Activism through Daily Choice

Today is Earth Day and we challenge you to recognize your power to change the world.

You may not think of yourself as an activist, but you are.  Yes, I’m talking to you.  We are all activists.  Every choice we make, every day, adds up to make a huge difference in the world.  It’s really quite simple.  Either we’re making healthy and life-sustaining choices or we’re making unhealthy and harmful choices.  Think about it this way.  Our every day choices represent how much we value the world and the people in it, including ourselves and our families.

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A Good Hard Look :: Own It

If we do anything today, please, let’s just take 5 minutes to do this simple exercise.

Mentally run through the actions we take during one of our “normal” days.  From the time we wake up to the time we go to bed, briefly review the choices we make on a regular basis.  Take note of all the actions that we realize are poor choices for the well-being of the world and our loved ones.

Driving to work every day even though we could bicycle, walk, carpool, carshare or take mass transit?  Buying coffee every morning in throwaway coffee cups?  Or bottled water?  Dressing ourselves in clothing made in places that disregard human rights or environmental standards?  Eating pre-packaged, processed or fast foods?  Letting water run when we do dishes or brush our teeth?

Whatever the bad choices are, and regardless of the reasons why we make them, just take notice of them and own them.  We don’t have to do anything about them yet.  Just recognize the choices we are making.  This exercise may not seem like much but it’s huge.   It’s the first step in recognizing the many things we do on a daily basis that can cause damage.  But it’s also an indicator of how much power we have to change things for the better.

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The Real Question

Now that we’ve recognized areas in our life where we could make better, healthier choices, it’s time to ask ourselves this question:

Are we going to use our freedom, our life energy and our power to continue to make choices that are harmful to us, our families and the rest of the world?

If we answer “no” to this question then it’s time for us to claim full responsibility for our bad choices and do better.

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Excuses not to Change are Choices too.

It’s fine to want to change but to put words and desire in to action is another thing altogether.  This is the point where many of us become overwhelmed and/or lazy.  We’re already maxed out each day, and we know half of our bad choices are made simply because we’re exhausted or because they’re convenient.  The thought of having to change them, to consider the energy and time it might take to change them, may send us into a frantic zone.  We may start making excuses for why we can’t change them or why it’s “impossible” to change them.  We may shelve the idea altogether, mentally make a note to deal with all this “later”, or once ‘x’, ‘y’ or ‘z’ has occurred.

Just stop it.  Stop right there and take a deep breath.  It’s not impossible and it’s not hard.  Think about it.  We’re already putting energy in to making a bad choice.  All we have to do is transfer that energy in to making a better choice.  Don’t think of it as “extra work”.  Think of it as simply rearranging or rerouting.  Think of it as powerful choice, our choice.  We can do it!  And here’s how:

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Time to Pick One.  Just One.

Pick one of our daily bad choices and mentally commit to changing it this coming week.  Pick only one.  Ideally, it should be the easiest one on the list for us to change.

Once we’ve picked one, take a few minutes to make a game plan.  Here’s an example:   We’re still buying bottled water.  Make a commitment to stop buying bottled water.  Buy a filter for our home or work place, or wherever it is we normally drink bottled water.  Carry a reusable sports bottle or thermos with water in it so that we don’t need water when in transit.  If we live in an area where the water is safe to drink and doesn’t need to be filtered, start drinking from the tab and don’t waste our money on filters (unless a filter would help prevent us from buying bottled water).  If we travel a lot, consider buying a small water filter specifically made for travelers.  If others in our life regularly offer us bottled water, think of ways to inoffensively and casually turn down their offers.

Once we’ve made a plan of action, focus on making the change and stick to it for at least 2 months.  Even if we occasionally make different or bad choices, don’t worry, just keep reminding ourselves of how important and powerful our choice is and go back to the choice that we know is best.  At the end of the second month the choice should be habitual and it will feel like the new “normal” in our life.

Don’t forget to congratulate ourselves.  Reward ourselves.  Bask in the power of our active choice!

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On a Roll….Don’t Stop Now!

At the end of the two months, pick another bad choice to change.  Make a plan of action.  Implement the change the following week.  Stick with the new choice for 2 months to make it a new habit.  Smile and do a little dance in celebration of how awesome we are.

Then…..you guessed it….pick another bad choice.  And use our powerful selves to change it…..and the world.  Over and over and over again.

We can do it!  One person and one choice at a time.  And we can start TODAY.

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Would love to hear about things people did on Earth Day or things that people are thinking about changing in their lives.  What choices are you making that are hard for you to change?  Do you have tips for the rest of us on how to break old habits and implement new ones?  Or inspirational stories about how you found your own power through daily choice?  

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