Be More Sustainable in 2024
Green Living

How to Be More Sustainable in 2024: Setting Goals You Can Actually Achieve

The New Year brings a fresh start.  We anticipate a sparkly new beginning where we will magically accomplish all our goals and stick to our resolutions.  If your resolutions include living a more sustainable life – you’re in the right place!  I’m here to help you narrow down your goals and learn how to be more sustainable in 2024. 

Definitions

First, let’s get some definitions out of the way so we’re all on the same page. 

Sustainability

“Meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (The United Nations)

Eco Friendly

“Not harmful to the environment or trying to help the environment” (Cambridge definitions)

Zero Waste

“The conservation of all resources by means of responsible production, consumption, reuse, and recovery of products” (The EPA)

Green Living

“Making choices that conserve and preserve the Earth’s natural resources and habitats” (Green Mountain Energy)

How to be more sustainable

Whatever term you choose to use, they all boil down to helping our Earth and future.  Now, these are very broad categories that may work well for resolutions, but if we are going to set goals, we must narrow down our choices.  

(Remember, “resolution” refers to a broad decision to do or not do something.  Goals are something we take action toward and have an achievable result.)

To Brush Up on The 3 R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, click here!

Sustainability Ideals

What area of Sustainability or Green Living would you like to see changed in your life?  Do you have an outcome already in your mind that you would like to work towards?  If that’s the case, brainstorm all the ways you can meet that ideal and choose one.  Start there. 

Example: 

You envision a large, bountiful garden in which you can always eat seasonally and feed your family fresh, organic produce.  

In Season Vegetables - How to be sustainable
Goal 1:  Start an indoor herb garden
  • Actionable step 1:  Acquire seeds, dirt, and empty jars or second hand pots. 
  • Actionable step 2:  Watch one quick YouTube video on how to plant seeds and get to work on your own
  • Actionable step 3:  Keep tending to your herbs until they are ready to harvest and be joyful you grew something!
Plant indoor herbs - How to be more sustainable
Goal 2: Grow the easiest vegetables 
  • Actionable step 1: Research the easiest vegetables to grow for your climate or situation
  • Actionable step 2: Obtain the materials needed
  • Actionable step 3:  Start growing your seedlings
  • Actionable step 4:  Stay motivated for your largest goal by planning a schedule of the best time to grow your family’s favorite vegetables.  
In season produce - How to be sustainable
Goal 3:  Plant a large garden using seasonally appropriate vegetables and fruit!

Although some of us may jump right into the big goal of planting a large garden, if we didn’t first have the skills and motivation from the first 2 smaller goals, we would give up much more quickly on that large goal.

Here’s another example: 

You envision a Zero Waste kitchen

Zero waste kitchen - How to be sustainable
Goal 1:  Cut back on plastic packaging. 
  • Actionable step 1:  Notice packaging while at the grocery store and try choosing bulk items whenever possible. 
  • Actionable step 2:  Opt for produce that is unpackaged or choose a produce delivery subscription that does not use plastic packaging
  • Actionable step 3:  Find alternatives to your regularly purchased products that have the most plastic packaging
Buy in bulk - How to be sustainable
Goal 2:  Reduce food waste. 
  • Actionable step 1:  Meal plan so you can plan to use all ingredients you buy for the week. 
  • Actionable step 2:  Save dinner leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch or snack. 
  • Actionable step 3:  Save food scraps that can be turned into stocks, soups, or smoothies. 
Meal plan to be more sustainable

The next step could be altering your cleaning routine or products to align with a zero waste kitchen or maybe starting an at-home compost bin.  

Click here for everything you need for a sustainable Kitchen!

Overwhelmed? 

If you have no idea where to start with goals and are completely overwhelmed, start with what you think the simplest change will be to make.  Stick to it and gain momentum to then set goals for other areas of your life.  All of these little goals can add up to one very big lifestyle change!

A note on goal setting…

Make your goals SMART. They should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. Goals provide direction and motivation for those larger resolutions. Write them down and keep them visible so they are always in the forefront of your mind. In the above examples, we are developing a plan by breaking down a large goal into smaller pieces and providing actionable steps. If something seems too big, break it down further and get even more specific.

How to Be More Sustainable in 2024:
Time to Dream

Now, go ahead and grab a coffee, get cozy, gaze out the window, and imagine what your ideal sustainable life might look like.  Jot down those ideas and use them for inspiration to set your New Year sustainability goals for 2023.

Journal and write your goals - How to be sustainable

Check back next week as we deep dive into different areas of our home and lives for easy swaps and hacks to be more sustainable.  

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