How to Be Patient With Yourself on Your Sustainable Living Journey
**This piece is a guest post from Emily Folk, the editor of Conservation Folks. See below for her full bio!**
You may be familiar with the age-old expression that patience is a virtue, but that doesn't make achieving it any more desirable or easy. When it comes to altering your life drastically by
embarking on a sustainable journey, you may find that your patience is even more outside the
realm of possibilities. Yet you still want to meet your goals, but you don't seem to have the
restraint or reliance to get there, so what are you supposed to do?
While achieving patience may seem impossible, it's simple to overpower any lack of restraint with
a determined mindset fixated on fulfilling your goals at hand. Whether your goal is to reduce
your environmental footprint or to improve your everyday level of sustainability, you'll find that a
little bit of self-control, grit, and driven power can go a long way.
Kickstart your journey by taking a look at our five simple steps towards maintaining a positive
mindset and patience on your goal towards a more sustainable future below.
1. Reframe Your Focus
When you reevaluate your life values and goals, it’s important to start off your newfound journey
by establishing what truly matters.
The most crucial piece of advice to take when learning patience is to focus on the positive and
what’s within your realm of influence and control. You can’t immediately eliminate your financial
debt, but you can choose to focus on reducing your everyday spending and waste production.
Instead of trying to master unobtainable acts such as perfectionism or forgoing shopping entirely,
reshape your daily focuses to prioritize more straightforward actions that are much more feasible.
When you vow to commit to smaller, less extreme acts, you'll find yourself achieving even higher
results in the long run.
2. Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself
Sometimes, it takes a bit of effort and time to obtain our goals — sustainable living included. You
may make some mistakes along the way and it’s important to realize that your dedication will one
day pay off.
Did you know that forming a habit requires a few weeks? Scientists estimate that a habit is
formed after roughly 21 days of continuous willpower and efforts to be exact. And that’s only an
approximation — changing your lifestyle toward complete sustainable living may take even
The best part about venturing on your new life journey is knowing that others are in the same
boat as you and there's no rush to meet your daily goals along the way. Whether it takes a few
days or months, remember to pace yourself and realize that even the most significant things in
life take a little bit of time.
3. Be Comfortable With Saying No (When Necessary)
Sometimes, it isn’t always easy to say no — especially when you’re used to saying yes. But one
of the most important parts of living sustainably is learning to say no to the products and junk
that cause unnecessary clutter in your life.
The next time you're in the market for a new product, ask yourself if you need that latest gadget
or appliance. You'll find that the answer is likely no — and learning to say no may just be the key
to leading the sustainable life you hope to achieve.
4. Be Grateful for What You Have
You don’t have to go to the store or surf the internet for a brand new product to receive
something new. In fact, we're betting you have something laying around in your house at this
very moment that could provide you with a fresh and different product — through a bit of
repurposing, of course.
When it comes to sustainable living and being grateful for the possessions you already own, take
a note from the Amish community. The Amish, known for living a slower lifestyle than many
people today, also live a far more sustainable lifestyle.
Part of how the Amish live so sustainably is achieved through intelligently managing their
finances and possessions. The Amish cultivate a sustainable lifestyle by repurposing the materials
they already have and making the most out of the goods and materials currently in their home.
Repurposing also requires a lot less energy than working, shopping, and indulging in more goods.
Pace yourself and make an evening of transforming something old in your home into a new and
refreshing product — you may just find yourself enjoying the relaxation and picking up a new
5. Reward Yourself Along the Way
Putting too much pressure on yourself to succeed or obtain your goals can drain you — both
physically and mentally. That’s why it’s so important to congratulate yourself for your dedicated
efforts and to reward yourself along the way on your sustainable living journey.
Research studies show that we’re much more likely to see an act through to fruition when we
have an incentive — such as a reward — pushing us toward achievement. A little bit of positive
reinforcement can cause a wave of impact on your resulting decisions and actions.
If you find, for instance, that you’ve met your goal to cut back on water and electricity usage for
the month, consider rewarding yourself with your favorite meal or dish. Once you achieve any
goals you’ve established, it’s important to pat yourself on the back as you work toward a more
Plus, your newfound dedication to sustainable living will become apparent in your everyday
lifestyle and decisions — an incentive we’d say is a reward in and of itself.
In the end, it’s crucial to take a moment to reflect on your future life journey. Take a deep
breath, focus on your goals, and push forward toward sustainability. The most important thing to
remember that the process is a part of the journey — so pace yourself along the way.