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How to Set Sustainable Goals for 2024

January 2024 by Maria Ayala

Photo by Startup Stock Photos

Setting personal goals for our planet in 2024

2024 is here, and as we settle into the new year and take in the sense of renewal and a fresh start, it’s natural to reflect on what we hope to achieve in the upcoming months.

While New Year’s resolutions tend to revolve around subjects like career development, health, and relationship goals, climate change is becoming a more pressing issue for all of us.

So, with this in mind, what if, in 2024, we take goal setting a step further? What if we incorporate personal sustainable goals into our agenda for this new year?

In this blog, we explore how this can be done effectively, ensuring we set realistic goals that will allow all of us to work purposefully towards a more sustainable 2024.


The power of effective goal-setting

Goal setting in the new year is nothing new; however, without clear guidance, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and end up with too much on our plates.

This feeling may be particularly relevant when considering incorporating sustainable goals into your new year. We might find ourselves with questions like, where do I start? What should I do? And, how can I work both towards my personal development and the well-being of the planet?

So, to ensure a purposeful 2024, here are some tips that will hopefully offer you a sense of direction to inspire you and make this journey easier!


1. Identifying what areas you want to work on

When setting goals, ensuring we know what areas we want to work on is critical, especially regarding sustainability.

From carbon emissions to climate anxiety, each area of sustainability and climate change requires unique attention. These are not one-size-fits-all concepts, and striving to ‘be more sustainable’ can be pretty broad, so narrowing down the areas we want to work on is critical.

To help you with this, here are some areas you might want to consider working on in 2024:

Reducing your carbon footprint: Carbon Literacy training gives you an understanding of how and why carbon emissions significantly contribute to climate change. Reducing your carbon footprint can be a great way to incorporate sustainability into 2024. From making more sustainable choices in transportation, consumption and daily habits, small changes can collectively make a big difference. Want some inspiration?

Read our previous blog series on ‘New Year Solutions’, Jo Fidgen’s BBC 4 podcast, which tackles a few ways ordinary people can make a difference by changing their habits.

Supporting biodiversity and contributing to conservation efforts: If you’ve always loved nature and the outdoors, why not explore ways to support biodiversity conservation? Take part in local tree-planting initiatives or advocate for policies that protect natural habitats!

Promoting and being an advocate for climate education: Education is the first step to driving change, and if you are looking to inspire and empower others, you can become an advocate for climate education. Whether it’s through social media, community events, or even personal conversations, you can share more information with others about climate change and its impacts.


2. Create specific goals

Once you’ve decided on one or two areas you want to focus on, you can transform these broad aspirations into specific, actionable goals to make them more achievable while also considering your long-term vision and other personal goals.

Specific goals are about stating precisely what we want to accomplish. Here, you should describe your goal as clearly as possible, answering the W’s: who, what, where, when, and why.

Example 1:

Area: Biodiversity and contributing to conservation efforts.

Goal: In 2024, I will volunteer once a week with biodiversity initiatives.

How will I do this:

I’ll look into current conservation efforts and groups supporting biodiversity, such as community gardens, animal habitat restoration, and tree planting campaigns, and decide which appeals to me most.

I’ll choose a day of the week that works for me to ensure I attend.

Another great way to narrow down your goals is to reflect on any other personal goals you want to achieve and link them together to make implementing them more manageable in your day-to-day life.

Example 2:

Area: cooking and reducing your carbon footprint

Goal: In 2024, I will reduce my carbon footprint by learning new vegan recipes to reduce my meat intake and improve my culinary skills.

How will I do this:

I will define whether I want to learn a certain number of recipes per month or specific dishes for breakfasts, lunches, dinners, or desserts.

I will look for cookbooks, online blogs, and cooking websites specialising in vegan recipes.

To be accountable, I will keep a cooking journal to document the recipes I’ve tried, any modifications made and my overall experience.


3. Making sure our goals last throughout 2024

As the months go by, it can be easy to forget our goals and lose momentum with all the resolutions we set for the new year. Life gets busy, challenges arise, and sometimes, our goals may seem harder than we thought.

How can we stop this from happening in 2024?

Review and adjust goals

As you progress throughout the year, it is good to take a moment to reflect on what challenges you have had and what is and isn’t working.

Sometimes, when we set goals, it can be easy to be discouraged when things do not go as planned. But the reality is that sometimes, and even often, they might not, which is perfectly okay!

When faced with setbacks, view them as opportunities to learn and adapt rather than feeling discouraged. Goals can be flexible; sometimes, we need to take a step back and reassess our approach.

Celebrate your achievements

Funnily enough, when things do not go as planned, we can get discouraged, but sometimes, when we achieve our goals, we can also get discouraged.

Often, when we start achieving small milestones, we can begin normalising them, and it is easy to lose sight of our progress. But remember, progress is progress, and we would probably not be where we are now without the little steps.

Remember to pat yourself on the back, no matter how small it may seem; it’s a powerful motivator to keep moving forward.

Create a support system

The journey towards our goals will not always be linear, and one of the best ways to ensure we maintain our motivation and work towards a purposeful 2024 is by having the right support system around us.

Whether this is friends, family, or a community group, surrounding ourselves with like-minded people who will empower us and celebrate our successes but also reassure us and provide guidance when needed is essential.

Remember to embrace setbacks as opportunities for growth, acknowledge your successes along the way, and surround yourself with a community that uplifts and encourages you.

Launching soon, the Carbon Literacy Action Network seeks to connect tens of thousands of Carbon Literate citizens across roles, sectors, and nations—to be supported and help each other maximise their action and amplify their positive impact to address the climate crisis.

If you’re already Carbon Literate, keep an eye on your inbox for news of the CLAN launch!

If you’re not yet Carbon Literate, find upcoming open training dates on our Events page.

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