personal sustainability: person writing "Who am I?" in fogged mirror

Personal Sustainability: what’s your identity?

I’ve been working on new content based on the idea of personal sustainability. Sustainability in terms of our own energy but also our own contribution to the sustainability of the planet. Our personal resources are finite in the same way the planet’s resources are finite. We need to think hard about where we expend energy and how we renew that vital resource.

The five areas of personal sustainability

I’m at a very early stage in developing my ideas, but for now I’m thinking about five areas of personal sustainability:

  • Values (identity)
  • Integrity
  • Social Relationships
  • Energy
  • Resources

Across the next four weeks we’ll discuss each of these points, starting this week with values around identity.

Who are you?

Getting clear on who you are and what you stand for is an essential part of being a more sustainable human being. When you have this level of clarity, you are more likely to make better decisions for your health and wellbeing but also be more connected to people and planet. You’ll have integrity and a set of values you live by. Willpower won’t be required when you’re motivated by a strong sense of identity.


Let me give you an example. Recently I found myself eating a lot more pastries, cakes, bread items and similar snacks recently when under time pressure. A daily habit ensued of filling moments of hunger with such items rather than seek out healthy sources of calories. After a particularly bad day of such snacking, I decided enough was enough. I see myself as a recreational athlete, someone who lives the life of an athlete (sleep, movement, recovery, training, nutrition) and yet my actions weren’t matching my identity. It felt off.


After reflecting deeply on this incongruity, I went back to a technique that has worked really well in the past, a system we called ‘three tokens’. A token is a metaphor for a cake, pastry or similar item, and the rule is I can have three of these per week. It’s permissive but structured, and it works very well for me. By reconnecting to the identity I have for myself, I was able to make the necessary changes to my lifestyle. My identity is as a recreational athlete, and therefore it is easy for me to make changes that support this view. Your sense of identity is a super-power when you get clear on it.

How do you see yourself?

Next week we’ll explore another essential element of identity – the value of integrity.

What’s your identity? Who do see yourself as? Getting clear on this helps you to see how you can make a difference to the world. It starts with us.

Wellbeing webinars

Leanne runs a regular roster of free to attend wellbeing webinars for businesses looking to create a culture of energy, belonging and performance. Helping leaders and teams increase their stress resilience, improve communication and productivity, whilst beating burnout and having more fun in life and work. Check out what’s coming up! 

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