Good Life Goals


A while ago I wrote about “enablers of behavioural change” or how we could use simple behavioural science to promote environmentally and socially positive actions. In order to be effective in achieving behaviour change – we should be making desired actions:

– Personally relevant

– Easy and fun to follow

– Attainable (small steps)

– A social norm (the others are doing it)

This week UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its climate change report, which states that urgent and unprecedented changes are needed to avert catastrophic climate change.

The enormity of the challenge may seem overwhelming for many people. Whilst recognising that climate change needs to be averted, people may feel unclear about what they can personally do to help, or sceptical about the impact of their individual actions.

That’s why I really like what Futerra, international sustainability strategy and creative agency, has done with communicating UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) using behavioural science.

Launched last week, Good Life Goals provide simple actions for individuals to follow to live more sustainable lives personally and contribute to the 17 SDGs.

Good Life Goals simplify sustainable living by making it:

– Personal and relatable

– Fun and clear

– Broken down into small achievable steps

– Optimistic

– Flexible for people to pick and mix

– Beneficial for individuals themselves, as well as other people and the planet,

and by giving everyone a role and uniting people through urging a collective action.

By providing personally relevant links to each SDG, the Good Life Goals send a message that we all, individually and collectively, can play an important role in defining the future,

says Futerra’s co-founder Solitaire Townsend, writing in GreenBiz,

I personally believe that people power is as important as powerful people.

How to achieve behaviour change with ease

I absolutely loved this morning’s Social Innovation Breakfast Club (all my favourite words in one title) at Cancer Research UK. I met incredible people from Cancer Research UK, Kin&Co, TSIP, National Voices, KindLink and Parkinson’s UK – all driven by purpose and desire for social change.

Amazing guest speaker Hannah Behrendt from “The Behavioural Insights Team” think-tank introduced their EAST model for behaviour change. The key principles of EAST are to make it:





Make it Easy

Remove hassle and simplify messages. Make the desired outcome a default option (e.g. pension auto-enrolment, automatic organ donor register, healthy meals at school). I always thought that walking rather than driving should be the default option in Google Maps. Defaulting is the easiest (if somewhat paternalistic) option to achieve behaviour change, unless we want people to switch from their current default (e.g. switch energy tariff or not use a smartphone at breakfast – my default behaviour). In which case,

Make it Attractive

Attract attention through impactful design, emotional communications and personalisation. I love speed indication displays on Green Lanes in London, which flash a sad face if a driver exceeds the 20 mph speed limit.

Offer incentives that trigger an emotional response. Financial incentives can backfire, whereas free food (always, always works for me), special perks and charity donations work a treat.

Make it Social

Introduce social norms – let people know that most people already do it (e.g. pay tax, donate to charity, recycle, etc.). Encourage reciprocity and doing something for somebody else. My personal favourite is Unicef’s Kid Power fitness bands and app, which encourage kids in the US to exercise: every 25,000 steps are converted into a food package for malnourished children in the developing world.

Make it Timely

Identify moments when people are most receptive to change, e.g. around major life events or geopolitical changes.

There is also a huge gap between intentions and actually doing something. Help people convert their intentions into a plan with timings – that way they would be more likely to follow through.

I like the EAST framework, it is simpler and more memorable than its predecessor MINDSPACE. And perhaps, they could change “Timely” into “Expedient”, so then EAST becomes EASE.