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We all know that changing our behaviors is hard. Knowing we should exercise isn’t enough to get us into the gym or out on the Trail every day. It’s why most New Year’s Resolutions don’t last beyond January. But there are three components to changing behaviors, and considering these might make it much easier for you to incorporate those new things into your life.

Whether it’s “going green,” improved productivity, or incorporating a new initiative, like volunteering, into your life, if you consider the following three steps, you can do these, or most anything else, much easier.

The first component is awareness. Most of our habits are so ingrained in our lives and behavior that we don’t even recognize them anymore.  Becoming aware of the behaviors that aren’t serving you is the first step in changing them. For example, if you want to incorporate more environmentally friendly habits into your lifestyle, it’s important to understand what you’re doing that doesn’t serve that desire. Do you leave the water running when you brush your teeth?  Do you participate in your city’s recycling program? Do you buy recycled products? Try to think about areas where you could improve, perhaps even make a list. Then the next time an opportunity presents itself, you’ll be more likely to remember that you want to change the behavior instead of just being on “autopilot” as you move through your day.

Do you pay attention to how you work every day? Do you know how often you check your email in a day? The answer might surprise you. Do you have a process for managing your workload, or do you just respond to whatever calls your attention all day? Give some thought to your existing behaviors. Once you are aware of what you want to change, to the extent that you can articulate them to someone else, you’ll then become aware of opportunities to change them. What you measure is what gets improved. So what are YOU measuring?

Tomorrow I’ll post step 2, Education . Thanks for reading!