest hurdle. Will says to get them to see things from a new perspective. “We have to put in effort into making the change, but once you do make the change you can enjoy the change. You can feel good about yourself and feel good about what you’re doing for the planet.”
Set expectations for what you want and need from your relationships moving forward so that you’re on the same page. For example, I started living more sustainably so I set the expectation with my friends and family that I didn’t want miscellaneous gifts anymore because it was unsustainable. Or even telling your family before a family dinner that you don’t want to be harassed for not eating your mom’s prized chicken now that you are vegan.
Lead by example
Most people make little changes as they become more sustainable – unlike me who made a total lifestyle change quickly. Share with them the new practices you’re adopting as you’re going and lead by example. They will learn as you share your joy and positive energy that comes from living a sustainable lifestyle with them. They will see the change in you and be receptive to that. You don’t have to force it on your relationships, just show them how much you love and benefit from the changes and they will want to follow in your carbon negative footprint!
“Not only is making the change to sustainability good for your health and good for your mental wellbeing, but it also opens your mind to what’s going on in the rest of the world. You have a little bit of a neighborly perspective on the earth.”
Lead by example but don’t coddle someone. Let them go on their own sustainable journey.
Realize that not everyone is the same
We don’t all have to make the same changes. We aren’t all perfect, and what works for you might not work for other people. Everyone changes in their own way on their own sustainable journey. Those changes are valid, and they make an impact. Realizing that the changes you make won’t always work for everyone else, in the same way, is important.
Consider the relationship you have with the person you are talking to and how they might be most receptive to your conversation. Some people may be open to your WHY and statistics that change their perspective, others may be open to a more blunt and direct conversation depending on their personality and the relationship you have with them. Giving someone the tools or first steps may be a good way to begin if they are more receptive to hands-on work.
Celebrate the little sustainable wins
Celebrate little sustainable wins in your household or small changes that can lead to bigger change. Hold each other accountable and when you succeed celebrate! Make living sustainably more fun. Similar to leading by example, you can share positive experiences, or little wins, like composting or having less trash every week that others may want to adopt.
Be patient and positive
You may have to lead by example time and time again or tell your WHY time and time again. Be patient. Changes aren’t easy for everyone, and being patient can go a long way in making it sustainable for you and for your relationships. Will says if there is resistance, don’t push too hard.
Have an open mind. You don’t have anything to lose by sharing your lifestyle. Even if things do end up changing as a result – change is for the better. Stay positive and stick to what you know is right.
It’s easier to and even more rewarding when you live a more sustainable lifestyle with the people you love. So the wait will be worth it (and the planet will thank you!)
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