Efforts to lower human impact on environmental resources have been mainly concentrated on increasing resource productivity so far, such as the reinforced efficiency strategy. However, achieved gains in technical efficiency are regularly eaten up by rebound effects. The sufficiency strategy tries to overcome this problem by reducing the demand for energy and consumption goods on the consumer side. The question what constitutes such a sufficient lifestyle on the individual level is essential to answer before strategies can be developed to support a transformation towards more sufficiency.

We developed an instrument to measure sufficiency behavior and attitudes on the individual level in everyday life covering the most relevant fields of action such as energy, mobility, nutrition or use of goods and technical devices. Data were collected via an online survey (N = 177) in Germany.

Different latent dimensions were identified in behavior and attitudes. These are saving, sharing, informing, reducing high-impact behavior, and waiving status symbols on the behavior side. In attitudes the dimensions were modesty, self-determination, using not owning, enhancing sustainability and degrowth orientation. Suggestions are made how these dimensions can help to understand sufficiency behavior on the individual level thus offering possibilities to support the transformation of lifestyles.

Additionally, we assessed some important hindrances for sufficient behavior. Ipsative barriers which indicate that behavioral alternatives are not considered (Tanner, 1999) explain 39 % of variance in sufficiency behavior. Lack of knowledge and lack of self-efficacy (Bandura, 1991) are also important barriers and are investigated as promising approaches to promote a transformation of lifestyles towards sufficiency.