The past year, nature has been pushing limits with multiple disasters, from hurricanes to California’s record-breaking wildfires. But the biggest news events in 2020 (COVID-19, politics, social justice) overshadowed these otherwise news breaking events. As we enter 2021, these unfortunate natural disasters serve as a reminder to reduce our environmental impact. Setting eco-friendly goals is a necessary but insufficient way to mitigate our footprint on the planet. To make lasting changes, we need to follow through our new year’s resolutions even when the excitement dries up a few weeks into the year. Here are a few tips to help you keep up with your eco-friendly goals throughout 2021.
- Set Specific Goals
When people plan to improve an area of their lives, they often fail to set concrete goals and steps, and vaguely fantasize a better future version of themselves. Setting specific goals is the key to succeeding. Rather than vaguely aiming to “become more eco-friendly”, why not challenge yourself to be vegetarian for a week, shop locally for a month, or join the Go Green Pledge community of over 2,000 people. Once your goals are clearly set, you can define a system to help you achieve them. As the old saying goes, “failing to plan is planning to fail”.
- Incremental and Sustainable Changes
While the anticipation of change is still high, it is common to set overly ambitious and unrealistic goals for yourself (e.g. become vegan overnight for a whole year). This is however unsustainable and the likelihood of entirely giving up after a few days is very high. A better strategy is to start small; for instance, you could go meatless on Mondays, then if desired, incrementally add more days as you adjust to the new diet. A vegan diet once every week throughout the year is much better than a vegan diet for just a month. You can apply the same principle to other eco-friendly goals and/or other areas of your life.
- Seek Accountability
It is a no-brainer that your motivation will fade as the year progresses. To keep it high, it is important to join inspiring communities that hold you accountable for your actions. You can reach out to friends who share your passion for sustainability or join dedicated student groups (e.g. GreenSpace, SAVVY, etc.). You can also follow our social pages (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) where we post content to keep you motivated on your journey.
Written by Kelly Jean, Class of 2021