Setting Your Goals for Success!

Everyone sets goals – from daily goals like completing a project, to life goals like traveling the world, to school goals like crushing a test. Did you know that only 8% of people achieve their goals? So how do high achievers do it? It’s all about how you state your goals!

Not all goal statements are equally effective. Generic goal statements are vague and contain few details while effective goals are specific and highly detailed. For example:

An effective Goal: 

  • Is well defined and written down  
  • Is measurable 
  • Lists specific actions taken to ensure success 
  • Uses benchmarks to measure progress and evaluate impact of project

Let’s Talk Measurement

In a campaign to combat climate change, your effective goal must identify the amount of greenhouse gas that your project will remove from the atmosphere or the amount you will help prevent from being produced. To identify this amount, you will need to know certain key facts.

  • “Big Picture Fact” – Your Advisor will provide you with this 
    • Example: On average, each person in the US uses 365 plastic bags every year, meaning we emit 1.8 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere per year just to produce plastic bags.
  • “Project Specific Fact” Your Advisor will provide the tools and path to help you identify this. 
    • Example: On average, our town of 35,000 people uses 12.7 million plastic bags per year.

Depending on the Campaign Type your team chose in Phase 2, your greenhouse gas goal will represent one of the following or both: 

Actual Reductions vs Estimated Reductions

  • Actual:  Reduction in greenhouse gas that will be accomplished during the campaign. Reduction numbers should be for your campaign. Examples: 
    • During the campaign, we will reduce ​5,400 lbs. of carbon dioxide emissions by eliminating ​1,200 lbs. of plastic ​water bottles from being sold at the gym​​.
    • During the campaign, we will reduce 480 lbs. of carbon dioxide emissions by starting a composting program in the community garden that will compost 520 lbs. of food waste.
  • Estimated: Reduction in future greenhouse gas that could potentially be accomplished if your project is successful. Examples: 
    • If the No Idle Zone Measure at school passes, an estimated 14,400 lbs. of carbon dioxide emissions will be reduced per year.
    • If Plastic bags are banned in the city, an estimated 383,250 lbs. of carbon dioxide emissions will be reduced per year.

Next Step: Setting Greenhouse Gas Goals

Here’s a quick review of what a greenhouse gas is

Greenhouse gas: a gas in the Earth’s atmosphere that absorbs and traps heat. This specific type of gas lets sunlight pass through the atmosphere, but prevents the heat that the sunlight brings from leaving the atmosphere. A certain level of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere is necessary to ensure a habitable Earth; however, we now have too much of a good thing. Scientists are worried that human activities are adding too much greenhouse gas to the atmosphere.

  • Carbon dioxide, methane, and water vapor are the most important greenhouse gases. (To a lesser extent, surface-level ozone, nitrous oxides, and fluorinated gases also trap infrared radiation.)
  • Greenhouse gases have a profound effect on the energy budget of the Earth system despite making up only a fraction of all atmospheric gases.
  • Concentrations of greenhouse gases have varied substantially during Earth’s history, and these variations have driven substantial climate changes at a wide range of timescales.
  • In general, greenhouse gas concentrations have been particularly high during warm periods and low during cold periods. 

It’s time to meet with your Advisor to develop a process, based on your specific project, to create your effective greenhouse gas goals. Email your Advisor to set up a meeting to complete the following 3.2 Facts and Goal Setting Process questions. 

NEXT STEP: Greenhouse Gas Goals

Click Here: Move on to the next step: Phase 3.3 – Greenhouse Gas Goals

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