I challenged myself to live sustainably for 1 month. Here’s how it went, what I did, and more information on the free lifestyle changes. If blogs aren’t your thing, I have this article available as a video. Click here to watch it on Instagram or TikTok. A bit of background, I try to live sustainably but there were certain aspects I noticed that I could do a better job at committing to, which is what this blog post shares.

How I Challenged Myself To Live Sustainably

Like many people at the end of the year, I sat down to plan another year of my life. I mentioned in this post that I decided to turn the resolutions approach, into goals as a way to help me reach the milestones I want to and work towards building a life that reflects how I want it to look, feel, and be—and live sustainably. I thought what better time of the year to challenge myself than at the beginning?

Here’s What I Did…

I leaned into imperfection. This happened when I decided to take away the aspect of needing to nail down a routine that would support me throughout the entire year. Instead, I allowed myself room for discovery. Through this, I was able to learn more about what aspects of sustainability are easier for me and which are harder.

Why I pushed myself to see how else I could live sustainably

The challenge outlined below was an informal way for me to see that there were nine things I could do either every day or every month without needing. to do a bunch of research, spend money, or get approval from anyone. The things listed below were things that didn’t impact what I would normally do and helped me be aware of each step I take during my day to prioritize my community and the planet.

Often, we think (or at least I can fall into that cycle) that in order to live sustainably, our lives need to look different before we start. But, we can use what we already have, where we are, and with the resources available.


1. Walked To A Local Coffee Shop

I love coffee—which, I bet is no surprise if you’ve followed me for a while on the blog or social media. Instead of driving, I prioritized supporting a local small business that was within a comfortable walking distance for winter, from my house.


2. Used More Washable Dishes/Containers

When I went out for coffee, I either brought a to-go cup with me or asked to have a mug instead of a disposable cup. Since the pandemic, many places have not brought back washable mugs and other serving wear. I tried to develop a better routine this month where I had a mug washed and ready to go on the counter, so I could see it and remember to bring it with me when I left for eh coffee shop.

Bonus: Many places offer a discount for customers who bring in their own reusable cups/mugs!


3. Walked To Meetings

One way that helped me reach my goal of walking to get coffee was by coordinating in-person meetings or get-togethers with friends at the local coffee shop I could walk to. I wasn’t able to schedule all of my in-person meetings at a walkable place, but 90% of them were. I did however carpool to the meetings I wasn’t able to walk to, which is another great way to reduce my personal environmental impact!


4. Actually Used The Reusable Bags I Have

If you’re anything like me, you have at least one designated spot where your reusable bags are stored—but, despite the good intentions, forget to bring them with you when shopping. This month I left a few reusable bags on my coat tree (which is next to my front door) and in the pantry (also close to the front door) as a way to try and get into a better habit and form a routine. of bringing them with me when I leave the house—especially to shop for groceries or other items.

I’m happy to report that I’ve seemed to get into a groove! In fact, I stepped out of the house two or three times—not making it farther than the driveway—and turned around to go back inside because I remembered I didn’t have my bags. That’s a major improvement from being in line at the grocery store and realizing I left them at home.

5. Utilized My Local Library

I started a book club and for our first meeting, we decided to read a book that I didn’t own. I borrowed the title we chose from the library instead of buying a copy brand new from the store or shopping from Amazon. This was also supportive of my budget because I didn’t have any extra money to spend on a new book purchase. Even though it could be justified as “only $30”, there are other things I’d rather invest and save that amount of money for—which, I did.

Did you know libraries offer free audiobooks and e-books? The best part is they’re accessible on most devices!


6. Minimized Buying Single-Cups of Coffee

As a way to cut back on my spending and also minimize as many single-use cups of coffee as possible (in instances where reusable mugs aren’t accepted or in-shop mugs aren’t provided), I’ve been making coffee at home (except for the few days I have meetings/plans with others at coffee shops) from buying a bag of beans. Having a bag at home means I can use my own mugs and try to source other materials in the process that are as sustainable as possible.


7. Reviewed My Town’s Recycling Regulations

I made time to check my town’s website to learn about the updated recycling regulations and to double-check that I was recycling everything that I should or could be. During that quick read of the website (seriously, it took less than 5 minutes), I realized I should be recycling some things I have normally thrown away. Now, I wash that container out and pop it in the bin.


8. Essential Purchases Only

I wasn’t purchasing anything outside of my budget. This is aside from the essentials; groceries, pet food, coffee, and regular bills/subscriptions needed for school or work. I didn’t shop for clothes or go shopping because I wanted to. I stuck to my budget and also said no to a few of the things that caught my eye. Realistically, I had no space to buy new things. Plus, I didn’t want to buy anything unless I could say it was made ethically and sustainably.


9. Neighborhood Trash Clean Up

Aside from being sick of the mess around my neighborhood, I realized that I was frustrated that no one had picked it up. Well, the realization hit me…no one had picked it up, and that included me. How was I any different than my neighbors and community? I wasn’t. But, I was fortunate to have the time available and spent about an hour walking around the block picking up pieces of liter.

@macailab13 At the beginning of the month, I challenged myself to see how I could live more #sustainably. Here’s what I did & how it went! #sustainableliving ♬ original sound – Macaila Britton

I hope this post encourages you to explore the ways you could live sustainably. Be sure to subscribe to the blog and follow me on social media for more! I’m @macailab13 on all platforms.

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