Green Goal Setting

4371242111 ce2124d3b4 m Green Goal Setting Niharb via Compfight

I gave up on resolutions a few years ago because they only frustrated me. I was horrible at keeping them and then I felt guilty. This year, though, I’m going to try to set some goals for the year. Some may argue that it’s merely semantics: goals, resolutions, what’s the difference? I supoose the same tactics could apply no matter what you choose to call them, but goals, by nature, are specific. They often involve steps. My resolutions were always broad, sweeping statements about what I was going to start doing or stop doing. “I’m going to exercise more this year.” “I’m going to be kinder and gentler.” “I’m going to stop getting so frustrated.”

See. I set myself up.

So, goals.

Chris Guillebeau takes on a large goal-defining project each year that he calls his Annual Review. I’m intrigued, but haven’t ever taken the time to do it the way he does. It seems to be working well for him, though. icon smile Green Goal Setting Before he begins setting goals for the year ahead, Chris asks himself 2 questions: What went well in the past year? What didn’t go very well in the past year? He uses this reflection to shape and define some of his goals going forward.

Trent Hamm does a 5 year sketch. He suggests getting a picture, either in writing or collage form, of what you’d like your life to be like in 5 years. It should take a while to come up with details. Once you have your ideas, you can begin pulling out projects and tasks and create specific, actionable steps to get there.

This year, I’m going to focus on getting specific with my goals. I think I’ll set up categories for them like Chris Guillebeau does. One of those categories will be my “Green Goals.” I’ll share my own green goals in another post, but if you’re interested in some green goal setting, here’s some help as you get started. Remember, the key is to make your goals as specific as possible. Saying “I’m going to be more green this year” won’t accomplish anything. Think about how you can be greener and then make a plan.

Recycling:  If you don’t recycle now, where can you begin? Maybe you’ll find out about the options available to you in your area. The website for the county or city where you live is a good place to start. Then make a commit to put something in the recycling bin each week.

If you do recycle already, you could find out how to recycle something else that you usually don’t bother with. For example, I have a huge collection of dead batteries. I’ve been putting off doing the research to find out how to recycle them. Maybe that will be one of my goals for this year: figure out what to do with the batteries and then do it!

Driving less: Define what you mean. Will you make some trips on foot or by bike instead of driving? If that’s not possible, will you combine trips so you’re not driving back and forth to the same area all the time? Which trips will you substitute or combine?

Buy organic: Try just one thing. I’d start with milk — based on the research about hormones and antibiotics in milk products, you’ll get a lot of bang for your buck (especially if you have kids) with organic milk. If you already buy organic milk, maybe you’ll commit to adding one more thing to the list.

Grocery bags: Willing to try (again) to use those reusable bags you have? This time, figure out how to make them a habit. Maybe you’ll decide to leave them in the front seat of your car or hang a little ribbon from something on the dashboard to serve as a reminder. Get your kids to help if they go shopping with you. Put them in charge of remembering the bags.

There are lots of ways to go after a goal-setting project. What I’ve learned from past experience is that without solid goals and a specific plan to achieve them, nothing much gets done.

It would be great if you’d share some of your green goals in the comments.

10 Things for Earth Day!

earthday 10 Things for Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day, Everyone. It would be great if  every day was Earth Day, but we can’t overlook the impact of even small starts. Today I want to suggest 10 things that are easy to commit to (or re-commit to) this Earth Day.

1. Recycle. If you’re not doing this already, please start. Lots of communities have curbside recycling service, making it even easier.

2. Turn off the faucet. When you brush your teeth, when you’re washing dishes, anytime water doesn’t have to be running to get the job done.

3. Remember to use those reusable bags. Keep them in your car. Fold them up and store them in one larger bag to make it easier to remember.

4. Reuse what you can; donate what you can’t. Get creative. Try to think of new uses for old things. If you truly have no use for something anymore, donate it if possible. Try Goodwill or The Salvation Army for household goods and clothing. Donate eye glasses through drop off locations at Lens Crafters and The Lions Club.
Use to learn more about where to donate electronic equipment.

5. Reuse grass clippings by adding them to your compost pile, or using them as mulch around plants and trees.

6. Go for the least amount of packaging possible. Buy in bulk when you can. Choose products that contain recycled packaging materials when available.

7. Use fewer disposables. Cut back on paper napkins, cups, and plates.

8. Get a reusable water bottle to replace all those plastic bottles.

9. Plant something. Even if it’s just some tomatoes. They do very well in pots if you have limited space. If you’re not into tomatoes, consider an indoor herb garden. Any food you grow yourself not only tastes better, but is better for the Earth — no emissions needed to get it from a far away place to your table.

10. Play outside. Turn off the television, video games and computer and have fun outside for a while.

If these ten things don’t work for you, spend a little time on Earth Day thinking of at least one thing you can commit to. Choose anything that works for you, but choose something. If everyone, everywhere did just one thing, we’d make great progress towards a greener, healthier world.

For more ideas and information, check out Planet Green’s Earth Day Resolutions and the Earth Day Network.

Photo Credit: wot nxt

A Few Updates

◊ Check out the Green Mom’s Carnival hosted by Tiny Choices for lots of great tips on Green Spring Cleaning. My post on Spring Cleaning made the list!

◊ Allie at Allie’s Answers has a great Gaim reversible rug giveaway. The rug, made from recycled soda bottles, is crafted by artisans in Thailand who receive fair wages for their work.

◊ A couple of site updates: I’ve added two new pages, a Green Resources page and a Take Action page. The Green Resources page highlights companies that are committed to safer and more eco-friendly products. I’ll regularly update this page as I find more companies committed to these causes. The Take Action page is for people who are feeling overwhelmed, but also want to try to do something to make things better. Check them out when you can. Links to both pages will remain in the navigation bar.