My trash doesn’t fit in a jar anymore. When I started my zero waste journey, my trash did fit in a 16 ounce mason jar. However, int he past few years, I needed to purchase items that had extra packaging in which would not fit in my nice little jar anymore.
A lot of the time, when we shop at bulk bins in grocery stores, although we don’t bring home trash into our homes, products do get shipped to grocery stores in packaging. We as consumers don’t see it, but it doesn’t mean that the packaging doesn’t exist. Now, I’m not saying that every company is wasteful, but truth be told that is how our products are packaged from the manufacturer and then transferred to the distribution companies.
Trash pollution, plastic pollution is hidden in plain sight. We as consumers, do have the choice to not bring trash into our homes, and that’s a privilege. But packaging does exist, it’s not always compostable, and it may not even be sustainable. We as consumers can still vote with our dollar, and we still need to remind manufacturing companies that our trash pollution is at the highest quantity right now. I do think the tide is turning, but with The daily production of trash in the speed at which it is produced, we’re going out to tackle a very, very large problem and that’s with magnified with an unimaginable speed.
I live in the Bay Area, and bulk food items and products are readily available here. There are plenty of other states and areas, which bulk food is not available. If you can fit your trash into a small jar and continue to do so, I think that’s amazing and admirable. If your trash can’t fit into a jar, just keep in mind, the trash you’re producing and keep putting effort towards living a more zero waste lifestyle. I think using the glass jar as a standard is a bit unreasonable, because not all of us are lucky enough to live and afford certain amenities where we are located.
So my trash doesn’t fit in a jar this year, maybe next year it will be less. If not, I’ll keep trying to continue to strive to live a zero waste life.
Have you ever created a New Year’s resolution and were not able to fulfill it? You know, when you hype yourself up during the last week of December, and then plan out your goals, and your morning and evening routines; then life gets in the way? I know I have. I failed when the goal was much larger than I expected it to be. I didn’t take my goals step by step, but tried to accomplish them in leaps and bounds. It took a bit of time and discipline, but I’ve learned to break down my goals into small daily habits that I could adapt to.
My blog does talk about Life Hacks but this is more of a personal life hack. If you’ve ever set up goals for yourself and wondered why you failed halfway through there might be a good chance you’re biting off more than you can chew.
There are a lot of YouTube channels that talk about 30-Day Challenges that may vary from health challenges, to emotional and environmental challenges. Some of the challenges might be, decluttering, getting in shape, going to bed early and even drinking more water on a daily basis.
I follow Matt D’Avella, who was the director of the documentary Minimalism, and he has been taking on his own 30-Day Challenges for 2019. It was really fun and amazing to see how the challenges helped shaped his habits and helped him push his limits. It was inspiring.
If one of your goals was to workout in the morning, but you’re finding it hard to wake up early and still have enough energy to workout, maybe the first challenge to overcome, is simply waking up early. Instead of your goal encompassing waking up early, going jogging, making breakfast, and then going to work, maybe the goal should just be – to wake up early. You don’t have to pile everything on at once. Perhaps the next 30-Day challenge might be to wake up early and then go for a short walk; just a short walk. Nothing crazy, nothing over the top, but a simple walk.
I wanted to set up 30-Day goals through the rest of 2019, so I could see what habits stuck and which did not. They were only a 30-Day commitments, so the dedication didn’t feel overwhelming. I only had to commit 30 days, out of 365 days in the year, to see how I would adapt.
The idea here is to develop keystone habits, that will help you set up healthy habits, which will help contribute to your larger goal.
A lot of people tend to set goals and are passionate about accomplishing them, but we’re a society that is conditioned to expect immediate results. Developing patience is a skill, no matter what stage you are at in life. The habits may not be easy, but persistence is key.
I tested out my own daily challenges, and when I broke down my goals into smaller habits that I could develop over time, they were easier to accomplish and my habits stuck with me.
If you’ve had a goal in mind, and you still want to accomplish it, perhaps breaking down the goal into 30-Day habit challenges, might help. If you have a partner or friend or internet support group that can do a challenge with you- all the better! It’s only a 30-day commitment, so why not? You can find a lot of 30-Day challenges on the internet, but I thought I would make a list of 50 challenges, that I thought were interesting, down below.
Here is a list of fifty 30-Day Challenges:
Drink more water
Plan all of your meals in advance
Practice good posture
Make a green juice or smoothie every morning
Eat 7-9 cups of veggies every day
Keep a food journal
Bring your lunch to work
Detox your house of harsh chemicals
Cook a new recipe every week
Eat vegan or vegetarian for a month
Take a cold shower
Take a 30 minute walk each day
Walk 10,000 steps every day
Take the stairs each day
Go to the gym
Set priorities for your day
Clean up your clutter
Clean up your digital clutter
Follow a morning routine
Follow a bedtime routine
Make your bed
Wake up early
Check email once or twice a day
No credit cards, pay only with cash
No fast food
No social media
Listen to audio books or podcasts instead of music
Since I was 9 years old, I’ve always had a bookshelves. These bookshelves were used to store games, books, stuffed animals, my old boombox and a number of other odd items. I’ve had all different kinds of bookshelves, but now I was down to one. When I really started to minimize my possessions and pare down my physical objects, I wanted to get rid of my bookshelf.
