I have been thinking a lot recently about how to motivate people. From family and friends to employees to strangers — it’s really quite difficult to motivate people to take action. It is so easy discuss what is wrong with the world or ourselves, but it is much harder to actually step up and create positive change. This is especially true when it comes to making fundamental changes towards becoming sustainable.

The funny thing is that “change is the only constant,” so we are either changing for the worse or changing for the better. Part of the problem is that so much of the pressure that we get to change is based on fear, and I believe that true progress can’t come from a fear-based reaction. True change must come from an educated, balanced, and conscious decision.

Here are some of the keys that I have come up with to motivate people to encourage positive change. I think that this is true for everything from making healthier choices to changing the way we treat the planet.

1) Reduce confusion – Without clear guidelines and a PLAN most people shut down and become unresponsive.

2) Reward every step in the right direction -– Baby steps are imperative. I think people do change, but they usually don’t change overnight.

3) Be Positive – negativity grows negativity, positivity is contagious!

4) Educate –  Fear mostly comes from the unknown, the more education people have the easier it is to tackle bigger issues

5) Embrace setbacks as learning experiences – this is normal and usually is a sign that change is happening.

What ways have you found to motivate yourself or others to create positive change?

written by Rachel Burmeister, Internship Coordinator 2011-2012

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