Sustainability takes an important place in my life and I believe that even a smallest action can make a difference. Therefore, I wanted to change one of my habits which I knew would result with a positive effect on the environment. The habit in question was my grocery shopping.

Changing consumptions habits isn’t easy. So, I decided to apply one of the methodologies that I use at work to myself.

To make a change stick requires at least the following aspects: a clear scope and goal, the right conditions, a solid reason to change, quick wins and a follow up.

Having a clear and realistic goal setting was very important. In my case my goal was buying 95% of local food and allowing 5% for non-local. By local I mean everything produced in Belgium.

I also had to secure that I had the right preconditions to make the change. I needed to know the places where I could buy local, the opening hours, the difference between local and organic, to know what the local products were according to the season, the budget, shopping bags and recipes: when you know that you will eat the same vegetable for 3-4 months a recipe book is very handy…

This might sound logical for some but for me having those elements in place allowed me to step in to the change and stop finding excuses for not doing it.

The willpower to change means that you have a solid reason to change. This reason touches your basic needs as an individual (security, freedom, belonging, meaning). For me it was mostly the need of a meaning: I was doing this to contribute to the local economy and to have a positive impact on the planet. You can have one reason or many but if the reasons don’t touch you, the change will take more time and might not stick.

Another thing to consider was the routine: My trigger was to go to the market every Saturday after breakfast. If I could not make it, then I got a plan B which was to go to the grocery store which sold local food. My plan B helped me to avoid going to a normal supermarket where it was more difficult to find local products.

To make the habit stick you’ll need reinforcements. In my case it was my partner’s support, the quality of the food, the reduction of food and plastic waste and the fulfilment of my goal.

Was it easy? Not always but then I reminded myself why I was doing this and that gave me energy to carry on and do even more.

So as final words I would like to say that change methods do matter and applying them is key to make a change stick.

Sagdiana Fürstenberg