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Ok, so change is hard, right?  But there are ways to make it easier. If there is an area of your life that you are trying to change, first, raise your awareness about it, then educate yourself about how to get better at it.

The last component, and the most difficult one to get over, is the psychology. We all have internal barriers, and often we can’t even identify them. And we are so good at rationalizing things to death! When it comes to volunteering, for example, it’s really hard to get started, so it’s easy to convince ourselves that they don’t really need our help, and we’re too busy this month, but next month will be better, or we won’t make much of a difference anyway.

Often we just avoid thinking about it, until months have passed and we think again, “man, I really should volunteer somewhere…” To get you out of this trap, the first two steps are crucial. If you are fully aware of the behaviors you want to change, and you know exactly what to do to take the next step, then it’s much easier to take action. Remember this important principle: You don’t have to convince yourself to do everything, you only have to convince yourself to do the NEXT thing.

Come up with just one step, which is clear and actionable, and put this on your to-do list. Make sure it’s as clear as possible. For example, instead of putting “research non-profits” on your to-do list, put “visit and sign up for their newsletter.” Do you see how the latter is much more specific and actionable than the former? This greatly increases the likelihood that you’ll actually do it and make progress toward your goal.

And remember, the same holds true for everything you put on your to-do list. Avoid using big, “scary” sounding words like, “organize,” “develop,” “implement,” and “create.” We get our opportunities to be proactive very infrequently, so if you have five minutes to get things done, you’ll always skip over those items on your list that sound difficult and time-consuming. If they sound easy (usually starting with words like, “call,” “click,” “email,” or “write”), you are much more likely to take action on them.

Regardless of the area of your life that you are trying to change or improve, remembering the three key steps of awarenesseducation, and psychology will help you to move forward and achieve your goals.

Thanks for reading!