Published 23 April 2023 ● Last Updated on 27 May 2023

Want to invest in the planet? Start by setting personal green goals and committing to achieving them. While climate change is a collective problem and requires global efforts by governments, businesses, and institutions to tackle it efficiently, the role of individual action is extremely important.

As Zig Zigler, renowned author, and motivational speaker said, “A goal properly set is halfway reached“. Setting targets to achieve the desired outcome works like a charm even when it is about affirmative climate action.

Here are 5 steps you can follow to start, navigate through, and sustain your climate action journey.

Set your personal BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goals)

Identifying where and how to begin is critical. Start with a list of your current activities and how they impact the environment. This exercise will help you choose your personal sustainability goals. You can begin with identifying the actions on the list that are the most damaging, or are the least healthy because working towards changing these will yield the highest results for the environment. For instance, if you are in the habit of using single-use plastics extensively, you can put that as your top priority and look at where you are using disposables and replace them slowly but surely with reusables. In my personal green journey, toothpaste in plastic tubes was the most difficult to get rid of in my green journey. Anything else I brushed with left me feeling like my teeth had not been cleaned well enough. Finally, after much resistance, I have moved on and found a tooth tablet that not only cleans well but also ensures that the last of the plastics I was tugging on to is finally well and truly gone.

TLDR: Set goals. They are unique to you because they depend on what drives you, what your limitations are, and how far you are willing to go.

Set your personal BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goals)

Break down big goals into several daily habits

Doing this just makes the end goal more achievable. To give you an example, it is wiser to always keep a grocery bag handy rather than avowing, “I will stop using plastic bags”. Instead of making vague claims about playing a role in reducing food waste, checking the fridge for older food items to use first every morning is a smarter goal to undertake. Figure out what you can “do” to achieve your aim, and make it a habit.

TLDR: Deconstructing large goals into smaller milestones ensures you achieve them.

Bucket your goals

The Eisenhower Matrix

Once you have your sustainability goals in place, spend some time prioritising them and putting them in buckets. This will help you achieve your goals in a more systematic fashion.

Urgent and important to start on: The most difficult to change but the ‘have-to-change’ items belong in this bucket. These high-priority items will impact your sustainability story. In order to assess if the urgency will impact your green journey, ask yourself, “what will happen if I ignore this for some more time.?” Trying to reduce your personal food waste could be one item in this bucket.

Started and ongoing: These could be things that are works-in-progress that you have already started on. Work on them consistently so you accomplish the task at hand. Let’s say, for example, you want to eat clean and have already begun that journey with meatless days, almost no packaged food, and watching your food waste. Great going. Just keep at it and try to build on it.

Urgent but out of your direct control: This includes tasks that you may not have direct control over but where you can still have some impact. So pay close attention to it and work on it slowly but surely. These could include but are not limited to -legislations passed in your area about the environment, responsible waste segregation in your community and neighbourhood, volunteering with your family, etc.

TLDR: Keep calm and bucket them on

Be kind to yourself

All of us tend to slip and veer off the goals. Don’t fret, just get yourself back on track instead of indulging in guilt. Take the transgression in your stride and journal your journey including the slip-ups so you have a document to revisit when in doubt. When I started my green journey, I was extremely conscious at home about what and how I used things but when traveling I made excuses as to how difficult it was to carry a water bottle and toiletries. “They add to the weight,” I would say or sometimes I thought carrying wet reusables was a headache. I have worked on this aspect and of late I have changed this and have resorted to the greener options for travel as well.

Be kind to yourself

Share to stay accountable

When you make yourself accountable, the bonus is you inspire others to follow suit. In today’s context, there are many means to achieve this including social media, green group huddles, sustainable conclaves, and many such opportunities to talk about your goals. You will see that once you begin, the information flow will be two-way and you will also get to learn a ton from others. In fact, you could set a personal target to get five friends to start making environmental goals with you!

Related Links

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