Every April 22 since 1970 has been celebrated as Earth Day – a time to reflect on how we can protect the environment, now and in the future. Beginning with about 20 million people in the United States honoring Mother Nature that first year, there are expected to be more than a billion people across the world observing the festival this year.
We’ve blogged here about Earth Day and, even more importantly, about the day after. What can we do to sustain our momentum when we are committed to making any big change? Desire alone is not sufficient – we need unwavering persistence to attain our goals, as well as hard work. To paraphrase Thomas Edison’s quote on Genius, Change is one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.
Here are some strategies to help you implement your new behavior as you seek to reach your goals – be they protecting the Earth or improving yourself:
Begin the process of change. Overcome the inertia that threatens to keep you from taking that first step – and acknowledge that a series of baby steps will eventually bring you to the realistic goal you have set.
Create obtainable objectives to achieve. When you decide on short-term, concrete targets along the way, you’ll be able to maintain your motivation and move from one achievement to the next.
Identify your resources. Once you recognize your personal strengths, you can draw on them to focus on what you can control, applying your energies where they can accomplish the most effective results.
Make a public commitment. Verbalizing your intentions will help you take them more seriously and give you the fortitude to overcome the bumps in the road that you’re sure to face. Making adjustments along the way will not dissuade you from your vow.
Reward yourself as you reach each milestone. These positive reinforcements will be energy boosters and the incentive to continue the process of moving closer and closer to your goals. And as you cross each milestone, decide how to continue on your path.
Accept help from friends and family. The support they provide will sustain you, particularly during difficult times. Join with others who share your aspiration for change and work together on projects.
Don’t worry if you can’t initially reach your target. Be patient and give yourself permission to let go of guilt and forgive – none of us is perfect. Put one foot in front of the other and begin again.
And don’t forget to savor your successes. Enjoy the good feelings that come with completing what you set out to do. Use that positivity plus the new skill sets you’ve mastered to apply to other challenges in your life.