January is coming to an end, which means 68% of us are close to dropping our New Year’s resolutions. (Whomp, whomp.)
If you’ve been neglecting your home gym or swapping your morning meditation for extra shut eye, no shame – we feel you. But with the last decade wrapping up as the hottest on record, it’s more important than ever to develop planet-friendly habits we can stick to.
Why set a personal climate resolution?
Household consumption directly influences over 65% of global emissions, meaning our everyday choices add up to major impact. Decisions we make about how and where we spend our money contribute to systems that can benefit or harm the Earth.
Our climate choices have important indirect impacts, too. Studies show climate-friendly behaviors are contagious – and our own data from Joro backs that up. Users who tracked their progress with friends on Joro improved their carbon footprints by an average of 22% more than users who didn’t in 2020.
So if you’ve found yourself idling by the resolution wayside, or you want to set new goals for your 2021 climate action practice, this quick goal-setting guide can help!
How to Develop a Climate Practice That Sticks (Past February!)
Why is it hard to reduce your carbon footprint? Because lifestyle changes are tough to stick to. Our daily routines become second nature over time, making it harder to cut harmful habits or stick to healthy new ones. But we can reduce resistance by using behavioral psychology to hack the process.
1. Set Concrete Goals
When it comes to goal-setting, make completing your desired task as easy as possible. Concrete goals eliminate uncertainty by setting clear parameters for what needs to be done and when – and how you’ll measure success.
Rather than resolving to simply “live lighter,” set set a specific impact goal on Joro. Aim to have an impact equal to have an impact equal to one, five, or even ten “trees” by reducing your monthly carbon footprint. Once you’ve set your goal, Joro’s carbon footprint calculator can help you identify exactly where you can change your habits to earn more trees!
2. Aim High, but Start Small
According to behavioral psychologist BJ Fogg, repeatedly accomplishing small goals helps hardwire habit change into your brain. The hit of dopamine you get when you complete a manageable task boosts your satisfaction with the process and can motivate you to take your efforts to the next level.
For example: If you want to adopt a carbon-friendly diet, start by making small, concrete changes in your eating habits. Going vegan overnight might not be realistic, but “cooking vegan twice a week” or “eliminating animal products by March” are achievable goals to start with.
Want to Adopt New Eating Habits? Challenge Yourself.
Joro’s carbon footprint challenges help make lighter living second nature. Try out a vegan, vegetarian, or pescatarian diet by joining a weekly or monthly challenge. Access education resources, track your daily progress, and receive regular reminders to make small changes that make your long-term eating goals more attainable.
3. Track Your Progress
Set measurable goals and keep tabs on where you’re at. Not only does it feel good to visualize your progress, quantifiable goals make it clear exactly what needs to be accomplished and act as a reference point for measuring success.
Track Your Carbon Footprint in Real-Time
Link your debit and credit cards to Joro to track your climate progress in real real-time. Our carbonizer algorithm analyzes your purchases automatically to estimate your carbon footprint. Daily, monthly, and yearly charts let you see where your efforts are paying off – and where you can make improvements.
4. Make it Part of Your Daily Routine
One of the best ways to reduce your carbon footprint is to set a climate goal you complete daily. That’s because our brains are hard-wired for efficiency. When we automate certain behaviors –i.e., make them habitual – it frees up mental space for other tasks.
Reduce resistance by dedicating a context cue to help you remember to perform your new habit. A context cue is an action you already habitually perform (like brushing your teeth or checking your email) that “triggers” the behavior you’re trying to adopt.
How to Use a Context Cue
After [context cue] then [desired action.]
Daily: After [I do my post-work stretches] then [I will prep the food items I’ll need for dinner.]
Weekly: After [I do Sunday laundry] then [I will plan my vegan meals for the week.]
Automate Your Climate Routine
Automation is another useful tool for adopting new habits. If you want to track your daily carbon footprint, for instance, manual calculation can quickly lead to overwhelm. But linking your cards to Joro tracks your spending automatically, so you can monitor your footprint in real-time – no math!
5. Share Your Goals With Others
Adding a social component to your climate practice is a great way to boost accountability and motivation. And don't worry – it’s not as intimidating as it sounds! Leverage the people around you to stick to your climate goals by using a system called Mutually-Assured Non-Complacency (MANC) (Irrational Labs, (2020). MANC [PDF file]).
How to Use MANC to Achieve Your Climate Goals
Make Your Practice Public: Commit to posting regular progress updates on social media or sharing tips, tricks, and inspiration with online groups centered around your goals.
Embrace Your Competitive Side: Nothing boosts motivation like a little friendly competition. Where are your peers tracking their progress? Try keeping tabs on Joro’s weekly leaderboard to see how you stack up.
Tap an Accountability Partner: You could go it alone, butyour chances of success are much higher if you tap someone to hold you accountable. Choose a friend or family member to report your progress to on a regular, predetermined timeline.
6. Go Easy On Yourself
The path to a lighter footprint is about progress, not perfection. Instead of beating yourself up when you stumble, consider what got in the way of your success. WOOP – which stands for wish, outcome, obstacle, plan – is a science-based mental strategy that uses potential obstacles to help you identify the path of least resistance.
How to Use WOOP to Develop Your Climate Plan of Action
Wish: What do you want to achieve?
Ex: Reduce my home energy waste
Outcome:What would the ideal outcome be?
Ex: Lowering my thermostat when I’m away from home or sleeping
Obstacle: What could sideline you in your efforts?
Ex: I always forget about my goal until I’ve left the house or wake up in the morning
Plan: How will you get around it?
Ex: I will post sticky notes by my front door and bathroom mirror to remind myself when I’m heading out or brushing my teeth before bed.
WOOP, WOOP! Joro can help. Sometimes the biggest obstacle to adopting a new habit is, well, remembering to do it! Joro’s monthly challenges help behavior changes stick with regular reminders and in-app tracking – so you can check off every time you meet your home energy and diet goals.
7. Download Joro for Climate Action that Sticks
Make 2021 the year you stick to your climate goals. Joro lowers the barriers to climate action by helping you understand the best ways to reduce your carbon footprint – whether that’s taking ownership of your purchasing habits, eating a plant-forward diet, or joining a sustainability challenge with friends.
When it comes to setting climate resolutions, not all lifestyle choices are created equal. To make changes that have the greatest impact, we need to understand which factors contribute most to our carbon footprints.
High-carbon purchases like airline tickets get a lot of attention – but for most people, everyday decisions play a larger role in our overall carbon footprints. In 2020, recurrent purchases like grocery shopping and gasoline were the biggest carbon culprits in the Joro community.