Adopting a conscious lifestyle can be tough. It requires planning, informed decisions and effort. It means taking responsibility for how our personal lives contribute to global dilemmas. Beyond this, it depends on both abstract thinking and empathy to root for animals or workers living across the globe.
Nevertheless, the daunting social and environmental issues we face require collective action to overcome them. That’s why it can be frustrating if you’re the only one in your friend group eating a plant-based diet or attempting a zero-waste lifestyle.
If you want to get more of your friends to update their lifestyles, here are some strategies to try.
1. Engage in meaningful conversations
The first step to having an influence on anyone is to understand your audience. You should try to get a sense of where they’re at, what they believe in and why they believe that. Some people may not have put much thought into the things that matter to you, so consider this an opportunity to get to know your friends better.
On the flipside of this, try to be open and unassuming about your own views. Ask them what they think. Share how your own lifestyle has evolved over time including embarrassing, but endearing memories along the way. Remember that no one’s perfect.
2. Educate your friends about the outcomes of their actions
It’s quite possible that your friends don’t know the impacts of their actions. Perhaps they’d change after becoming more aware.
Giving others information, offering evidence of the consequences of our behaviors and politely allowing these issues to sink in takes patience. However, if you do so respectfully and persistently, your friends will likely make better decisions over time.
3. Be a role model
You don’t always have to directly influence others to win them over. Becoming an outspoken leader and positive role model for your lifestyle choices will naturally influence others to follow you. You can do this by hosting events, participating in events and joining public dialogues online. Remember to keep your lifestyle visible and transparent for others to follow.
4. Cater to their interests
Let’s face it. Not everyone likes action movies. Not everyone likes basketball. Not everyone likes thinking about intersectional eco-feminism, either. We all have different tastes. If you want your lifestyle choices to resonate with your friends, find a way in through their interests. Perhaps they like cooking. Then challenge them to a vegan bake-off. Or maybe they like fitness. Ask them if they ever commute to work by bike.
5. Invite them to take action with you
Don’t forget to make it fun. The point is to allow them to change their habits through easy means. By inviting them to do something together, you can break the action down into simple, easy-to-remember steps that you can explain along the way.
For instance, if you want to write a letter to your congress representative, ask them to write one too. Give the address, the text you wrote and a deadline. Follow-up and praise them when they go through with it.
6. Celebrate all wins, no matter how small
Let’s say your friend just purchased a reusable water bottle. This action deserves a YASSSSS!!! Don’t let it go without oodles of positive praise. Make sure they own the fabulousness of their action.
Remember that if your friend gets a big endorphin boost every time they achieve progress, it will become 100% easier to continue making more positive lifestyle choices.
7. Develop a growth mindset
A growth mindset means that you understand change occurs through persistence and effort, it falls on a spectrum and it gains momentum over time. Recognize that your friends are undergoing a process of change. They may only be at the start of the journey, but that doesn’t mean they can’t grow.
8. Ask your friends to make a commitment
But be ready to negotiate. While you may want them to shift to a vegan diet, they may only be willing to commit to meatless Mondays. That’s still progress, no?
9. Debunk apathy Every. Single. Time.
One of the biggest barriers to change is the belief that nothing can or will change for the better. The soul-crushing sense that our lives and actions have no impact is not only defeatist, it’s nonsense. Remind your friends that any effort no matter how small makes a bigger impact than none at all.