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The Lifehack.org Guide to Green Living: 20 Green Ideas from Our Archives

The Lifehack.org Guide to Green Living: 20 Green Ideas from Our Archives
The Lifehack.org Guide to Green Living

This month’s theme at Lifehack.org is all things Green, but Green issues have been on Lifehack’s radar for a long time. Part of working efficiently and being productive is minimizing wastefulness, whether of our labor or our resources, and Lifehack.org is all about working efficiently. Here, then, are some of the best posts from our archives on how to reduce your environmental impact — while furthering your own goals and bettering your own life.

Consume less

You the Consumer: Written for Blog ACtion Day 2007, this post looks at the history of consumption in the West and the ways it has come to provide meaning (and in some cases, replace it) in our lives. (Dustin M. Wax)

How to Avoid Being Enslaved by Consumerism: If money can’t buy happiness, why do we spend so much energy chasing after it? More importantly, how can we stop?! (Scott H. Young)

Leaving the McMansion for the Small Life: Big homes demand big resources! Think about what your actual needs are, once you strip away the need to keep up with the Joneses with ever-bigger houses to show off and hold your ever-bigger collection of useless junk. (Mike St. Pierre)

Managing your magazine subscriptions: Magazine subscriptions seem to pile up, long after we’ve stopped reading the magazines. Take a few minutes to pare your subscriptions down to the ones you actually get value from. (Leon Ho)

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50 Frugal Blogs: Living frugally is a great way to save both resources and money; this post links to a list of 50 blogs (!) with a regular stream of tips on doing more living with less money. (Craig Childs)

11 Ways to Use Less to Make 2008 Your Best Year Ever: Living with less doesn’t mean living less. Here’s 11 ways to maximize your life while minimizing what you use. (Scott H. Young)

The Cost of Convenience: Getting it quick and easy might be great in the short-term, but favoring value means you’ll get more use out of the things you buy and do — and that’s better for you and the environment. (Rosa Say)

Go paperless

How to Go Paperless: Bury the Paper Before it Buries You: Tips and strategies for creating a paperless "mindset" (Peter Paul Roosen and Tatsuya Nakagawa)

Recycle

10 Ways to Recycle that Old Computer: With the Next Big Thing in the computer world always just around the corner, old gear piles up quick. Figure out what to do with it with these 10 tips. (Craig Childs)

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10 uses for plastic grocery bags: Put all those plastic bags around you to work with these suggestions. (Kyle Pott)

A Basic Guide to Thrift Store Shopping: One person’s waste may well be your treasure. Shopping at thrift stores is cheap and good for the environment, keeping perfectly usable goods out of landfills and incinerators. (Dustin M. Wax)

Get creative

How to Promote Resourcefulness in Yourself and Others: Be like MacGyver and figure out creative ways to reuse the waste that accumulates around you. (Lorie Marrero)

254 Uses for Vinegar: What is it about vinegar that makes it so useful? You can clean windows with it, sparkle up your dishes with it, help a cough with it — and even put it on salads! (Craig Childs)

Save $988/year by bringing your lunch: Bringing your own lunch to work saves money, but it can also saves resources. Restaurants — especially fast food joints with their paper and styrofoam packaging, plastic cutlery (often wrapped in plastic), and throw-it-out mentality — use a tremendous amount of resources to provide your meal. Save eating out for special occasions. (Kyle Pott)

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Blog Action Day Revisited: Blog Action Day was itself a creative response to environmental degradation — get thousands of bloggers talking up the issues to their readers. Here, the best posts from around the web are collected for easy reference. (Craig Childs)

The 10 Greatest Tools of All Time: Tips on using (and reusing) the tools you have — from WD-40 to empty margarine tubs — for all manner of household tasks. Why buy more stuff if the stuff you have is perfectly suited to the task at hand? (Reg Adkins; this post is a round-up of Reg’s 10-part series)

Eco-Friendly Bedroom: A Lifehack.org Howto Wiki entry on creating a bedroom that puts the environment and your comfort on equal footing.

Other sources

Lifehack.org writers have mentioned a few outside services to help you find more information on living Green. Here are a few:

Playgreen: Playgreen is a green living wiki, with community-contributed information for environmentally conscious lives.

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Green Maven: Kyle Pott recommended Greener, a green search engine, last year. Greener seems to be down now; Green Maven offers the same service, helping websurfers to find information, products, and services for a greener life.

25 cheap ways to keep your home cooler: With summer on its way and energy costs rising steadily, here are some tips to keep your air conditioning usage to an absolute minimum. That means less energy, and lower electricity bills, and there’s nothing wrong with either!

