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Making SMART green resolutions for 2014

Getting fit; getting green
Getting fit; getting green
Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Welcome to the new year of 2014. Most of us are thinking of new resolutions. Whether it is to make things a little simpler and get organized, to take time to relax, to find a new job, or to payoff credit card debt, most of us are hoping to make our lives a little better, easier, or healthier this year. Consider making some green resolutions to make the world a little better and healthier.
When making your goals, the best way to create goals you can stick to is to remember the mnemonic, SMART. SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-related. Instead of making your goal, “I will be greener this year.” Be specific and state, “I will not use a harmful laundry detergent and will use an eco-friendly, free & clear laundry detergent,” or maybe, “I will take my recyclable to the local recycling bin twice a week.”
The ‘M’ or measurable part of the goal should signify some quantity or quality. Maybe instead of “I will use less energy,” make your goal, “I reduce my winter heating bill by 25 percent this year.” Or possibly, “I will install CFL bulbs in all light fixtures and reduce my electric bill by 10 percent.” The measurability of a goal should indicate some gauge of progress. More often than not, you are able to stay motivated and maintain your goals when you see some sort of progress.
When making a goal attainable, remember that there may be large gap in between where you currently are in life and the goal of where you want to be. Make small steps, attainable steps to build that gap. Instead of turning Vegetarian in a day, consider first cutting out just red meat for a couple weeks, then chicken, then fish. Or, consider going meatless one day out of the week and gradually increasing days on a monthly basis. It’s the small steps that will also make it easier to gradually meet a goal.
This now brings us to realistic goal setting. We are all busy people. You have to be honest about how much effort and time you will be willing to put forth towards your green resolutions. Most of us greenies would love to be able to buy whatever organically grown food we want, but it may not always fit into the budget. Maybe you want to give up fast food and make only homemade meals. Do you know how to cook? Are the kids crying in the background while you are staring in the refrigerator, trying to figure out what to make? When setting your goals this year, remember all the other responsibilities you have vying for you time and adjust your goals accordingly.
Finally, when setting your green resolutions this year, make them time-related. Instead of just focusing on the end of 2014 as the day that all your goals will be accomplished, create goals that are both short-term and long-term throughout the year. Maybe, during the spring, you will not eat fast food for three weeks. Or maybe you will put $100 aside a month until the end of the year to buy solar panels.
When making your goals this year, think about all these aspects. Make SMART goals for going green this year. Share some of your goals with us and let us know if and when you reach them.

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