However, I didn’t feel ready to make that decision. When you get rid of stuff, you’re also eliminating surface area for the other physical objects associated with that item. By getting rid of my bookshelf, I didn’t know where to store the items that were sitting on it. The only solution I could find was to donate my items or somehow find a new home for the item.
This didn’t mean I was going to shuffle my items around my space. Clutter is still clutter even when you move it around a space; you simply distributed it instead of grouping it in one location.
It meant that I had to really want to minimize the number of items and ONLY keep what I needed. It took a little bit of time, but slowly, my bookcase started to look more and more bare. I’m lucky that it’s a fold up bookcase, so I knew I could tuck it away easily.
My bookcase is simple piece of furniture. It folds up, it’s made of birch wood and was pretty cheap when I bought it. However, my profession requires books and I still have some books from college. Even when you flip through most architecture magazines, you’ll see some type of shelf that displays reading material or other items in the living space. It seemed that for me to get rid of my bookshelf, was me breaking standard design rules.
My other worry was, “What if I need it in the future?” That question comes up quite a bit when I declutter. I’ve learned to answer that question with, “I’ll find a way”. Since I do have extra room in my living space, finding room for storage isn’t the problem.
The journey to living a curated minimalist life is a flexible path with a bunch of turns. I’m not sure if there is an end. As our lives change, we will too. Over time, we’ll need items we’ve never needed before, so we adapt. It also takes work to let go of what you “think” is normal, and consciously choose to live with less. Breaking away from what you’ve always known and accepting it is an important step in this process.
A lot pf people struggle in this area. To break away from what we’ve envisioned our lives to be and what our standard of “normal” is, can be a mental exercise. Some people are more comfortable with change, some are not. I’m a creature of habit, so perhaps that’s why this was a victory for me. Owning a bookcase was normal for me, until I decided it wasn’t.
If you’re conscious about the amount of clutter you have, I don’t think there’s anything to worry about. Being conscious of your actions means you’re holding yourself accountable and that’s a part of this lifestyle. It’s also easier said than done.
So farewell to my bookshelf, you’ve served me well. But I no longer need your services. May you find a new home with a new owner.
Where did my books on my bookshelf go?
I donated my old textbooks back to my alum colleges (including art materials as well). I also donated some books to a few Little Free Libraries, and the rest to my local library. If you don’t know about what these Little Free Libraries are, check them out at Little Free Library Organization, and you might be able to locate one near you. I now keep the very few books I have left in my ottoman.
Towards the end of each year, I like to think about what goals I’d like to set out for myself for the following year. Each year lends itself to different points in my life so my goals change as I change and get older. I tend to break down my goals into three categories: daily goals, weekly goals and yearly goals. This is what I came up with…
Spend more time outdoors. Learn to enjoy nature again. Make a habit of taking a weekly walk outside. We have become so used to live in our houses and in our cars, many people have no idea what nature looks like anymore.
Take Care of yourself by scheduling time for yourself. Even reading a book for an hour a day counts!
Exercise your body for a happy mind, or maybe a quick morning meditation.
Keep a journal.
Read a book or a magazine, take a break from technology.
Get enough sleep.
Make your home efficient. By now, I assume most of you have switched to CFL lightbulbs – so it’s time to take home efficiency to the next level. Check your house for heat loss (there are companies specialised in this if you don’t feel expert enough) and make it your DIY project to fix them. If you haven’t yet, lower the thermostat during the night. The ideal temperature to sleep is around 16 degrees Celsius or 60 degree Fahrenheit. If that’s too cold for you, do it in steps – half a degree less each month. You might realise you even sleep better – and you will see it on your heating bill!
Pick seasonal and local fruits and vegetables. While it can be tempting to eat strawberries in winter, when they have been imported from halfway across the planet or grown in energy-hungry greenhouses, they’re hardly sustainable. Do some research into what is naturally grown in your area in the season, and prefer these. This way, you’ll also rediscover the pleasure of meals changing with the seasons!
Take your bicycle out of the shed. People who re-start cycling to work and/ or the supermarket often say that it’s lovely to rediscover their neighborhood that way. In fact, unless you live in a very mountainous area, this could be the most relaxing resolution you take!
Use public transport more. Granted, in the middle of the mountains or when there is half metre of snow outside your door, cycling sounds less appealing. If that’s the case where you live, start using public transport to go to work and the supermarket. If public transport connections are poor in your area, then it’s time to wake up the local campaigner in you and ask for it – make 2018 the year when your community stood up for sustainability.
