I hope this month has been a positive experience for anyone participating in Plastic-Free July. That’s the whole point of ZooFit and the Eco-Challenge. Have fun and make conservation fitness positive for you and the world.
Conservation is Not a Competition
The most important thing to remember, and I’ve repeated this throughout the month with various anecdotes alluding to doing what we can. It’s a process. I’m not going to be at the same level as the Zero Waste Chef. For that matter, in certain aspects, I’m not going to be at the same level as any of my readers. One of my followers goes on walks every day and picks up trash on her daily walks. EVERY DAY. I don’t do that. I want to start, because she inspired me, but I haven’t done it before. She’s at a different level than me.
Conservation isn’t a competition. Saving the planet isn’t going to have a first, second, and third place winner. We do what we can.
With that being said, there are days we miss our target. Maybe you completely forgot your bags at the store and couldn’t carry all your items in your arms. Perhaps you asked the server for your water without a straw and you still got one anyways. It happens. How you handle the situation will determine whether you continue your efforts, or give up.
In fitness, if we beat ourselves up every time we make a mistake, it lessens our resolve, our motivation, and our confidence to continue. As I’ve discovered in life, the same can be said for all our efforts, including conservation.
Last month, I wrapped up a series on implementing positive reinforcement in fitness. In one of my posts, I discussed a common animal training practice called the LRS, or Least Reinforcing Scenario. That’s quite a mouthful, and to be honest, rather technical jargon. “Least whosey what’s it?”
AC/DC- You’ve Been Thunderstruck
Instead, I refer to the method of dealing with setbacks as AC/DC- Acknowledge, Compassion, and Data Collection. Acknowledge the fact you made a mistake. “I messed up.” Don’t ignore your faults. They don’t go away. Own up to them. But immediately after that, like within the same breath, show yourself some compassion. You are human. More than that, you are a human making monstrous efforts. When you are working as hard as we are to change the world, we are going to stumble here and there. If the path to the top of the mountain was easy, everyone would be doing it.
Once you acknowledge your actions and show yourself some self-love, then use the incident as data collection. If you forgot your water bottle, what can you do next time to help you remember? Are there stronger reinforcements to motivate you in making your own hummus or protein bars instead of buying plastic-wrapped items? Can you buy something from the thrift store instead of buying it new and wrapped in plastic?
Be inspired by your neighbors, friends, and family. But don’t beat yourself up if you aren’t doing everything the same as them. Do what you can, show compassion for your efforts and focus on your successes.
Live green, train positive. Plastic-Free July the ZooFit way.