Progress Over Perfection

The end of another year, in fact the end of another decade. It always feels massively significant and I always put pressure on myself to get the new year off to a flawless start, which is kind of silly considering that I am in fact the same person from 11:59pm on December 31st to 12:00am on January 1st.  

On my quest to live a more sustainable life, I try to take a holistic approach. Yes, I am obviously focused on what is most sustainable for the planet, but I also need to know what is most sustainable for me and my family, and that includes taking our quality of life into consideration.

I love this quote from Kate Northrup:

"It’s about Sustainability, which to me means living and working in ways that will allow us, the beings around us, and the planet to thrive indefinitely."

I have an inkling that you might be considering a plastic-free challenge for January, or maybe you are determined to go completely zero waste in 2020. What does completely zero waste look like anyway? Would I have to live off-grid, forage for my meals, and give up all of my material possessions? I’m still unclear on this. 

I have a feeling that over the next week your Instagram feed will be filled with a series of posts featuring “Ten Steps to a Zero Waste Life” or “Thirty Days Without Plastic”, and you’ll have emails arriving in your inbox with extra motivation for how to waste less and live more in the new year. While there is absolutely something to be gained from each of these valiant attempts to change human behavior, I must caution you. 

I’ve seen how resolutions work. We all know this one, right? On January 2nd the gym is full of people with good intentions to turn their life around with a new fitness routine. Come Groundhog Day, most of those people have already lost site of their resolution and may not return to the gym again until next January. 

The resolution feels very all-or-nothing and once we’ve broken it, or messed it up in some way, we often kick it to the side. We give up, sometimes without even realizing it. 

We can not afford to make and break zero waste resolutions. If we all attempt to fit our trash for the year into a glass jar, fail miserably, and then give up on sustainable living all together, then we’ve got much bigger problems. 

This is not about a resolution, it is about a revolution, and the only way that we can rise up and see true change is if we shift our perspective and learn to prioritize progress over perfection.

So take a moment to reflect with me. In what areas of your life have you made progress this year? I bet it is more significant than you may have previously realized. Acknowledge it. Celebrate it. This is how we invite and encourage further progress.

I must confess that I too have a tendency to focus only on what I need to improve, but it makes for a long and exhausting life, because I never seem to be able to catch up. 

When I take a moment to observe my progress and appreciate the effort and achievement, I instantly feel motivated to continue along that path. It brings the joy back into the journey. 

So maybe instead of setting a resolution that will cause you grief and anxiety the first time you encounter a piece of trash that doesn’t fit into your glass jar or you forget your reusable water bottle and have to use a compostable cup, what if you just decide to make progress in your sustainable living journey? Change one small habit at a time. Be more intentional with your purchases. Consider the end-of-life for the materials that you allow into your life. Lead by example. Share your progress with others and allow them to celebrate with you and learn from you. 

We are living and operating within broken systems that will not be changed overnight. We have to be prepared to play the long game and build a lifestyle that is sustainable within those systems as we wait for the change. 

Team Scoop and I will be here with you every step of the way. To make sure that you don’t get overwhelmed, we won’t be sharing all of our favorite zero waste tips in the month of January. Instead, we will share them with you a little at a time throughout the year (and the rest of the decade) through social media posts and occasional posts on our blog. You can count on a new sustainable living tip from us via Instagram and Facebook every Tuesday, and probably several more in between. 

We are always here to answer your questions, brainstorm solutions to problems, and commiserate over frustrations as necessary (before we change our perspective and switch to action mode!)

Together, our Scoop Family is going to build something truly magnificent. We will lead the way, create change, and spread hope as we improve the quality of our lives while walking more gently on the planet. I am so thankful to have you as part of the family. 

Happy New Year, my friend.

All my best,