Take recycling to the next level. You probably have two different bins in your kitchen, sorting your waste to have it recycled. It doesn’t end here though. In 2018, try to reduce the amount picked up by the garbage truck. If you have a garden, start your own compost. When you’re at the supermarket, prefer products that are not over packaged (you know the one: plastics wrapped in plastic, itself wrapped in cardboard…). If there are too many of these items in your local supermarket, time to start campaigning! Write to the store manager and express your concerns – and convince your neighbours to do so as well.
Become a toxic-free household. This might take a while in research, so plan to do it over the whole year. From beauty products to clothes detergent and computer parts, we have become used to toxics products in our daily lives. Time to stop it. When buying new products, check what they are made of, and pick the one that will have the least toxic residues.
Keep your electronics for the year. New cellphone? Must absolutely have the latest iPad? How about the newly released gaming console? Our consumption of electronics is reaching records. Make a break, and promise not to buy new electronics this year, unless the one you already have breaks down (and when it does, ensure it is recycled properly!).
I usually push my daily goals because those goals are habit forming. When it comes to the monthly goals, I’ll set time aside on the weekends to work on them. The yearly goals are scheduled where I’ll tackle them by picking a day of the week and focusing on one yearly goal. The good thing about the way the goals are organized, is that the daily goals are the hardest to tackle, but you get to continuously work on them throughout the year. The daily goals are more focused on personal reflections, so it’s a nice reminder to not forget about taking care of yourself on a day to day basis. These are my goals that I’ve come up with, What are some of your goals you’d like to reach in the upcoming year?
Check out some other Sustainable New Year’s Resolutions from some other fellow bloggers:
I wanted to calculate my carbon footprint because I haven’t ever done so. I know that I watch what I buy and how much energy I use so I was hoping it would be low. There are aspects of my life I could probably change to reduce my carbon footprint, but I wanted a base number to start with. There are a few different carbon print calculators available, but this is the one I used. Also, I’m located in the United States of America, so I used the Nature Conservancy Carbon Calculator, from the Nature Conservancy.
Because these calculators consist of a lot of smaller chunks of information, I thought I would at least list out the information needed for this calculator. I had to go searching for a large chunk of information to input, when I filled out my survey. So here is the the many pieces of information I needed, that you might need as well if you choose to use this carbon footprint calculator:
Get Started: A QUICK CARBON FOOTPRINT ESTIMATE
How many people live in your household?
What is your approximate gross annual household income?
Travel: HOW DO YOU GET AROUND?
Car(s): (Miles per gallon)
Public Transit: (Miles per year)
Air Travel: (Miles per year)
Home: HOW MUCH DO YOU USE IN YOUR HOME?
Natural Gas ($/year)
Heating oil & Other Fuels ($/year)
Square ft. of living space
Water useage ($/year)
Food: HOW MUCH DO YOU CONSUME OF EACH OF THE FOLLOWING?
Simple Menu: (Daily calories per person)
Meat, fish, eggs
Grains & baked goods
Fruits & vegetables
Snacks, drinks, etc…
Advanced Menu: (Daily calories per person)
Beef, pork, lamb, veal
Fish & seafood
Other meat (processed, nuts, etc…)
Poultry & eggs
Grains & baked goods
Fruits & Vegetables
Snacks, drinks, etc…
Shopping: HOW MUCH DO YOU SPEND ON EACH OF THE FOLLOWING?
Furniture & appliances
Paper, office & reading
Personal care & cleaning
Information & Comunication
Personal business & Finance
Household Maintenance & Repair
Organizations & Charity
So my results stated that my Total Footprint is 20 tons CO2/year, which is 59% better than average person. This is a good standing to start from. I’m actually quite happy with it. I could try to adjust my daily decisions to see if I can reduce my footprint a re-take the survey, but it’s a good starting point.
The last section in the calculator allows you to sign a pledge to stand with Climate Action. There are a few different carbon footprint calculators. I encourage you all to take a look at how large or small your carbon footprint is. It’s amazing when you see it written down in a calculated measure of your daily decisions. Here are a few other websites that also have carbon footprint calculators that might be of god use as well:
Our trash never goes away. What we produce, purchase and consume, never really goes away. Unless we truly understand the consequences of our actions, we won’t understand the trap we’ve set up for ourselves. Our relationship with plastic bags only started in 1950 and now it’s increased 620% since 1975.
There are five main ocean gyres on our earth. These gyres follow a circular path which converge ocean pollution. This isn’t a solid convergence being that plastics go through photodegradation and bits and pieces are strewn about around the patches. But there is an estimated size for each garbage ocean patch.
