Kicking my 30-year habit
by Franke James
Society says “It’s so hard to change.”
But curiously it wasn’t that hard for me to break a 30-year habit… (And one that I loved passionately.)
Perhaps because I viewed it as an “experiment” that I could stop at any time? Or, was it because I viewed “kicking the habit” as a game — and I chose to observe my behavior like a scientist and take notes? Or maybe the real truth was, I was just sick of the mountains of recycling it generated (and also wanted to save some cash).
Whatever, the explanation — I was ready for a change. And it was surprisingly easy and fun.
On January 21st, I stopped our two newspaper subscriptions (after 30+ years) and embarked on a “No-Newsprint Diet” where I would only read news online. This was a huge change that I could not have seen myself making one year ago.
It all started with dissatisfaction: “I’m not reading all these papers –- and I’m recycling 13 newspapers a week! There has to be a better way.”
My desire to go paperless was helped along by the many media stories about the imminent demise of the newspaper industry.
I figured it was just a matter of time before they gasped their last breath, so I’d better jump into the online news-world right now. I’m almost at the three month mark in my “No-Newsprint Diet.” How has the experiment worked?
1. Reduced waste dramatically -– our recycling bin is no longer bursting.
2. Saved money — $60/month. (But I’m sure the newspapers will start charging, and I wouldn’t mind paying… honestly!)
3. I enjoy being my own news curator. Now I read articles from all over the world, with no editorial filter. (And I read way more articles about the environment than our Canadian papers run.)
4. The news is more interactive now as I tweet the interesting articles I find online.
5. I enjoy reading the news on a laptop — and haven’t spilled coffee on it yet!
6. I finally taught myself how to use the multi-touch trackpad – a big victory! And freed myself from the tyranny of the mouse.
And I actually read (and finish) more books! I recently read SWITCH by Chip and Dan Heath. It is a terrific book if you’re looking for ways to make change happen. It can help you understand what’s blocking the change you want — and how to go about removing those roadblocks and making change happen.
But the unexpected benefit from this small victory is that it gives me confidence to tackle other bad habits that are bothering my green conscience.
I put up a “No Junk Mail” sign.
While it’s not pretty, it does work! Our home is so much cleaner without the piles of newspapers and junk mail. I can’t imagine going back. And besides, with all that money I’m saving maybe I can buy….
But then again — this inaugural version will be e-waste in no time. I think I’ll hold off until it’s absolutely essential and I can’t resist any longer. Buying tech toys is another bad habit I have to kick.
Or maybe I should buy it? Digital is the future of publishing…
And THIS will shake up the book design world…
Kicking my 30-year habit © 2010 Franke James, MFA
Writing, illustrations and photos by Franke James (except NASA earth, the graveyard photo by istockphoto, and the screen shot of the trackpad demo).