This is a strategy that can be implemented to help numerous aspirations – diets, exercise plans, quitting smoking, zerowaste and other resolutions. I read about it first in a brilliant book I highly recommend called The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg.
When you are organized and well rested, transitioning to plastic-free or zerowaste is not so bad. When you spent the previous evening drinking wine and gossiping with an old friend, have no food left in the fridge for lunch or breakfast, work to go to, a PhD chapter to finish and an editor’s meeting however (sigh of exhaustion), there is no energy left for aspirations and the best version of yourself feels like it is just going to have to be put on hold for the day.
This, of all times, is when a previously made contingency plan is important.
I call it the if…then...rather than plan.
To give today’s example. I’m trying to go plastic-free so:
1) If I have no homemade granola left in my glass jar and no coffee,
then I will grab breakfast in the college cafe where there are real ceramic plates and metal cutlery and mugs for coffee,
rather than getting a throwaway cup and a plastic or foil wrapped breakfast.
2) If I am too old to be drinking wine on a school night and feel terrible in the morning but need to finish a chapter,
then I will buy my liquid sugar fix in a metal can, an unwrapped sweet snack from the bakery and have my metal canister of water filled up to rehydrate,
rather than plastic wrapped fixes and bottles.
I know, I know, example 2 thinks of the environment and not my health but it is important to prioritize the most urgent task when willpower is low and that, sadly, has to be my PhD chapter.
Know that when you are tired you cannot also be superwoman/man.
Know your bad habits in the worst of situations.
Make an if..then..rather than plan to optimize on a bad day rather than aiming unrealistically to always be perfect.
You should be kind to yourself, but hop back on the wagon without excuses the next day.