The Indian Ocean Garbage Patch and was discovered in 2010, is a gyre of marine litter suspended in the upper water column of the central Indian Ocean, specifically the Indian Ocean Gyre, one of the five major oceanic gyres.The patch does not appear as a continuous debris field. As with other patches in each of the five oceanic gyres, the plastics in it break down to even smaller particles, and to constituent polymers. As with the other patches, the field constitutes an elevated level of pelagic plastics, chemical sludge, and other debris; primarily particles that are invisible to the naked eye.
North Atlantic Gyre, which contains the North Atlantic Garbage Patch, equal to the North Pacific Garbage Patch is an area of man-made marine debris found floating within the North Atlantic Gyre, originally documented in 1972.The patch is estimated to be hundreds of kilometres across in size, with a density of over 200,000 pieces of debris per square kilometer. The debris zone shifts by as much as 1,600 km (990 mi) north and south seasonally, and drifts even farther south during the El Niño-Southern Oscillation.
North Pacific Gyre, which contains The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, also described as the Pacific trash vortex, which was discovered between 1985 and 1988. It is located roughly between 135°W to 155°W and 35°N and 42°N. The patch extends over an indeterminate area of widely varying range depending on the degree of plastic concentration used to define the affected area.
The Great Pacific garbage patch has one of the highest levels known of plastic particulate suspended in the upper water column. As a result, it is one of several oceanic regions where researchers have studied the effects and impact of plastic photodegradation in the neustonic layer of water. Unlike organic debris, which biodegrades, the photodegraded plastic disintegrates into ever smaller pieces while remaining a polymer. This process continues down to the molecular level. As the plastic flotsam photodegrades into smaller and smaller pieces, it concentrates in the upper water column. As it disintegrates, the plastic ultimately becomes small enough to be ingested by aquatic organisms that reside near the ocean’s surface. In this way, plastic may become concentrated in neuston, thereby entering the food chain.
The patch is characterized by exceptionally high relative concentrations of pelagic plastics, chemical sludge and other debris that have been trapped by the currents of the North Pacific Gyre. Its low density (4 particles per cubic meter) prevents detection by satellite photography, or even by casual boaters or divers in the area. It consists primarily of a small increase in suspended, often microscopic, particles in the upper water column.
South Atlantic Gyre, which is the subtropical gyre in the south Atlantic Ocean. In the southern portion of the gyre, northwesterly (or southeastward-flowing) winds drive eastward-flowing currents that are difficult to distinguish from the northern boundary of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current. Like other oceanic gyres, it collects vast amounts of floating debris.
South Pacific Gyre, which is part of the Earth’s system of rotating ocean currents, bounded by the Equator to the north, Australia to the west, the Antarctic Circumpolar Current to the south, and South America to the east. The center of the South Pacific Gyre is the site on Earth farthest from any continents and productive ocean regions and is regarded as Earth’s largest oceanic desert.
Some of these long-lasting plastics end up in the stomachs of marine animals, and their young, including sea turtles and the black-footed albatross. Midway Atoll receives substantial amounts of marine debris from the patch. Of the 1.5 million Laysan albatrosses that inhabit Midway, nearly all are likely to have plastic in their digestive system. Approximately one-third of their chicks die, and many of those deaths are due to being fed plastic from their parents. Twenty tons of plastic debris washes up on Midway every year with five tons of that debris being fed to albatross chicks.
Besides the particles’ danger to wildlife, on the microscopic level the floating debris can absorb organic pollutants from seawater, including PCBs, DDT, and PAHs. Aside from toxic effects, when ingested, some of these are mistaken by the endocrine system as estradiol, causing hormone disruption in the affected animal. These toxin-containing plastic pieces are also eaten by jellyfish, which are then eaten by fish.
Many of these fish are then consumed by humans, resulting in their ingestion of toxic chemicals. While eating their normal sources of food, plastic ingestion can be unavoidable or the animal may mistake the plastic as a food source.
Marine plastics also facilitate the spread of invasive species that attach to floating plastic in one region and drift long distances to colonize other ecosystems. Research has shown that this plastic marine debris affects at least 267 species worldwide.
Charles J. Moore is an oceanographer and racing boat captain known for articles that recently brought attention to the ‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch’. He founded the Algalita Marine Research and Education and in 2008, the foundation organized the JUNK Raft project, to “creatively raise awareness about plastic debris and pollution in the ocean”, and specifically the Great Pacific Garbage Patch trapped in the North Pacific Gyre, by sailing 2,600 miles across the Pacific Ocean on a 30-foot-long (9.1 m) raft made from an old Cessna 310 aircraft fuselage and six pontoons filled with 15,000 old plastic bottles.
The JUNK Raft Project was organized by Dr. Marcus Eriksen, Joel Paschal and Anna Cummins in Long Beach, California in 2008, to bring attention to the issue of plastic pollution in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. The project was launched with the Algalita Marine Research Foundation, after founder Charles J. Moore encountered the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in 1997. Organizers hoped to “creatively raise awareness about plastic debris and pollution in the ocean,” specifically the Great Pacific Garbage Patch trapped in the North Pacific Gyre.
