Sustainable Resolutions & Coping with Change

As you all probably know, I have resolved to be a better consumer in 2018.

I really care about creating and maintaining a more sustainable lifestyle.  It’s important to me, and I feel like it is really not cool to be lazy or dismissive about the importance of working towards a more sustainable lifestyle on a daily basis.  That being said, I do have a confession to make.

I really miss shopping.

I mean, it’s brutal.  Consumerism feels like a true physical addiction.  Fast fashion is so hard to deny.  I am truly craving a shopping spree.  It has been so difficult for me to pass up flash sales on ASOS and not go to department stores for 60% off sales and after-Christmas sales and I keep getting these emails about discounts and I spent over an hour last night on Zappos just scrolling through trends and putting things into my shopping cart just to try to satiate my hunger to shop.

I feel a little crazy.  Here are things that I’ve been doing to stay strong and not consume needlessly.

Use Reason 

I’m actually pretty disgusted with how difficult it has been for me to shop less, and this disgust helps me shame myself into submission.  I am not going to remain a puppet to corporate america, and I’m not gonna be a weak bitch about this.  I’m really proud of myself for doing well the past few months, and every time that I don’t purchase more fast fashion is a huge personal win, so that helps me cope.

I’m also a grown ass woman who deserves better than the sale rack at Forever21 or Billabong or whatever.  I’m 23 years old, I don’t belong there.

Another thing is to think of the money I’m saving.  It used to be my norm to purchase 3-10 items a month ranging from $5-$50 each.  Over the course of a year that really adds up.  It could be the difference between taking a vacation, or paying off some credit card debt, or going to a concert or music festival.  Life is a cost-benefit analysis and the benefits of buying fast fashion never outweigh the cost, never.  I can always reason through making a purchase by thinking of this, as long as I give myself some time to think before I buy.

Personal Education 

Reading articles about how the fashion industry is negatively affecting our environment is also very helpful.  I have to remember why I’m doing this in the first place and that every choice that I make does matter.

Connect with Peers

Finding and following like-minded individuals on Instagram, Facebook and blog sites is definitely helpful.  It reminds me that this really isn’t a big deal, it’s just like a diet change or a relationship change or a career change.  At first it will be difficult and uncomfortable and I’ll crave my old normal, but eventually I will adjust and I won’t even think about those old habits anymore, unless I am congratulating myself on moving past them.

Pretend

At my very weakest moments (like last night) I will window shop online.  You can window shop high-quality, ethically sourced brands like Raven and Lilly or PACT apparel, or you can window shop trash brands like Victoria’s Secret and Zappos, it doesn’t really matter, but whatever you do, do not purchase anything.  Don’t do it.  If you can’t handle the temptation, don’t even mess around with window shopping.  I personally find it helpful to window shop online now and then, but for others this might make it harder.  Know yourself.

Purchase Ethically

When all else fails, you can do a little shopping.  But do it in an eco-friendly way.  Make your purchases mindfully from a trustworthy source, such as Everlane or Patagonia.  Find second-hand shops and purchase high-quality clothing items that will last years, are comfortable to wear, and will match with various outfits.  THAT is a good consumer decision that you can feel good about.  Guilt-free shopping.

Okay so now that I’ve shared my coping mechanisms with you , I’ll share my brief list of resolutions for 2018.  I think that these are attainable goals that are good for the world, good for my wardrobe, and good for my bank account.

  1. No more fast fashion.  Not one piece.
  2. Continue to learn about harmful products and processes, and figure out what changes I can make to combat these on a low level.
  3. Continue switching to natural products which put less chemicals and toxins into our bodies and our environment, specifically our water sources and oceans.
  4. Slowly transition to a minimalist lifestyle, letting go of items that don’t consistently add value to our lifestyle.

What are your sustainability goals for 2018?  What are you doing to help make the transition to a better lifestyle this year?  Share with me in the comments, support is always a factor in meeting your goals.

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