by Lola
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Many of us have started our journey to living a more sustainable lifestyle. However, we keep making some beginner mistakes that prevent us from living the happy green life we so much deserve.

Do you think we need to have a perfectly sustainable and green lifestyle to feel that we are helping the environment? Have we felt judged for not being as sustainable as we would like? Have we switched from one brand to another, only because we have seen on the TV or on their advice that they are a green company?

I am sure that all these situations are not unknown to you. We are here to speak about this taboo topic to highlight some of the failures we face.


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Nature is amazing and worthwhile preserving

Mistake N°1 – Being too hard on ourselves

All my friends know that I am a perfectionist, a flaw that I am trying to correct. When I initiated my green journey, many years ago, I changed many things in my lifestyle. I changed my diet, and the way I was shopping, I made conscious changes about how I travelled etc. However, I kept thinking that I wasn’t doing enough for the environment. 

Guilt about not doing everything perfectly was eating me up until I realised I had to change that way of thinking. We are all trying to do our best and every small sustainable step makes a big difference so instead of feeling bad for my imperfections, i started celebrating the small victories and feeling proud for all the good things I was doing. Now I am much happier and more relaxed!

Have you ever experienced the guilt feeling? Try to let go!

Mistake N°2 – Being too judgmental with others

Not everyone is at the same stage in their eco-friendly lifestyle journey. You are probably ahead of many but also behind those who started well before you. It is important to feel proud of where you are but try to avoid judging others’ journeys. At the end of the day we are all learning, so who are we to judge others?

You are going to see friends and family making many mistakes. We are humans. But if they are willing to learn and make a change, try to help them out instead of looking down on them.

think about the goal, it’s going to be more beneficial for the environment if we help each other, rather than competing for the best eco-warrior title. Every small step has a consequence on the environment, the smallest one too.

A breathtaking view of the snowy Himalayan Mountains during Autumn.
A breathtaking view of the snowy Himalayan Mountains during the Autumn season.

Mistake N°3 – Being too naive and believing in Greenwashed companies

When we are beginners, we don’t have much information or knowledge and unscrupulous people and companies use that fact to take advantage of us. Well-known big corporations use every marketing trick in the book to manipulate us into buying and consuming their products and services.

What is Greenwashing?

It is a marketing and sales strategy that makes people believe that brands of products are environmentally friendly. An example could be when a company tells us that their products are made from recycled material, making us believe that they are 100% recycled but in reality, they are just 20% recycled.

What could we do to not fall into these lies? 

Mistake N°4 – Making too many changes at once

New sustainable thinkers should slowly implement small changes to live a greener life, rather than doing it all at once. And why? If we try to make too many changes at the same time we can be overwhelmed and eventually give up altogether.

Smaller steps are better and more successful when implementing new habits. For example, try to focus on weekly or monthly goals like making small changes in your diet. Try eating less meat and eating more organic vegetables and fruits. Once you are comfortable with this, you could try using your car less or giving second-hand shops a try.

Maybe it will take more time to get you where you want to be, but your chances to succeed are much higher and you’ll be happier taking your time!

Do you find it stressful to make some changes at once?

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Fir trees Green forest

Mistake N°5 – Recycling is not enough

We are used to buying new products even when the old ones are still OK. It is the way that we have always consumed without questioning it. Take our mobile phones, for example, we are changing them every 1 or 2 years, but the old ones are still okay and could probably run for another 2 (actually mine is 3 years old now and working like a treat!)

We don’t usually stop and consider the amount of resources and energy that go into the production of each new product, also we don’t think that those resources are limited and at some point, there will be no more.

The answer is simple: reduce, reuse and recycle…in that order!

Recycling is of course great but did you know that only 4% of the plastic ever produced has been recycled? that means that the rest is ending up in landfills and our oceans…not a nice picture. So, think about recycling as the last choice and only after you have asked yourself if you really need to buy something new or if you could borrow it or buy it second-hand.

Second-hand shops are now everywhere and you can find not only clothing but lots of other hidden treasures. Moreover, it is super beneficial for the environment.

Did you know that the fashion industry is responsible for 10 percent of global pollution? 

There are so many other items that you could buy second-hand. Furniture is another great example, where you could rescue high quality and beautiful pieces that will give a special vibe to your home. If you give old furniture a second life you will be avoiding unnecessary and unsustainable forestry and preventing millions of items from ending up in landfills.

Did you know that the furniture industry is responsible for 30% of the illegal timber?

Overconsumption is putting a lot of pressure on the earth and its inhabitants, so try not to contribute to it.

A kitten sticking it's tongue out playfully
A kitten sticking its tongue out playfully.

So, what do you think?

These are my tips and advice to anyone who has recently joined this beautiful green journey. Taking time, avoiding perfection and learning from others and their experiences can be very helpful.

What other advice would you give sustainable living beginners? Comment them on this blog!

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