There are many more organizations set up doing research to solve the plastic pollution problem in our oceans, but the main solution starts at the top with the banning of plastics from large corporate companies. When you make a purchase, you are voting with your consumer goods. Corporations do listen, we just need to tell them what we will not tolerate and what we need from them.
Other products are being tested on the market such as biodegradable plastics and even plastics made from food, so that when they enter back into nature, the animals won’t suffer when accidentally consuming them. I hope that this post helps in the understanding of why being consciously aware and responsible for our trash is a crucial role for the future of our planet. It can feel overwhelming and although a small change in your daily routine may not feel like an impact among the current issues we have, it does help. Make small changes first, then move towards bigger changes. It all adds up.
Independence Day, also referred to as the Fourth of July or July Fourth, is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence 241 years ago on July 4, 1776. The Continental Congress declared that the thirteen American colonies regarded themselves as a new nation, the United States of America, and were no longer part of the British Empire.
Independence day was always a special holiday for me. It marked the existence of summer and it came with barbecued food, swimming and fun with friends and family. The days were longer and the nights were warm. As a kid, July was a particularly a fond month for me to remember, the smell of summer in the air and the empty school playgrounds allowed us to use the basketball courts and soccer fields freely. School life had come to a halt for a few months and you knew you would run into your classmates outside of school. It was a chance to interact with them in a different environment. It was a welcomed break for a daily school routine.
Although now that I’m an adult, the smell of summer still brings back great memories, but there is no break in the daily work routine. I still love the smell of summer but it passes by quickly. I still go and watch fireworks, and I reflect on how lucky I am.
This holiday also marks that the year is halfway over. Time passes by so fast when you’re busy, although being unproductive is also not a good habit. Finding that balance as an adult is critical. We work our entire lives to go to school so that we can be successful in our careers, so we can have enough income that would support a comfortable life, and before we know it were inching towards retirement.
That reality is why I make it a routine to enjoy my evenings each night. Even if it’s only an hour, I work at shaping my daily routine around a simplistic schedule. This leaves time for me to just sit back and relax for the evening. Even on the weekends I have routines that help me enjoy each morning. During these mornings I usually reflect on what I’ve accomplished during the year and what I still want to accomplish.
Even though July marks the halfway point of the year, it also means that we can all take advantage of the rest of the year.
I think about what goals I’d still like to accomplish and set up a plan to follow though. Goals are like meetings, prepare for the meeting, be on time and be ready to interact and engage. You can’t postpone these meetings, set up those goals and get them done- no more excuses.
So my questions to you are:
What goals did you set out for yourself that you haven’t started or finished?
What projects do you have left to do?
What have you been “meaning to get done, but haven’t had the time”?
So each year, I try to set up attainable goals. Sometimes I achieve them, sometimes I won’t and sometimes I only achieve a few goals each year. Either way, the ones that were not achieved, will bleed into the upcoming year. I approach this goal setting a few different ways and this year I thought I’d share with you a format that I frequently use now. These goals have two concise categories and that’s personal goals versus professional goals.
My professional goals will be whatever and however I decide to navigate my professional life. That includes where I work, the length of my career, the job titles I want to move up towards and licenses that I need to attain those job titles. In a nutshell, the idea is to layout where you want to be and the steps it’s going to take to get there. This is a sample format that I tend to follow:
Profesional steps to move into the job position you desire and with desired pay
Certificates and licenses needed to qualify for desired position
Which certificates are needed
How much does each certificate/license cost
Frequency of the continuing education credits needed per year
Steps to network more, and how to come in contact with more people on a more frequent basis
How frequent will networking occur (ie quarterly, yearly, etc.)
You can use the above format, or elaborate on it however you choose. My personal goals has a different format that I use which includes daily goals, weekly goals, yearly goals and long term goals. With this format, it’s a fairly straight forward setup. However, there are a lot of templates floating around on the internet that will map out each week of each month in a play by play format, if that’s what you chose to use. I tend to not have that many goals that would need a more rigorous format, so I use this the style I use.
Long term Goals:
I like to focus more on general time constraints than day to day time constraints. Also, with the general time goals, it allows for unexpected events to occur. This list may change in the sense that new goals may be added to it or adjusted, but I’ve written it out and now it’s a personal contract. So let me show you what goals I’d like to achieve in 2017.
Continue to work towards becoming a licensed architect.
Continue to work towards my LEED AP certification
Take scheduled breaks from blogging and the upkeep of my social media
Continue to blog, but post once per week, and continue to push for better content
Be more active on my social media accounts
Buckle down on my workout routines
Community Involvement: Get more involved with the non-profit environmental organizations that I currently support, perhaps add some more to that list.
