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Sustainablish

  • 6 min read

It’s the last few days of 2022, and you know what that means… A fresh start is just around the corner. New year, new me – after all, who would turn down an opportunity to ditch those bad habits and finally become that dreamy, wonderful version of themselves they know, deep down, they could be? 

But resolutions are tricky things. Usually, it goes something like this: In a flurry of inspiration, you tell yourself you’ll change everything – you’ll eat better, go to the gym three times a week, cut out social media, and of course, this year, you’ll actually start living zero waste. For real, this time – no more excuses.

And the vision is crystal clear. For that dreamy, ideal version of you, doing everything right is effortless – there are no bad habits or weak moments. Just leaping out of bed each morning, eager to take on another brilliant day.

Breaking and forming habits take both energy and work, even when we’re moving toward things that make us feel good.

But by the time life starts back up after the holidays, things start to look a little different. You still have a full-time job, after all – not to mention other responsibilities. And frankly, old habits die hard. 

And after a few weeks of trying to do everything, you’re likely burned out. Where on earth did you think you’d find the time to turn your entire life upside down, when you can barely catch enough ZZZ’s at night? Ha! No, not right now. Maybe come summer… 

It’s a very human thing to do – because as much as we wish it wasn’t, change is hard. Breaking and forming habits take both energy and work, even when we’re moving toward things that make us feel good.

Of course, this doesn’t mean we can’t change – it’s been proven over and over again that we can. But first, we have to tweak our expectations of what change really looks like. Lasting change doesn’t happen overnight, but instead with small, conscious efforts over time.

Lochtree’s Word of the Year for 2023

In recent years, instead of resolutions, many people have begun picking a word to guide their thinking and habits in the new year – something that resonates with the kind of changes they want to make, and what they’d like to do more of. 

Picking a word of the year can feel less rigid than a resolution. It’s not a promise or something you hold yourself to, but rather a feeling that you work to bring into your life – an intention, if you will. And as the year moves along, it’s something you can return to, that will steer you back to that feeling or mindset you wanted more of in your life.

Here at Lochtree, we’re all about ease and slow, steady progress – after all, doing good should feel good. So today, on one of the last days of 2022, we’d like to share our chosen word for the new year. It’s a concept that’s been on our mind lately, and that can hopefully also help you be more gentle and forgiving with yourself as you set your intentions for 2023.

The word is… Sustainablish.

Ditch Perfection: Something Is Better Than Nothing

Now, raise your hand if this sounds familiar:

You’ve been looking for a good (shampoo, lunch box, laundry detergent, item, thing) for ages, and finally – hallelujah! – you found one just like what you had in mind. But before you click it home… Is it organic? Plastic-free, C02 neutral, zero waste, biodegradable, vegan, 100% recycled and recyclable packaging, regenerative, non-toxic, Fair Trade…?

The list goes on.

Yeah – there’s no end to the ways we measure the impact of a product today. And it’s great that we have so many ways to check our environmental footprints – it encourages transparency, which is soimportant when it comes to keeping companies accountable. Besides, it can help us keep track of our own impact so we can make better choices.

The overwhelm and pressure of living up to an impossible standard can push us into an all-or-nothing mindset.

But it can also create an unhealthy ideal. Suddenly, every choice you make has to be checked against an almost impossible standard – because most products in today’s world aren’t all of these things, even if they do check a few of the boxes.

And the overwhelm and pressure of living up to this standard can push us into an all-or-nothing mindset. If we can’t do the sustainability thing full-out, we might as well not do it at all. At least then, we won’t feel like we’re constantly failing.

But the word sustainable doesn’t just apply to production chains and resources. Your eco-conscious lifestyle also has to be sustainable for you. And if you’re getting crushed under the pressure of doing everything right all the time, well, that’s just not sustainable long term. And chances are it won’t last.

But what if there’s another way to think about this… one that allows you to make good choices and actually feel good about them, even if they aren’t perfect?

Enter: Sustainablish.

What Does Sustainablish Mean?

Sustainablish is exactly what it sounds like – sustainable, ish. We’re not looking for perfection, but instead an allowing approach to sustainability, where we feel good about all the things we do instead of stress over the ways we fall short. Because just like with all those failed new year's resolutions, small efforts over time are much more impactful than a few weeks of drastic changes.

The word sustainable doesn’t just apply to production chains and resources. Your eco-conscious lifestyle also has to be sustainable for you.

So, instead of looking for perfect, flawless options, you’re looking for better choices – a start, if you will. And you’re actually okay with it not being a spotless choice. Because instead of noticing all the ways a product doesn’t hold up, you focus on the good it’s trying to do, and the positive impact of choosing this over something else.

At Lochtree, we’re firm believers in doing the best we can, and not feeling bad if we’re not quite where we’d like to be yet. Transitioning into an eco-friendly lifestyle is a process, and it’s the trying that counts – and the not giving up. Over time, small efforts really can make a huge impact, especially when so many of us come together.

So in 2023, we’re embracing sustainablish and making an effort not to fault ourselves when we feel like we could have done better. Something is better than nothing, always – and shame and guilt helps no one.

How Can You Bring Sustainablish Into the New Year?

So, how can you bring sustainablish into your own life in 2023? 

Well, sustainablish is really a mindset – a way of approaching sustainability. So if, like us, you’re more about setting an intention for the year than a measurable resolution, then feel free to join us and use sustainablish as your word for the year.

Allow sustainablish to be your guiding star, a mindset to return to and keep in mind when you feel yourself starting to inch back toward perfection and all-or-nothing standards. 

If you keep to your habits half of the time, that’s better than giving them up – and you should pat yourself on the back, rather than tear yourself down. You can even place a reminder of the word somewhere you’ll often see it, like your fridge or your phone background, to work it into your subconscious mind.

But if you’re someone who likes setting measurable goals and resolutions, then by all means – keep the concept of sustainablish in mind while you do. How can you phrase your resolution in a more allowing, less rigid way? Perhaps a smaller goal would be easier to stick to – or perhaps what you need is a plan for how to get back on track, or adapt, if your plans start to slide?

And check out this recent post all about how to set goals in a sustainable way, by working with your mind instead of against it. It’s based on two of the best goal setting books out there, and jam-packed with tips to help you set goals you can actually reach. It’s a great guide and you don’t want to miss it!

And finally, if you’re looking for small but impactful changes – habits you can set up and work on in just a few minutes here and there – then don’t miss this post all about easy-to-stick-to new year’s resolutions with impact for the planet. Small changes can take you far, and are a great way to introduce sustainablish in your life for the new year. 

And that’s all for this post – and this year. What were your biggest eco-wins of 2022, and what are you hoping to continue with in 2023? We’d love to hear about your eco-journey and what you think of the sustainablish mindset, so share your thoughts with us below!

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Nathalie Brundell

Nathalie Brundell is a writer and copywriter with her heart set on a greener future. She splits her time between Stockholm and London, where she studies Creative Writing and the art of gracelessly losing at board games. In her free time, she loves to discover new places and cook pasta to her heart’s content.

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