The perfect little homestead out in nature. Your yard filled with vegetables, herbs, chicken and goats. Your perfect dream life. Sustainable, green…and completely impractical for your real life and your real desires. How can you actually create a green life you love? One that resonates fully with you in all aspects of yourself from career aspirations, family, food, and living situation? How can you balance your dreams with the practical barriers that keep you from dropping everything and moving off the grid? You can create a green life you love, and is achievable here’s how…
Step 1: Discover Your Goals
What drives you? What are the things you know you can’t compromise on? It’s time to figure out what your key, core values are and how you can incorporate them into your life? Take some time and write down everything that comes to mind, and keep only the ones you care about most. Use them to create your own personal mission statement that will help you live a life you love. Use it as your guide when things get confusing, and inspiration when times are hard. Let it be your encouragement and driving force, something that can change if needed, as you grow as person and your life changes.
Actions to Take:
- Create goals that are specific and attainable. Getting fit isn’t a good goal, it’s vague and has no time frame. Instead run a 5k by April is a much more actionable goal that you can then use to figure out the smaller steps you’ll need to achieve it.
- Plan both long, mid and short term goals to help you achieve larger goals.
- Make sure your mission statement reflects your goals and the beliefs, lifestyle or steps you’ll need to take to get there.
Step 2: Take Action
Now you have your mission statement, it’s time to take action. All the wants in the world won’t make anything happen unless you actually take steps to more toward your goals. If your goal is to reduce your carbon footprint, maybe it means becoming a one car family, or downsizing your home, or walking to work more often. If it means choosing more organic foods, maybe it means starting with the dirty dozen because you can’t afford to go all organic right now. Whatever small steps can get you to your goal, start taking them. Those small steps add up, even if it’s not entirely where you want to be, it’s taking you there, a little bit at a time.
Actions to Take:
- Select one of your goals and start taking steps to reach it.
- Do not go after ALL THE GOALS right away! You may find yourself burned out and over extended. Instead focus on one area at at time and gradually add more goals as you encorporate your new changes into habits that enhance your lifestyle.
Step 3: Be Adaptable
Life takes turns we can never imagine. Who would have thought I would have ever lived in 4 different states and 2 countries (so far!), certainly never, ever me if you had asked me at any point in my past! That’s the direction my life has gone though, and that means I’ve had to learn (the hard way I might add) that the dream green life I have, isn’t realistic right now. So I have to adapt to my life, as it stands and instead take actions that will get me where I want to be…or as close to that destination as I can get! Don’t get too bogged down in the details. Just because you can’t have that dream green life now, doesn’t mean you will never have it. It doesn’t mean you are doomed to live a wasteful, consumerist existence. No! Do what you can, with what you have!
Actions To Take:
- Acknowledge change when it presents itself, this means the negatives feelings too! Give yourself time and compassion to process your feelings.
- Discover alternatives or new paths to reach your goal if you find your path blocked by change.
Step 4: Review & Reflect
Not all changes are successful. While you are trying to create a green life you love, don’t forget to occasionally check in with yourself to make sure you are on the right path. Maybe you discover that communal living isn’t for you, or that as much as you want to be vegan your body is happier and healthier with a more omniverous diet. Don’t force yourself to continue down paths that you discover aren’t actually something that resonate with you. Always review, and change your outlook as you grow as person. Your goals may change over time as well, update them as you notice you have out grown them, or found another path that suites you better. On the same token, don’t overlook the plans that didn’t go as you anticipated. If you were unable to achieve a goal, see how you can learn from it, and if there’s anything you can do better next time. Learning from failings is a challenging thing to do, but one that is necessary to grow and find solutions that work.
Actions to Take:
- Check in every month, 3 months, 6 months, or whatever works for you to see how you are progressing to your goals.
- Review steps you can take to make more progress or overcome obstacles.
- Acknowledge and celebrate your successes, no matter how small!
- Reflect on the lessons learned on the journey.
Your green life may not be exactly like anyone else, it may not even be exactly like you anticipated! It still can be one you love, and that is authentic to you if you keep sight of your own goals and guiding beliefs.