Grow specific vegetables and enough to sustain a household for weekly meals. (This is an ongoing experiment)
So this is a glimpse into what I plan to do. What are some of your goals? Do you like the daily/weekly/yearly/long term goals format? Do any of you have goals set up for 2017?
There are times when producing trash is inevitable. Living a zero waste life and the steps leading up to an efficient zero waste lifestyle will produce at least some trash. One way or another, it’s not necessarily a crushing result. If you can find a way to get an efficient zero waste lifestyle routine without producing trash, then that’s great, but for those who are attempting it, and may get frustrated with the goal of ‘no trash’ in mind and yet that is the result; don’t be too hard on yourself.
When I started this journey, there were a lot of blog posts talking about how those people and households were living efficient zero waste lifestyles, but no one talked about the journey and mistakes it took to get there. I even wrote a blog post about what to do first if you want to start this lifestyle, Seven Tips To Begin A Zero Waste Life. I made mistakes as I started this journey as well. My mistakes included testing out products that were recommended, which I discovered to be inefficient, as well as starting out using one product and finding new, package-free versions of the product later on. I still haven’t found solutions for certain products such as my hair ties and am still on the hunt for certain ingredients in bulk to make certain condiments.
The whole point of this journey is to find that happy medium where you can live that efficient zero waste lifestyle and that you’re content with it. Moving forward and making progress is always good. Even if you don’t make great strides everyday. The desire is to at least take positive and productive steps towards this lifestyle. There will be critics, there will be naysayers, but progress is key. Keep growing and evolving as you venture further along this zero waste journey.
So I’ve been asking myself the same series of questions for the past four years. I do this at the beginning of the year and then I revisit my answers midway through the year. These questions don’t really fall along the lines of a “New Year’s Resolution”, but they inquire more about growth as an individual. So here they are:
How do you want your future self to be like in one year?
What are the different dreams and goals you would want to be realized by then?
What is your desired status of the areas of your life wheel right now?
I want to ….Career/Business?
I want to ….Finances?
I want to ….Family?
I want to ….Friends?
I want to ….Love?
I want to ….Health?
I want to ….Spirituality?
I want to ….Recreation?
I want to ….Personal growth?
I want to ….Contribution?
What hopes do you hold for yourself in the future?
What fears and obstacles do you currently face that you wish to overcome?
What internal resources do you inherently possess that will help you, now and always?
How will you remember what you have to offer, and how will you continue to know yourself and your presence as a contribution to this world?
What are ways that you can seek to love your future self no matter how much the future varies from what you expect it would be?
I ask these questions because I like to hold myself accountable. I save these questions in my cloud each year and I’ve revisited my answers from the past. Some answers have stayed true, some have not. Some answers altered due to unforeseen circumstances.
I’m posting these questions now because at this point we are halfway through the year and I’m wondering if you guys ever visit these kinds of questions. Even in your jobs, there’s an evaluation of your growth and your plan and position in the company. And even if you are self employed, there is still growth to be evaluated. Some of these questions may not have to be answered or may not have a complex answer, but I do think revisiting who you are and what you want is always a good notion.
To live a healthy life means you must make healthy decisions, take healthy actions and utilizing those decisions each day. This means, leaving toxic relationships behind, accepting what you cannot change and what you can change, and really figuring out what makes you happy. There’s a lot of “noise” in this world that can get in the way of happiness. Sometimes it flies under the radar, from negative comments you may receive or negative friends or just being unhappy in the current state.
I like plans and lists. Yep, I’m THAT type. Whenever I need to create a better situation for myself- I break it out into a list. From the list of items I need to do, and the next steps of utilizing those actions, I usually find my way out of the situation. I also like to cross items off of my checklist, there’s a level of satisfaction that moment brings. My priorities and obligations come first on my lists, so I never stray away from those. There’s also a line between what I want verses what I need, and the time it takes for those items to come to fruition. For those who are impatient, we like/want that immediate gratification, but that rarely happens. We hang our happiness level on that gratification as well- which can make us suspended in limbo for awhile, that uncomfortable limbo.
Be happy and comfortable with the unknown, it makes life easier to deal with. Life is an adventure. I am the type who is more comfortable to know what lies ahead, but in the past 6 years, I’ve accepted that knowledge of the future is best left unknown. I control what I can, and leave the rest up to time and destiny. Mentally, this puts me at ease. I can control how healthy I decide I want to be, who I want to interact with in my life and where I want my life to go. This life includes everything I do under my roof and outside in the existing world. My definition of a healthy life is just that.
Everyone’s’ definition of “Healthy life” will be different, and I think that’s great. Healthy is relative to a certain degree. As long as you are happy, nothing else else really matters- except your priorities. So limit the noise, accept what you can change and let go of what you cannot, take time to examine yourself and who you want to be in this life- and then just do it.
