Tuesday, July 13, 2010

One change at a time

Creating a healthier, more sustainable life can be daunting if you try to do it all at once. It's like binge drinking or eating... you go crazy at the health food store or the green products store buying all sorts of food supplements, natural body care products, and things you know you should use. You get home and feel elated at your major strike for the environment and the future of the world, not to mention your own health. But tomorrow and the next day the euphoria wears off and you find yourself missing the body lotion you've used for years (toxic petrochemical base notwithstanding) ... longing for the foamy minty toothpaste instead of this awful herbal salty stuff. When everything changes at the same time you are easily discouraged, start reasoning with yourself that healthy bodies can manage modest chemical loads/fats/sugars and, before you know it, the healthy goodies are pushed to the back of the cupboards and the old habits in terms of spending and product use creep back.

A healthier, more sustainable life is really about gluing a string of better habits together, one at a time, until they feel like second nature. Or carefully piling the blocks and stones, one upon the other, in balance. Each good habit needs time to be reinforced before it becomes automatic. Repeat something every day without fail for a month and it's just about a habit. Autopilot. Then choose the next one.

Think about starting the healthy changes for your body and the environment by not only focusing on what you eat or how you exercise, but also about what goes on your skin. Make one choice - a small choice - maybe changing your petrochemical based cream body moisturizer for a nourishing natural oil used all over each night before bed. Or swapping your chemical toothpaste for a more natural alternative (that tastes good too!). Or throw out the nasty chemical formula shower gel (even though it smells lovely) and change to beautiful, nourishing 100% natural soap.

Why should what we put on our skin be part of the small incremental health changes we make? Think about people trying to stop smoking: the nicotine is delivered most effectively through a skin patch. Likewise long term hormone therapy is delivered most effectively through skin patches. What goes on our skin does end up in our blood and, subsequently, in our liver and kidneys.

Make your healthy life style changes small and practice them for 3o days before trying the next one. Drink a warm glass of water with lemon/lime every morning on rising. Do it every day for 30 days and then just keep on doing it without thinking about it anymore. Change just one product in your bathroom for a purer, healthier, less harmful alternative. Use it everyday for 30 days while you practice changing your shopping habits at the same time. Keep practicing. Don't deprive yourself - simply add one healthy habit and make it stick, until the new habits crowd out the old ones. It is surprising how focusing on the achievement of integrating one new habit empowers you and helps to set a solid platform for the next stone to be laid.

Pile the stones up slowly... make small, steady lifestyle changes for a healthier, more natural, more sustainable, balanced and enjoyable life.

No comments:

Post a Comment