Break Your Own Sustainability Habits, and Then Help Employees Change
Are you searching for ways to make your office more environmentally friendly? Before declaring a moratorium on plastic bags and forcing your co-workers into a carpool schedule, take some time to look in the mirror and reflect on your own habits.
We are, quite literally and biologically, creatures of habit and repetition, so creating a new pattern of behavior is far from easy. Our brains love saving time by making some actions automatic, even if those actions are ultimately harmful to us or our planet. If you’re trying to get your colleagues on board with a few new, positive sustainability habits around the office, start first by taking stock of your own bad habits and serving as a role model for change.
Global CEO coach Sabina Nawaz stresses the importance of frequently tracking and reviewing your goals and progress when trying to form a new habit. In order to track and measure your progress, your goals must be exactly that: measurable. Trying to attack too lofty or broad of a goal can be overwhelming and may ultimately lead you to slip back into negative behaviors.
Consider choosing 3 small tasks that you can concretely determine if you’ve completed or not. For example, bringing in your reusable bottle, unplugging your work station at the end of the day and printing less than 30 pages per day. The Nature Conservatory and Huffington Post also have some other great suggestions for small ways to decrease energy use and waste in the office.
Nawaz recommends using a simple chart called the “Yes List” to quickly track whether you’ve completed the new habit each day. You can make a hard copy or keep the tracker on your mobile device to make it even more convenient. If the chart is too complicated or cumbersome, you won’t use it, so make sure the chart is quick and clean like the one below.
Having a visual representation of your progress will keep you motivated and also help you determine which habits you may need to adjust or the ones you’ve successfully completed, so you can introduce a new habit.
After you’ve successfully tracked and started to shift your own habits for a few weeks, share your chart with your colleagues as motivation for them and a proof point that change is possible!
Invite them to join you on your sustainability journey and share resources so they can pick the habit that make most sense for them.