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Embrace | Overcome | Create Your Life 

  • Writer's pictureTerri K. Lankford, LPCS

The How-To of Holistic SMART Goals: Environmental Goals

In our last blog post of 2023, we talked about holistic SMART goals. As a reminder, we talked about how SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timed. We discussed how the SMART goal format sets us up for success rather than confusion. Then, we saw 24 examples of SMART goals that aligned with the Wellness Wheel (review our blog series on the Wellness Wheel here).

Over the next few months, we’ll be discussing the “how-tos” of holistic SMART goals, showing you how to (1) identify your values in a given area, (2) examples of SMART goals in that same area, and (3) how to put your plan in action. Last time, we talked about intellectual goals. Today’s topic is environmental goals. 

When you hear “environmental goals”, you may immediately think we’re referring to goals about the natural environment - goals aligning with the global climate crisis, sustainable practices, having a more plant-based diet, and more. While these are all certainly environmental goals, we’re referring to your immediate surroundings: your home, city, and community.

A supportive environment plays a vital role in maintaining good mental health, with studies showing that individuals who have access to green spaces report lower levels of stress and anxiety. Research indicates that spending just 20 minutes in nature can significantly reduce cortisol levels, promoting a sense of calmness and well-being. Cultivating a positive environment at home and in communities can foster resilience and improve overall mental health outcomes for individuals of all ages.

Want to set some holistic SMART goals for environmental wellness? The counselors at Rise and Thrive Counseling are here to help with three easy steps below!

Step #1: Identify Your Values

Environmental values refer to your desires for your immediate dwelling (home), larger setting (community), and largest environment (Earth).

To determine your values in this area, consider these reflection prompts:

  1. On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is it for you to set environmental goals? Name why you’ve picked the number you did and not a lower number.

  2. What is your home environment like? Do you feel safe (as in, do others live with you that endanger you, are you free from toxins and dangerous structures, etc.)?

  3. How important is community to you? Do you have any thoughts or desires for change in your community at large?

  4. How do you feel about Earth’s current state? Do you find yourself wanting to implement more sustainable practices?

  5. Describe your sense of belonging in your home, community, and the planet. Would you change anything about your sense of belonging here?

Hopefully, these reflection questions help determine (1) if this should even be a goal for you, and (2) the beginnings of a goal of what environmental wellness could look like.

Step #2: Set a SMART Goal

Use the answers to step one to determine what your goal should look like. Here are some examples to help inspire you:

  1. Once a month for the next year, I will put $200 in a fund for a new home. I will reassess in one year if I need to increase or decrease this amount.

  2. Once a month for the next six months, I will volunteer in my community to feel more connected with the city around me.

  3. Once a day for the rest of the month, I will strive to get twenty minutes of green time (time in nature) to reduce my stress levels.

  4. Once a week for the next six months, I will go meat-free for the day to increase my environmentally sustainable practices.

  5. Over the next month, I will read one book about reconnecting with nature to feel more in tune with the environment around me.

Step #3: Your Plan in Action

After you form a SMART goal based on your values and intentions, it's time to put that goal into action. Based on the examples above, here are some ways to move towards your goal:

Goal 1: working towards this goal may look like writing out a budget to know a sustainable amount of money to contribute to a home owning fund, opening a secondary savings account specifically for saving towards this goal, researching home prices in the area, and making a list of desired features of a new home.

Goal 2: working towards this goal may look like researching volunteer organizations in your area, choosing one that aligns with your values and passions, signing up for a volunteering event hosted by the organization, and showing up day-of.

Goal 3: working towards this goal may look like waking up twenty minutes earlier to spend time in nature, finding a spot where you feel secure but also in the environment, finding a mindfulness practice to really engage with nature, and committing to spending time outside daily.

Goal 4: working towards this goal may look like using a cookbook or Pinterest to find meat-free recipes you enjoy, buying the necessary ingredients in your weekly grocery shopping, writing a menu for the day which includes a meat-free breakfast/lunch/dinner, and experimenting with meals to find some you truly enjoy.

Goal 5:  working towards this goal may look like researching books about engaging with nature, purchasing/borrowing/otherwise obtaining the book, setting aside enough time to read, and implementing the steps found in the book.

We hope this blog post helps you reflect on, set, and execute holistic environmental SMART goals in 2024! If you want more holistic help, look no further than Rise and Thrive Counseling. Our holistic counselors can help address all areas of life. Reach out today to learn more. We look forward to hearing from you!




Welcome to Embrace | Overcome | Create Your Life.


I’m Terri Kiser Lankford, owner of the Rise & Thrive Counseling Practice, a Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor (in NC), and the host here at Rise & Thrive Counseling, PLLC and the Embrace| Overcome|CreateYourLife Blog.


I’m also an entrepreneur, Syltherin, foodie on a fitness journey, complete book nerd, photography novice who happens to think music is life. 


Warning! This site is about motivation, health & wellness, and self love.  but its also about various mental health issues and may talk about subjects such as suicide, self-harm and other touchy subjects at some point. This site is not intended for youth and may be “too much” to some.


Nothing on this site should be considered a medical recommendation. I am not a doctor. Anything of interest should be discussed with your doctor or therapist, or me (in person) if you are my current client.  No guarantee of accuracy is expressed or implied. (Sorry, I have to say that.)


All writing and mental health information here are accurate to the best of my knowledge at the time of publication. However, keep in mind my opinion, and available information, changes over time.

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