Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Lifestyle Reboot - January: Fast Fashion

The time has come, my friends, to announce my first challenge of the year! For those of you who read my post yesterday, I apologize for keeping you in suspense all day. I hope you were still able to sleep last night. For those that haven't and would like to know what challenges I'm talking about, please check out yesterday's post. 

My challenge for this month was inspired by a trip to Target on Sunday. All I needed was toothpaste and yet, just moments after entering the store, I found myself browsing the women's clearance section. How did that even happen!? How does it happen every. single. time.? I managed to walk away empty handed (this time), but it got me thinking about my clothing-buying habits. 

About a year ago, I went on a bender of getting rid of stuff from all over my house, particularly my closet. It's been amazing. I had no idea how much guilt I felt every time I tried to get dressed until I cleaned out all of the pieces that I just wasn't wearing. (Seriously, please ask me about this. I can't even tell you how great getting rid of stuff has been. I had no idea when I started how much I would like it. Maybe I'll have to write about that sometime...)

Letting go of so much stuff has made me a lot more mindful about the new things that I'm bringing home. I have gotten a lot better over the past year about only buying pieces that I really like and am certain will be very functional in my life, rather than buying things that are "good enough" just because they are super cheap. 

However, I think I can do better to make my clothing-buying habits even more sustainable, so this month I am giving up fast fashion. For me, that means buying only clothing and accessories that are secondhand, handmade or from a company with socially and environmentally sustainable practices. Even though I am working to reduce the amount of personal clothing waste I create by not buying things that I am just going to turn around and get rid of, there is a lot of waste being created further up the supply chain. Fast fashion means that items are made quickly and cheaply and are meant to be out of style and discarded in a year. Additionally, from what I understand, a lot of material gets wasted in the process. (We could also talk about factory working conditions, but this isn't meant to be a soapbox.) I'd like to avoid as many of these things as I can. 

To be perfectly honest, I don't actually think this is going to be a very difficult challenge for me. I have always been a big fan of the thrift store and I don't actually buy clothing that often. I could probably just go a whole month without buying any. My goal here is more about changing mental habits. I want to make the Target racks off-limits and retrain my brain to think of other avenues for buying clothing. I want to make fast fashion items a last resort and get myself used to shopping differently. 

This is one challenge that I am intending to carry on for more than a month mostly because I don't think a month will be long enough for me to really feel it and actually make those changes. Don't worry though, I'll still check in at the end of January and take on another challenge for February. I'm looking forward to sharing what I learn (and buy)!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Lifestyle Reboot 2016

I don't know if you know this, but we just started a brand new year. Now, I'm not generally one for new year's resolutions. I don't feel a strong need to wait for the new year to make life changes. I tend to just make changes whenever I think to make them. Well, actually, I usually think of something I would like to change and then actually start making that change out of nowhere on like a random Tuesday three weeks later.

However, as I was doing some shopping yesterday I got to thinking about some of the lifestyle habits I have been trending toward over the past couple years. And since my pondering happened to coincide with the time of year when everyone is talking about resolutions and changes and things, an idea was born. And now I'm making new year's resolutions.

Since moving back to the States I've gotten more and more interested in things like eating real food and thinking about my waste footprint and being more mindful about the products I'm buying and how I'm spending money in general. You know, hippie shit. I have become much more mindful about all of these aspects of my life and have made some incremental changes that all trend toward a more sustainable, healthier lifestyle. But I haven't really taken the plunge to fully commit to most of them. And thus, my resolutions.

My plan for this year is to set a challenge for myself each month that requires me to dive head first into a lifestyle change. I'm thinking of things like avoiding fast fashion, trying to eat only local food, shopping only at local businesses, going zero waste, setting aside a daily tech free hour, doing random acts of kindness, getting outside for a bit every day, switching to all natural beauty products...

I've started a list of possible challenges but I'm not setting a schedule for myself up front. I know that this list will grow and evolve as I move through the year and I don't want it to feel too rigid. I also want to have the flexibility to choose challenges that seem manageable at the time given all the other things going on in my life.

I don't expect all of them to become permanent lifestyle changes. I am hoping that some of them do stick even after their month is up, but my real goals are to break some old habits (like hitting the women's clearance rack every time I walk into Target), discover some new resources and create some new habits. I think that it's really important to have balance in pretty much everything and I think that some of the challenges will seem kind of extreme in relation to current social norms. My hope is that, by committing to the extreme for a bit, I will be able to come back to a place that feels manageable and balanced but much more aligned with my ideals. And, hopefully, I'll learn some cool stuff along the way.

A secondary goal is to blog about each challenge as I go so that I can share what I learn with anyone who is interested. I will do my very best to continue to actualize that intention throughout the entire year (though I'm not making any guarantees). Please check back each month to see what I'm doing and how it's going! Even better, join me in my challenge for the month!

Lastly, I am totally open to suggestions on challenges to make life more sustainable and mindful, so if you have any ideas, please share!