Make a Good Green Habit Stick

Create a New Habit!

The power of habit cannot be underestimated. Creating and maintaining good habits (especially good green habits!) can add satisfaction, joy, consistency and discipline to your daily life.  And, an established habit can have the power to help you reach short and long-term goals ─ whether they are green goals or whether they are personal, professional, or financial goals.

Here are steps that can help you develop good green habits and habits of any other color!

How to Make a Habit Stick

The Power of Habit

  • Target a habit.  Make a conscious decision to create a habit that will make you, your home, your community and the world a better place.
  • All sizes welcome.  It’s okay to target small habits and goals.  Small changes can lead to big results!
  • Put it on paper. Seeing your goal on paper makes it real.
  • Find a trigger. A trigger is something that makes you remember to do something, such as a particular time (say, every day at 8 a.m.), an activity (right after you put on your shoes, recycle your paper) or a place (the area next to the kitchen sink for a compost bowl) or a thing (the compost bowl).
  • Commit to 30 days. Research shows it only takes about 4 weeks to establish a good habit, so it’s wise to start with a 30 day commitment.  However, some habits stick in two weeks and others can take 60 days or more.
  • Use affirmations.  Create a simple list of positive affirmations and chant them to yourself or say them aloud or make an audio recording. Practice your affirmations first thing in the morning or last thing at night.
  • Practice each day. Routine is important to make a habit become stick. The more often you do your habit, the more likely you are to succeed.
  • Allow for failure. If you happen to miss a day, forgive yourself and don’t give up. Keep going!  
  • Use cues. Place reminder notes or meaningful photos on your refrigerator, light switches, bathroom mirror, computer screen and other places throughout your home or business–yellow stickers work great and so do phone alarm apps and email calendar reminders!
  • Practice early or late.  It’s easier to practice a new habit in the morning (before the day gets hopping) or late in the day (when the dust has settled) because mid day is oftentimes busier.
  • Visualize success. Close your eyes and imagine yourself performing your new habit over and over until it seems natural and normal.
  • Keep a journal. Chronicle your success each day by placing an X on your calendar or filling a page or even just a line in a notebook.  
  • Pat on the back. When you reach your goal, choose a positive, healthy reward that makes you happy.  The reward could be anything from marking an X on your calendar (see Keep a Journal above), saving money, or toast with a long, tall glass of ice water.

Most people find that it takes about 30 days to make a habit stick.  However, some habits can take only a few days to establish, while other habits can take quite a bit longer longer, sometimes up to 45 to 60 days. You know your habit is established when it has become a normal part of your everyday routine.

Do you have any tricks or tools that have the power to make a habit stick?

20 Green Ways To Keep Cool

20 Green Ways To Keep Cool

If you’re looking for green ways to keep cool this summer — with little or no air conditioner — you’ve come to the right place.

We’ve gathered a variety of eco-friendly tips that either don’t use an air conditioner or help you use your air conditioner more efficiently.

Yes, it’s true you can stay cool without harming the environment.

To keep you and the planet healthy and to save money on your energy bill, here are 20 green ways to help you keep cool when summer heat threatens to get inside your home and under your collar.

Green Ways to Keep Cool With Litttle Or No Air Conditioner

Avoid the dry cycle and plan ahead. Allow dishes to air dry in your dishwasher. And, wash dishes late at night or early in the morning so you can keep the dishwasher door closed for several hours after the wash cycle completes to avoid hot air from spilling into the room.

Check refrigerator settings and coils. Set your refrigerator between 37 to 40 degrees and remember to keep the coils clean. Dirty coils make your refrigerator work harder and run longer, which heats up your kitchen.

Open windows and doors in the early morning. Allow early morning cool air to circulate throughout your home.

Close windows and coverings mid morning. Shut windows, blinds, shades, shutters and curtains later in the morning to stop afternoon heat from getting inside.

Drench your extremities. Run cold water over your hands and wrists, soak feet and ankles in a tub of water, splash water on your face and ears.

Dress for the heat. Wear loose or lightweight clothing made from natural fibers, such as cotton and linen (rather than synthetic materials), including sleeveless and short-sleeved shirts, shorts, capri pants, skirts and dresses. Rotate your shoes or sandals, so you’re never wearing shoes that are damp from sweat. Go barefoot when possible.

Eat smaller amounts of food. Your body produces less heat to digest small amounts of food than compared to large amounts of food.

Freeze a wet a towel. Allow the towel to thaw a little and then place it on your forehead, stomach, or feet to lower your body temperature.

Notice outdoor temperatures. Open doors and windows when the temperature drops down outside.

Practice green bathing habits. Open the window and close the door when showering, so hot steam doesn’t reach other parts of your home. If you don’t have a window in the bathroom, remember to turn on the fan to vent hot air.

Service your air conditioner. If you must use an air conditioner, make sure it runs efficiently by keeping filters clean and using the right amount of coolant. To help your air conditioner work better, use a fan to circulate the cold air. (If you can live with without using an air conditioner, do it. Use an air conditioner only during the hottest part of the day.)

Shut off heat-producing devices. When not in use, unplug or turnoff electronic devices such as computers, televisions, stereos, and incandescent light bulbs.

Sip cold beverages and eat chilled foods. Drink cold beverages, like ice water with a squeeze of lemon, or eat cold food, like chilled strawberries and blueberries, to lower your body temperature from the inside. Stay away from caffeine and alcohol, since both can lead to dehydration.

Sit under a tree. Hang out under shady trees where it can be up to 10 degrees cooler.

Spritz with water from a spray bottle. Mist your face or feet with water to cool off. While still damp, sit in front of a fan to get even cooler.

Take cold showers or baths. Lower your body temperature by cooling off your body from the outside.

Turn on fans to circulate air. Turn off the fan when you’re not in the room.  For a short-term treat, place a bowl of ice in front of the fan to move colder air.

Use a microwave or toaster oven. Cook food in a microwave or toaster oven, since both produce less heat and cook foods faster, which keeps your house cooler.

Visit the library, mall, grocery store, movie theatre or gym. Go to public places where many people can be cooled by air conditioners at the same time.

Wash and dry clothes before or after hottest periods. Do laundry early in the day or late at night when it’s cooler. Use a clothesline when possible or at least air dry part of the load. (Not everything may need to go in the dryer, especially items made from synthetic materials like workout clothes, blankets, and fleece jackets.)

We can’t guarantee you won’t ever need to turn on your air conditioner by following these steps. However, it’s very possible that you’ll use it a great deal less.

Can you share your favorite ways to keep cool in the summer?