Clarity in our thoughts and feelings can bring peace of mind.
Sometimes, getting through the grey areas in life are the most difficult struggles. It brings a level of uncertainty. With black and white situations, you know if you’re going to loose or win. The grey areas create indecisiveness. But if you take a moment, take a deep breath, and stop moving… sometimes you realize the situation was always black or white.
Don’t let the grey areas take over your emotions/health, keep you from attaining your goals, or bring you down. Make a decision, is it going to be black or white? If you really want it, you’ll always see white.
I could sit here and write that I want to better myself in a specific way, but it would be meaningless. My life as it is right now… is pretty great. It’s weird to admit that at times because it sounds arrogant, but I have to admit that life is genuinely good and I’m happy. However, it also took years of analyzing and nit picking and changing routines to get to this point.
My first step in getting to my happy life was simplifying it, which meant trying to live a zero waste lifestyle. After that, the rest was laid out pretty easily. Running errands is easier, sleeping is easier, and waking up is easier. I don’t buy packaged foods anymore so I know I’m not putting certain chemicals into my body anymore. (I know that there is a chance that the bulk foods will also have chemicals, but not the same ones for sure.)
I tend to eat a lot of greens and I stopped eating meat five years ago. I just run around the bulk foods section, grab some vegetables and fruit and I’m done. Even buying soap, laundry detergent, lotion and my other bath and body care are a quick stop at the grocery store- and it’s just one store I go to too.
I think this year is a year of just pushing my blog to further investigate who I am and what I want to report/talk about. I’m a very private person so this is all very new to me. I started living a zero waste life almost 6 years ago and many people had asked me to document it or vlog it on my YouTube channel, only now am I comfortable enough to do so.
The word ‘goals’ sounds too standard. It sounds like you’re going to achieve the goal and then it’s over, it’s done, nada mas. So maybe they should just be changes, changes that will echo even after you reach a certain point. Changes that just become a part of you- they become you.
So my changes for 2016, is to push my blog, vlog more, continue to be healthy and happy but overall- continue to be a better version of ME. The ME version consists of being a sister, daughter, friend, designer, citizen… just BE BETTER.
So I found this article of “Those Top 37 Things You’ll Regret When You’re Old”, (here’s the link Top 37 Things You’ll Regret When You’re Old) and I thought I would audit the list. I separated the items I haven’t done from the items that I have done.
Items that DO NOT apply to me : (because I’ve already done it or I’m currently taking care of the issue)
2. Not learning another language
You’ll kick yourself when you realize you took three years of language in high school and remember none of it. ===> I speak 3
3. Staying in a bad relationship.
No one who ever gets out of a bad relationship looks back without wishing they made the move sooner. ===> Get out when the first red flag goes up
4. Forgoing sunscreen.
Wrinkles, moles, and skin cancer can largely be avoided if you protect yourself. ===> Wear it everyday
5. Missing the chance to see your favorite musicians.
“Nah, dude, I’ll catch Nirvana next time they come through town.” ==> So far so good
8. Letting yourself be defined by gender roles.
Few things are as sad as an old person saying, “Well, it just wasn’t done back then.” ===> Grew up a tomboy but now I love being a woman
9. Not quitting a terrible job.
Look, you gotta pay the bills. But if you don’t make a plan to improve your situation, you might wake up one day having spent 40 years in hell. ===> Get out while you can- or you’ll hate yourself later
10. Not trying harder in school.
It’s not just that your grades play a role in determining where you end up in life. Eventually you’ll realize how neat it was to get to spend all day learning, and wish you’d paid more attention. ===> I’ve achieved my education goals I set out
11. Not realizing how beautiful you were.
Too many of us spend our youth unhappy with the way we look, but the reality is, that’s when we’re our most beautiful. ===> I think I’m alright
12. Being afraid to say “I love you.”
When you’re old, you won’t care if your love wasn’t returned — only that you made it known how you felt. ===> Yep I’ve said this too
13. Not listening to your parents’ advice.
You don’t want to hear it when you’re young, but the infuriating truth is that most of what your parents say about life is true. ===> I still go to them for advice
14. Spending your youth self-absorbed.
You’ll be embarrassed about it, frankly. ===> I always saw myself as the “funny” friend
15. Caring too much about what other people think.
In 20 years you won’t give a darn about any of those people you once worried so much about. ===> Never cared much of what people thought
16. Supporting others’ dreams over your own.
Supporting others is a beautiful thing, but not when it means you never get to shine. ===> I think everyone deserves a fan
17. Not moving on fast enough.
Old people look back at the long periods spent picking themselves off the ground as nothing but wasted time. ===> My personality bodes to constantly be working on projects
18. Holding grudges, especially with those you love.
What’s the point of re-living the anger over and over? ===> You just have to accept people as they are, or you don’t deal with them at all.
