Conscious Living 101: Where Do You Start?!

Written by Abigail Driscoll, Contributor to The Good Trade

Beginning the endeavor toward a more conscious lifestyle can be intimidating, to say the least. Where do you start?! Do you throw all your clothes away and buy new ones? Do you go vegan overnight? Do you boycott anything and everything that isn’t 100% transparent in its supply chain? It’s overwhelming, and can cause paralysis; you end up doing nothing because you don’t know where to start or how to practically go about it.

For years, as I learned about issues like human trafficking, modern day slavery, and environmental instability, and how my own actions directly and indirectly contribute to these problems, I felt this paralysis heavily. These issues are huge, they are intricate, and they are seemingly unavoidable. However, I finally found the secret antidote I needed to cure the anxiety about living a more conscious lifestyle.

What Exacly is conscious livinG?

But before I let you in on the secret, what exactly is “conscious living” anyway?

In a nutshell, conscious living means being aware of how your actions affect the world around you, and continually taking steps to make your lifestyle more sustainable. It is acknowledging that what you wear, eat, buy, and do creates ripple effects, and then tailoring your life so that those ripple effects are positive ones. It means choosing to buy from clothing brands that don’t utilize sweatshops, or switching to more eco-friendly beauty products.

The secret to a conscious lifestyle

So, what’s the secret to living a conscious lifestyle?  You have to give yourself permission to start small.

Reality is, you can’t change the world overnight. Though your dollars are powerful and voice is influential, you just can’t clean up the supply chains on your own. So, give yourself the freedom to start small and take baby steps. And the first of those steps is inside your head.

Start by asking questions about yourself and the lifestyle you’re currently living. Evaluate your habits and begin to take inventory of what might need to change, what patterns you may need to break, and what shopping routines you might need to redirect.

Here are some really practical questions to ask yourself throughout your week that will help you get into the conscious mindset and beginning re-evaluating your current lifestyle and habits:

Questions of why it matters:

  • Why does it matter to me personally to re-evaluate my lifestyle and live more consciously?

  • Why do we need to expose these problems like modern day slavery and environmental waste?

  • How does these issues impact me?

  • How would the world look differently if human trafficking and modern day slavery were obliterated and we truly started prioritizing climate change?

Questions about your current habits:

  • How often have you bought something without thinking twice?

  • How many times have you bought something just because you "have nothing to wear," when in reality, your closet is overflowing?

  • Do you ever buy articles of clothing and then only wear them once or twice?

  • How susceptible are you to giving in to consumerism through marketing and advertising?

  • How wasteful are you? Do you go through a lot of plastic products? Do you recycle? Do you take long showers, run half-empty loads of laundry, or let the water run while you’re brushing your teeth?

Questions of origin:

  • Where was this product made?

  • What are the ingredients?

  • How much does this brand value transparency and how apparent is it on their website? Can you trace their products all the way through the supply chain?

Small steps are powerful

Whether you’re just starting out and learning how to go about living more consciously, or whether you’ve been living the sustainable life for years, there are questions we should be continually asking to evaluate and re-evaluate our habits, choices, and favorite products. We have to start considering where our money is going, instead of buying blindly. Getting in the right mindset is not only the first step in curating a conscious lifestyle for yourself, but it is the step to keep going back to over and over again as we grow and learn. Just remember: baby steps are powerful. If all of us together start taking small steps every day, we will truly change the world through the way we live.

Abigail Driscoll is a contributor to The Good Trade and the founder of Freestate, a resource that makes it easier for regular consumers to shop and live ethically . She lives in Cincinnati, OH and has a Bachelor's degree in Psychology with experience in mental health, sales, and freelance writing. You can say hi on social media at @abigaildriscoll.