Making the changes stick: Some tops tips to make climate friendly behaviours part of your routine.
Making new habits part of your routine is difficult. The tips below are useful; for the Big Five as well as other climate friendly behaviours, and can even be used to help with healthy eating, exercise routine and many other desired behaviours.
- Start easy: Creating new habits is difficult, and it takes time for them to become “normal”. If you over –stretch yourself early on, you are unlikely to continue. So choose one that is realistic and achievable. Rather than try to replace a 10 mile drive to work with a bike ride, start with a 10 minute cycle to the shops instead; instead of going full vegan, introduce a couple of plant-based dishes to your culinary repertoire.
- Connect your new habit to an existing one: Pairing up a new habit with something, you do every day without fail, will quickly make a new behaviour part of your routine. Lay your cycle clothes out with your regular ones or put your bike clips in your sock drawer and pop them on with your socks!
- Design your environment: we are greatly influenced by what is around us. Make a few changes to make doing the “right” thing an easier choice or even just to remind you to do it. You could keep the vegetarian cookbook by the pens you use to write the shopping list or keep your car keys in your bike helmet to remind yourself to take the bike.
- Use positive self-talk: Don’t beat yourself up if you have a small slip – you’re only human and there is so much temptation around us all the time. Remember we need everyone taking climate action imperfectly, not a handful of people getting in totally right. Try switching your thinking – don’t say “I don’t eat meat on a Wednesday”, instead say “ If I have vegetables tonight, I can have a bacon butty tomorrow”. You can also focus on what you gain, rather than what you lose, for example, cycling will make your fitter, improve your mental health and give a more interesting journey.
- Celebrate your success: Don’t feel embarrassed to give yourself a pat on the back and say well done. Do this after each small step, rather than after reaching a big milestone, it’ll help you stay committed and become the climate champion you want to be! You could even keep a visual record of your mini-successes, by adding a sticker to a chart or a pebble to a jar. Before you know it, you know it you’ll have a mountain.
Ref: Dr Rangan Chatterjee, Feel Better in 5: Your Daily Plan to Feel Great for Life, Penguin Books (2019) ISBN:9780241397817, 0241397812