In order to change our own, and other people’s, relationship with the environment, we need to think about change itself. People make changes in stages – and those stages make up a wheel. We are all somewhere on the wheel right now, in our readiness for change, and we move in and out of these stages all the time.
Stage 1 – Precontemplation
You don’t see a reason to make a change, there is nothing wrong with the way things are. Sometimes people [ not you ] call this denial.
This is about our beliefs and values. This is where we think things like:
Global warming doesn’t exist.
It’s kind of pleasant here believing that the way things are is the way they should be. Or if it’s not pleasant, it feels better to blame other people and systems for the way things are than it does to look yourself in the mirror and realize that you are capable of more than you are doing.
Stage 2 – Contemplation
Maybe something needs to change. In Stage 2 we think a little more judgmentally about our current situation:
I don’t feel quite right with all the garbage coming out of my home.
Sweet baby Jesus I go through a lot of coffee cups.
This stage is usually a bit less pleasant. But it’s ok – you’re gonna come out the other side alright.
We got you.
Stage 3 – Preparation
This is when you gear up and get ready.
Carb load. Meditate.
Cozy up with the Google machine for some research.
Buy some coconut oil and Birkenstocks.
Whatever you do. This stage is both exciting and just a wee bit painful as you prepare to let go of old habits and try something new.
Stage 4 – Action
You are so ready for this. So you invite your friends to visit your tiny home for some craft brew and local organic vegetarian fare. You’ve knitted the carpet from free range alpalca wool and everyone parks their bicycles against your raised square foot garden, coming inside to cuddle around your indoor wood stove. The solar lights and soy candles set the mood. You’re here! Welcome.
Action doesn’t need to mean you changed everything. All at once. But you probably feel pretty hyped about the changes you have comitted to.
Stage 5 – Maintenance
Maybe action was smooth for you. Or maybe it was terrible. Maybe you took on a bit much, and you need to balance out.
But you will. Balance out. And it will be awesome.
21 days to break old habits and adopt new ones. Your new ways will become so natural you don’t have to think about making change anymore. You’re there. You’ve changed.
Stage 6 – Relapse
The greatest knowledge with any change is that you’ll fail. And it will be ok. Failure is a happening, not you. You’re not it.
So you forgot your reusable grocery bags at home.
Or you’re running too late to bike – you’ll have to take the car.
We’re in this for the long term baby. You’re going to make mistakes. But when you’re done mistaking, get back in the game. At whatever stage you’re at. You be you. Let’s be awesome.