Creating new habits

We’re not going to create a more sustainable civilisation, unless we change our habits. And changing habits is not the easiest thing to do.

Here then, some links and thoughts from those who consider these matters. A New York Times article entitled Can You Become A Creature of New Habits discusses a Japanese technique…

… called kaizen, which calls for tiny, continuous improvements.
“Whenever we initiate change, even a positive one, we activate fear in our emotional brain,” Ms. Ryan notes in her book. “If the fear is big enough, the fight-or-flight response will go off and we’ll run from what we’re trying to do. The small steps in kaizen don’t set off fight or flight, but rather keep us in the thinking brain, where we have access to our creativity and playfulness.”

Kaizen seems interesting to me because of the scorn that that, for example, more energetic environmentalists often direct at some of the more trivial lifestyle changes recommended in popular articles on ‘How to go green’, which may (for example) talk about unplugging cellphone chargers but neglect getting a smaller car, or just consuming less. Perhaps there is indeed a place for these seemingly trivial adjustments in a bigger continuum of change.

Personally, I find the deluge of news about climate change and other planetary disasters, to which I expose myself, often overwhelming and depressing. One of my antidotes to this despair is keeping a list of websites that make me happy, and visiting them quite often. And one of those sites is Zen Habits.

Which covers some very useful ideas about habits, and how to change them:

How to Establish New Habits the No-Sweat Way
13 Things to Avoid When Changing Habits


About David

I am an environmental writer, journalist and speaker living in Cape Town, South Africa.
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