19. Not standing up for yourself.
Old people don’t take sh*t from anyone. Neither should you. ===> I’m solid on this one
22. Missing the chance to ask your grandparents questions before they die.
Most of us realize too late what an awesome resource grandparents are. They can explain everything you’ll ever wonder about where you came from, but only if you ask them in time. ===> They died before I was born so this was defaulted
23. Working too much.
No one looks back from their deathbed and wishes they spent more time at the office, but they do wish they spent more time with family, friends, and hobbies. ===> I’m too young to say that
25. Not stopping enough to appreciate the moment.
Young people are constantly on the go, but stopping to take it all in now and again is a good thing. ===> Do this every morning when I have my coffee
26. Failing to finish what you start.
Failing to finish what you start.“I had big dreams of becoming a nurse. I even signed up for the classes, but then…” ===> I’ve finished everything I set out to do, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have more future projects in mind
27. Never mastering one awesome party trick.
You will go to hundreds, if not thousands, of parties in your life. Wouldn’t it be cool to be the life of them all? ===> I can make a shot disappear
28. Letting yourself be defined by cultural expectations.
Letting yourself be defined by cultural expectations.Don’t let them tell you, “We don’t do that.” ===> I never have
29. Refusing to let friendships run their course.
People grow apart. Clinging to what was, instead of acknowledging that things have changed, can be a source of ongoing agitation and sadness. ===> People grow up, they change and evolve
31. Never taking a big risk (especially in love).
Knowing that you took a leap of faith at least once — even if you fell flat on your face — will be a great comfort when you’re old. ===> If you’ve had your heart broken, you can check this off
32. Not taking the time to develop contacts and network.
Networking may seem like a bunch of crap when you’re young, but later on it becomes clear that it’s how so many jobs are won. ===> I have a great network
33. Worrying too much.
As Tom Petty sang, “Most things I worry about never happen anyway.” ===> I let go of what I cannot control
34. Getting caught up in needless drama.
Who needs it? ===> I’m too old for this one, and it’s a waste of time
36. Never performing in front of others.
This isn’t a regret for everyone, but many elderly people wish they knew — just once — what it was like to stand in front of a crowd and show off their talents. ===> Performed in choir from 10 years old to 18 years old
37. Not being grateful sooner.
It can be hard to see in the beginning, but eventually it becomes clear that every moment on this earth — from the mundane to the amazing — is a gift that we’re all so incredibly lucky to share. ===> I thankful that I’m able to wake up each day
Here is the list of Items that I HAVEN’T DONE and that I AM regretting> and I plan to change :
1. Not traveling when you had the chance.
Traveling becomes infinitely harder the older you get, especially if you have a family and need to pay the way for three-plus people instead of just yourself. ===> Need to do this more
6. Being scared to do things.
Looking back you’ll think, What was I so afraid of? ===> Taking steps right now to do so
7. Failing to make physical fitness a priority.
Too many of us spend the physical peak of our lives on the couch. When you hit 40, 50, 60, and beyond, you’ll dream of what you could have done. ===> Doing this now
20. Not volunteering enough.
OK, so you probably won’t regret not volunteering Hunger Games style, but nearing the end of one’s life without having helped to make the world a better place is a great source of sadness for many. ===> Need to volunteer more with the organizations I support
21. Neglecting your teeth.
Neglecting your teeth.Brush. Floss. Get regular checkups. It will all seem so maddeningly easy when you have dentures. ===> Need to go to the dentist too
24. Not learning how to cook one awesome meal.
Knowing one drool-worthy meal will make all those dinner parties and celebrations that much more special. ===> I want to make more than a few awesome meals
30. Not playing with your kids enough.
When you’re old, you’ll realize your kid went from wanting to play with you to wanting you out of their room in the blink of an eye. ===> Don’t have any… yet
35. Not spending enough time with loved ones.
Not spending enough time with loved ones.Our time with our loved ones is finite. Make it count. ===> Time with family/friends can never be enough
So I left some answers as to what I plan to accomplish soon. They’re basic answers, nothing written in stone or planned out clearly. These items are nothing new to my TO DO list and I plan to do them. The underlined items will be done sooner than later. The rest of the items will be done eventually 😉 Ok, ttyl!
We have 168 hours in a week, so I decided to outline my hours during the day- here’s what I found: (SEE CHART BELOW) Interesting right? My assumptions for my work week was pretty accurate- I always feel like I never have time during the week but I have TOO much time during the weekend. Now it’s time to really use those hours to my advantage! It really is amazing what you see once you write it down on paper. I never realized that I had 4 hours of free time per day during my weekdays and 12.5 hours of free time during my weekends- it’s kinda nuts! although I know I have to crunch my time during my week, but then again… I can always use my down time during the week to have nice conversations with my mom or (eventually) hang out with my family and friends 🙂