Thursday, January 08, 2009

Creating change


Change is palpable in the air at the moment. Many of you will face changes in employment, shopping habits and our environment. What we have taken for granted as ' always there' is about to disappear. What I mean by that is that our perception of ' normal' is going to be challenged.

The news continues to contain either companies going into administration or taking drastic cutting back procedures which will involve a loss of facilities, a loss of jobs and a loss of products available to purchase. The banks, then luxury goods ( such as Wedgwood), now Mark and Spencers are cutting out small food stores and I anticipate seeing pressure on many retailers that provide luxury items we took as being the ' norm'.

At the same time, the value of sterling has been dropping which means that our purchasing power abroad is reduced. This can be seen in a great price increase in produce that is imported from Europe such as flowers, fruit and vegetables. As buyer for a small village shop that means that some of the products that people use ( i.e. olive oil), may start to creep up in price. The difficulty I foresee for many shoppers is that they will need to start shopping more locally for their resources and this may mean a change in eating habits too. This creates unknown territory for shoppers and retailers alike and uncertain times as well as opportunities.

Many of us are used to go to the supermarket with the idea that tonight we fancy Italian, pasta with fresh tomatoe sauce, basil and a lovely bottle of wine. The local produce on offer at the moment is rather duller : potatoes, leeks, beetroot, brussels sprouts, swedes and turnips and on the meat section duck, venison etc. Fish is limited to turbot, brill and oysters. Not Italian then as the norm today. On the menu could be roasted roots with some venison sausages if you can find them. That dish however is not going to be made in seconds. In general the season demands slow cooked casseroles, stews and soups with or without a drop of wine.

To create change drastically means that our stress levels go up so here is my strategy for dealing with change and creating a difference should you be faced with immediate change:

Every big project or goal can be broken down into small steps. Little lurches forward. Sometimes they're clumsy. Sometimes they don't even seem to make an impact. But this is how anything gets done within a certain timescale. If you want to create a big change, plan backwards to the little step you can take today to start that process.

* Years and years of built up clutter get sorted and thrown away one drawer at a time. Plan for 10 mins each day to sort and reuse, recycle or donate.

* Years and years of reckless eating and unhealthy habits get shifted one meal at a time. (Plan a 15 min walk 1 day a week, then 2 etc) and cook a healthy meal with local ingredients 1 day, 2 days, 3 days etc per week.

Cutting your financial budget and repaying debts can happen if you plan one step at a time. Reduce spending on the small things ( latte, magazine, doughnut) and the money saved can go on paying debt.

As we are now on a deconsuming pattern, changes will happen and withdrawal symptoms for many will be heartfelt. Apathy may set in as well as depression but on the other hand you may have an opportunity to make small changes that will create a new way of life. Taking positive action means you will find a way through.

The heating went on while we had visitors and now they have left we realise that we got accustomed again to a higher temperature and day by day we can change that. If we change it immediately, we would really feel the discomfort. Any voluntary change can happen and puts you in control, if a change is forced upon you, then you may feel a different reaction.

Downshifting may no longer be a voluntary thing but one step at a time it is a possibility.

1 comment:

Nicole M said...

This is a really insightful post! I agree we all need to start realizing that we are "all in this together" as they say and it is hard to change our standards but deconsuming seems like the only way that we can start moving in the right direction, its consuming that is moving us backwards!