How to give stuff up... and stick with it
Giving something up as part of a New Year’s resolution, for Lent (woohoo, pancakes!), or for any other reason can be tough. So we thought we’d jot down some of our top tips for giving stuff up and sticking with it.
(Obviously, we’ve written this with plastic in mind, but we’re pretty sure these ideas can apply to other stuff too :p)
- Don’t go cold turkey
It can be really tempting to be super hardcore and try to cut out plastic entirely. But that ignores just how much plastic we have in our daily lives. You’d be pretty hard pushed to go 100% plastic-free in general, let alone all in one go, and the difficulty of trying to do so could be really demoralising. It’s why we recommend taking things more slowly. And that brings us nicely on to tip number 2…
- Do a plastic audit
This is about prioritising what to cut out. After all, you can’t exactly give something up without knowing what that ‘something’ is.
It’s therefore worth spending a few days, or even a week, jotting down all the junk you throw away. You might want to categorise your waste by material (plastic, metal, etc.), or you might find it more helpful to record the source of the rubbish (food packaging, bags and boxes from parcels, etc.). Whichever method you choose, stick a piece of paper next to your bin and get tallying!
- Share the load
Make life easier for yourself by getting the rest of your household involved in your anti-plastic campaign. The great thing about reducing waste is that it’s something physical: you can see and measure exactly how much less rubbish you’re creating. So even if your spouse / kids / housemates grumble a bit at first, you’re sure to get them onside once they see what a difference they’re making.
- Hold yourself accountable
Worried you’re going to give up on giving up? Got a history of weaselling out of things? Then don’t give yourself the option. Tell everyone you know about what you’re trying to do so that you’re held accountable, whether you like it or not!
Maybe posting on social media will keep you on track (and get you some motivational ‘likes’ along the way), or maybe you could buddy up with someone else and challenge each other to see who can reduce their waste the most. The choice is yours.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff
Had a tough week and couldn’t manage to avoid plastic as you’d intended? Don’t beat yourself up about it. As we said above, it’s really hard to avoid plastic entirely, and sometimes things simply don’t go the way you planned. So ignore the small glitch and get yourself back on track tomorrow. Every little helps!