develop a plan

– and stick to it!


I found last year, as I sought to undertake my Second Hand Year, that setting general guidelines for selection and spending hurt more than it helped. Though that may sound counterintuitive, it turned out – for me, at least – that my oversimplified goal gave me far too much room for reinterpretation as the year went on. Additionally, its platform rested squarely within the materialistic confines of my style blog, which by its nature forced me to constantly consider my purchases and scrutinize my style.

This year I think I’ve built a firmer foundation:

  • I know what constitutes an ethical company. I know when to call b.s. on a company’s ethical standards (example). I’ve done my research.
  • I’m not looking for a blog gimmick or just trying to save some money. I’m doing this because it matters. My guilt keeps me going.
  • Because I’m not trying to be a fashion icon, I don’t have to worry about keeping up with the Kendis. I enjoy shopping, but I am no longer controlled by it.
  • My life is better – richer and more interesting – than it was last year. There is more to keep me occupied.
  • I see myself as an ambassador for the fair trade cause. I have an obligation to myself and others to do the right thing.

No matter what goal you’re striving to achieve in the next few months or years, I encourage you to take the time to figure out why it matters. You have to find a meaningful reason to keep going – one that pushes beyond blog views or facebook likes – or you’ll inevitably spiral into a melodramatic tirade, crying: “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless (Ecclesiastes 1:2).”

Always be mindful of your reasons. Always remember the end goal. In my case, it takes repeating the truth that we’re all human in a global community, that we all deserve to be treated as such. That I have to do something about it or I’ve willingly forsaken the essence of my own humanity.

* photo source

About Leah

Leah Wise is a member of FIRE in Charlottesville, Virginia.
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