Whether you made it a goal to be eco-conscious this new year, or you suddenly want to decrease your carbon footprint, there’s a way you can effectively be environmentally friendly through the process of proper goal-setting.
SMART goals are designed to give you a structured framework to follow your goal accordingly and see results. SMART is an abbreviation for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound.
Let’s see how you can apply SMART to your ecological feats. We will use an example of reducing waste.
The first part of the SMART goal-setting process is to define your goal. Make sure it is as specific as possible. If you want to reduce your overall waste, you need to narrow in on the definition of garbage. Is it less food you want to throw out, less electricity to use, fewer paper products, less plastic? Do you want to recycle more, or start composting? Your definition could include all of these, but make sure that it is clearly apart of that definition.
Specific goal: I will reduce my waste by not using plastic.
The next step is to identify any measurables. You can figure out if your goal is a quantifiable goal by asking these questions: How will I go about doing this? How many do I need? How often do I need for this action? Asking these questions will help you identify the more physical characteristic of your goal.
It also helps to break down your goal into smaller tasks that are necessary to activate your goal. Since your goal is to use less plastic, identify the means where you usually would use it–at the grocery store in the form of bags, for food storage in the form of plastic containers or sandwich baggies, the boxes you get from takeout, etc. Analyzing each of these moments is crucial for measuring your goals.
Next, you need to evaluate if this is an achievable goal. Understand that plastic is present in almost every aspect of our lives. Do you think you can really give up plastic for the sake of the environment? Can you afford alternatives, like biodegradable options? Do you think you would be able to compost in the area you live? Understanding these before you pursue your goal is very crucial.
The goal should also be relevant to you. Luckily this one is an easy one to answer, seeing as we live on Earth, so we should treat the planet with respect. Reducing plastic is clearly relevant to the Earth and us, the rising use of plastic has detrimental ecological impacts, which indirectly affect our lives as humans.
Lastly, you need to a time bound for this goal. Have a deadline for when you would like to see your results. Maybe this deadline is to “live completely plastic free.” It doesn’t matter, but you will have this part outline from your measurables. Even if the goal is to be plastic free by the end of the month, have weekly evaluations for when you’re replacing plastic with a more environmentally friendly alternative. Your progress adds up, and you will find that by following the SMART goal technique you will achieve your goal.
It helps to be organized and have a tracker of your overall progress. That’s why using a SMART-goal setting app can be very helpful in the long run, so that it ensures you will see the results you have outlined for yourself.