What Makes You Think You Can Change the World? And How to Do It?

image: Earth in common"The earth is what we all have in common."  ~ Wendell Barry  

Since we are all in the same boat (on the same planet), so doesn't it make sense that we should all be interested in making this world into a better one -- if we only knew how.  Actually, we do.  It all starts with our mindsets and actions.  Our thoughts, habits, and approach to life can make a difference in transforming our personal and global world.  Here's why.

The post, Sustainability Quotes: Nourishing our Thoughts, Shaping our World, speaks to the use of changing our thoughts as a means to creating receptivity to sustainability.  By rethinking traditional approaches there's the possibility of a change in perspective.  Sustainability is that perspective.  When we make a shift in our thinking, we generate different results in our outer world.  As Norman Vincent Peale said, "Change your thoughts and you change your world.'    

Following thought is habit and as it turns out, habits are powerful forces, and companies are using those forces when interacting with customers and employees.  The post, Are Habits More Powerful Than Decisions? Marketers Hope So states "habits, rather than conscious decision-making, can shape as many as 45 percent of the choices we make every day, according to a study  from Duke University."   Of course, we are all familiar with habits - they are routines of behavior that are repeated regularly and tend to occur subconsciously, without one directly thinking consciously about them.    In the world of sustainability plans, this unconscious display of habits is a fertile ground of opportunity offering low hanging fruit for eco action.   

The gap between awareness and action may represent the single largest opportunity for global sustainability progress.  While historical efforts have focused on expanding awareness, the recent explosion of information and global interest indicates that the “word is out” on most major issues.   The next step is closing the growing gap between knowledge and personal action.  

To improve in a specific area or program, the process of increasing awareness will yield improvements.  The same applies to living a sustainable lifestyle.  Most of us recognize that change can be tricky:  habits and convenience make it far easier to slip back into the comfortable way of doing things.  However, implementing effective sustainable change does not have to be a laboring process.  The key is conscious awareness.  

 Awareness is the tool used to help discover the personal patterns of behavior that offer low hanging fruit for a sustainable lifestyle.  For instance, are you aware of your habits related to energy?  Consider how and when you consume the most energy in your day?  How could you be more efficient? What inspiring eco actions could you take?  

Conscious awareness is key to sparking the eco awareness in a personal sustainability program.  As noted in our eco friendly training, following are aids to assist in raising awareness: 

•    Consciously notice what is most inspiring to you about living green and take eco action in those areas.

•    Notice your current patterns and invoke curiosity as to which eco actions would be a sustainable substitute.

•    Applaud your efforts: small changes add up.  In fact, daily habits have the most impact.

•    Observe how new changes become the new habit/ norm.

•    Momentum brings visibility to previously inaccessible ideas and behaviors.

•    Gain speed: There is ease in taking more eco action.

•    Inspire by living the example.

Discovering hidden treasures in your daily habits begins by becoming conscious of your cues, rewards, and routines as well as creating new habits and eco actions you take.  Change your habits and watch your world unfold differently. Remember, every eco action adds up.  Your eco actions matter.  Together, we can all make positive change in our world.  "Sow a thought, and you reap an act. Sow an act, and you reap a habit, and you reap a character. Sow a character, and you reap a destiny.” Charles Reade

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