If you are struggling to make a commitment to being more eco-conscious in your life, you are not alone. We live in a world where it is difficult to live sustainably. However, when I read Gretchen Rubin’s habit focused book Better Than Before, it struck me that a number of the habit-forming techniques can be utilised to support a more sustainable living, especially for someone who is only just beginning to make changes in their life.
The technique of pairing is a particularly useful strategy for habit change and creation. Paring is where you associate two activities or tasks together that can only be done at the same time. In her book Gretchen talks about how you could pair exercising with watching your favourite TV show. This would mean you could only watch your favourite TV show while you are for example, running on the treadmill to enforce the habit of exercise. While at first this strategy takes some discipline to ensure you only do the activities together it can yield great rewards.
For those trying to develop sustainable habits it is a great way to escape the convenience trap that many wasteful products and activities have. Whereby, we are much more likely to do something that is convenient (another technique that can be utilised for habit change). A few ways you could use pairing to be more sustainable in your daily life is:
- Only buy yourself a chocolate (or other favourite sweet treat) from the bulk food store
- Only buy a coffee from a café when you have your reusable cup with you (same can apply for other drinks and straws depending on your preference)
- Only watch your favourite TV show while preparing your meals for the week
There are many other ways you can pair your existing activities to new habits you would like to form for more eco-friendly habits. Give pairing a go in your life and see if it works to motivate and sustain a new habit.
Leave in the comments if you have any favourite pairing habits you have created to improve your life and your impact on the earth!