Step 1: take the first step

A short while ago we were asked for a step-by-step manual for a sustainable lifestyle. If only it was that easy… and if only we knew what the first and the last steps are. Of course we could start with something like this:

Step 1: Change those things you don’t really need to change your own behaviour for (switch to an ethical bank, get green electricity and sustainable insurance…)

Step 2: By organic, regional and seasonal products

Step 3: Use your car less

Step 4 to 1064: XYZ

Unfortunately the problem is, that there is no one right way. There is also not the one exemplary way. I am sure that everyone who has delved into the topic, everyone who tries to develop a sustainable lifestyle, found out that it is a process and that this process doesn’t move in one single direction only. The path is twisting, and sometimes you might come to a dead end and need to double back, sometimes you might take a wrong turn. Yes, you do need to move down that path step by step, but how exactly these steps should look like is different for everybody.

A perhaps less satisfying, but better manual would therefore be:

Step 1: Take the first step, become aware. Open up, look for things that should change, get informed, etc.

Step 2: Take the second step, look for ways to make changes reality, look for alternatives for your old habits

Step 3: Take the third step, the first small change

Step 4ff: Take the next step, the next small change

The biggest steps in my experience are those from 1 to 3. Any further steps will start following from each other in more and more natural way and you forgot how tough and big those steps seemed from afar. How far away those goals were. You also forget that you ever had to take these first steps. I often catch myself judging other people for a certain behaviour and need to remind myself, that this same behaviour seemed completely natural to me just a few years, months or weeks ago.

My advice therefore is: Start, change something, no matter how big or small. Don’t try to take any unrealistic leaps. Don’t despair if it doesn’t work straight away, take a step back and try again. The road seems long and cumbersome, but if you dare to take it step by step, some obstacles will disappear all by themselves. So go ahead and take a step!

Photo: unsplash.com/Rodion Kutsaev

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