Let us know your own Green tips in the comments — or better yet, drop a link to posts about Green living on your own blog!

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Last Updated on January 2, 2019

7 Steps For Making a New Year’s Resolution and Keeping It

7 Steps For Making a New Year’s Resolution and Keeping It

Are you keen to reinvent yourself this year? Or at least use the new year as a long overdue excuse to get rid of bad habits or pick up new ones?

Yes, it’s that time of year again. The time of year when we feel as if we have to turn over a new leaf. The time when we misguidedly imagine that the arrival of a new year will magically provide the catalyst, motivation and persistence we need to reinvent ourselves.

Traditionally, New Year’s Day is styled as the ideal time to kick start a new phase in your life and the time when you must make your all important new year’s resolution. Unfortunately, the beginning of the year is also one of the worst times to make a major change in your habits because it’s often a relatively stressful time, right in the middle of the party and vacation season.

Don’t set yourself up for failure this year by vowing to make huge changes that will be hard to keep. Instead follow these seven steps for successfully making a new year’s resolution you can stick to for good.

1. Just pick one thing

If you want to change your life or your lifestyle don’t try to change the whole thing at once. It won’t work. Instead pick one area of your life to change to begin with.

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Make it something concrete so you know exactly what change you’re planning to make. If you’re successful with the first change you can go ahead and make another change after a month or so. By making small changes one after the other, you still have the chance to be a whole new you at the end of the year and it’s a much more realistic way of doing it.

Don’t pick a New Year’s resolution that’s bound to fail either, like running a marathon if you’re 40lbs overweight and get out of breath walking upstairs. If that’s the case resolve to walk every day. When you’ve got that habit down pat you can graduate to running in short bursts, constant running by March or April and a marathon at the end of the year. What’s the one habit you most want to change?

2. Plan ahead

To ensure success you need to research the change you’re making and plan ahead so you have the resources available when you need them. Here are a few things you should do to prepare and get all the systems in place ready to make your change.

Read up on it – Go to the library and get books on the subject. Whether it’s quitting smoking, taking up running or yoga or becoming vegan there are books to help you prepare for it. Or use the Internet. If you do enough research you should even be looking forward to making the change.

Plan for success – Get everything ready so things will run smoothly. If you’re taking up running make sure you have the trainers, clothes, hat, glasses, ipod loaded with energetic sounds at the ready. Then there can be no excuses.

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3. Anticipate problems

There will be problems so make a list of what they’ll be. If you think about it, you’ll be able to anticipate problems at certain times of the day, with specific people or in special situations. Once you’ve identified the times that will probably be hard work out ways to cope with them when they inevitably crop up.

4. Pick a start date

You don’t have to make these changes on New Year’s Day. That’s the conventional wisdom, but if you truly want to make changes then pick a day when you know you’ll be well-rested, enthusiastic and surrounded by positive people. I’ll be waiting until my kids go back to school in February.

Sometimes picking a date doesn’t work. It’s better to wait until your whole mind and body are fully ready to take on the challenge. You’ll know when it is when the time comes.

5. Go for it

On the big day go for it 100%. Make a commitment and write it down on a card. You just need one short phrase you can carry in your wallet. Or keep it in your car, by your bed and on your bathroom mirror too for an extra dose of positive reinforcement.

Your commitment card will say something like:

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  • I enjoy a clean, smoke-free life.
  • I stay calm and in control even under times of stress.
  • I’m committed to learning how to run my own business.
  • I meditate daily.

6. Accept failure

If you do fail and sneak a cigarette, miss a walk or shout at the kids one morning don’t hate yourself for it. Make a note of the triggers that caused this set back and vow to learn a lesson from them.

If you know that alcohol makes you crave cigarettes and oversleep the next day cut back on it. If you know the morning rush before school makes you shout then get up earlier or prepare things the night before to make it easier on you.

Perseverance is the key to success. Try again, keep trying and you will succeed.

7. Plan rewards

Small rewards are great encouragement to keep you going during the hardest first days. After that you can probably reward yourself once a week with a magazine, a long-distance call to a supportive friend, a siesta, a trip to the movies or whatever makes you tick.

Later you can change the rewards to monthly and then at the end of the year you can pick an anniversary reward. Something that you’ll look forward to. You deserve it and you’ll have earned it.

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Whatever your plans and goals are for this year, I’d do wish you luck with them but remember, it’s your life and you make your own luck.

Decide what you want to do this year, plan how to get it and go for it. I’ll definitely be cheering you on.

Are you planning to make a New Year’s resolution? What is it and is it something you’ve tried to do before or something new?

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