Plastic-Free July Eco-Challenge, Day 11: Bright Lines

One of the greatest ideas I’ve learned from Optimize Coach program is Bright Lines. A bright line is a non-negotiable contract we create for ourselves. The key word is non-negotiable. There is no wishy-washy terms. You are 100% certain of the conditions.

Bright lines are great for moving toward a healthier lifestyle, and more impactful actions. It also, believe it or not, makes it significantly easier for your willpower. Because you don’t have to make a decision of whether or not you do something. It’s already been decided.

“I don’t eat fast food” is actually easier to commit and hold to than “I’m going to eat less fast food”. Because, what is “less”? If you are hungry, angry, or tired, and your willpower is depleted, how are you going to manage to resist the call to something you know you shouldn’t do, but you allow once in a while? When you have a bright line, you don’t have to argue with your willpower and mental ability. It’s already decided. “I don’t eat fast food.” Done.

Bright lines have helped me dramatically in my conservation fitness journey. I was drawing these contracts before I really understood what I was doing. When asked how I managed my willpower I couldn’t convey it well. I kept referring to animals and conservation efforts as my Willpower Guides, but it didn’t resonate.

It’s not using guilt or conservation to MAKE you do things which you know is better for you. You make the commitment yourself, and you just honor that contract. Bright lines.

Here are some ideas for bright lines you can try to help reduce your plastic-waste, AND help you eat healthier:

  • I do not eat fast food.
    Most fast food restaurants utilize so much single-use plastic waste, it’s alarming. From straws to utensils, to bags, and even the behind-the-scenes aspects where our food is prepared. Food is wrapped in plastic, often it’s served in plastic, and food is disposed in plastic.
    And don’t get me started on the health ramifications of eating fast food. Making this contract with yourself will get you to eat significantly healthier foods and have a massive impact on our plastic waste.
  • If I’m grocery shopping, and see an item (wrapped in plastic) which isn’t already on my list, then I don’t buy it.
    Grocery stores are not here to help you meet your fitness goals or save the planet. They are here to make a buck. So, they have tons of manipulative ways to get you to buy items you really don’t need. Sales racks, price reduction, product placement, displays, samples, advertisements. But you can bust through their bombardment of pressure by creating bright lines. Make a list, (check it twice), then go to the store. And stick to your list. If you are tempted to buy something not on your list, this added bright line will help you from succumbing to temptation.
  • I always look for alternatives for plastic before I purchase a plastic-packaged item.
    This just helps remind us to not just grab the first thing we see. Because, as I mentioned above, grocery stores are not out to help save the planet, they are in this business to make money. You have choices, but you may have to seek out the alternatives to find them. Bagged salad mixes are super convenient, but they are more expensive and don’t make as many salads as the ingredients bought separately. You also save on plastic waste.
  • I only drink water from my reusable water bottle. I never buy bottled water.
    We discussed this a few days ago. Water bottles. Use them. Love them.

There are many more bright lines you can apply to Plastic-Free July, but I want to start somewhat small. Remember to do what you can. And make a better impact on your health and the planet.

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