Changing Habits? Change your Environment


Are you trying to create new, healthier habits? Take a look at your current environment for inspiration on how to set yourself up for success. 

One of the best ways to create consistency with building habits is to set up your environment to make it easy. While we can try to rely on willpower to make choices, at some point we get tired and making healthy choices gets difficult. 

James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, has this to say: 
“By changing your surroundings, you can place a hurdle in the way of bad behaviors and remove the barriers to good ones. I like to refer to this strategy as environment design.

Here’s an easy way to apply environment design to your own life: think about your environment in relation to the number of steps it takes to perform a habit. To make good habits easier, reduce the number of steps to do them. To make bad habits harder, increase the number of steps between you and the habit.”

If we know that our external environment has a large impact on the decisions we make, then we can start making changes to set ourselves up for success. 

For example, if you are trying to set a habit to exercise in the morning, then you can put your running shoes at the side of your bed. This simple action can remind you to put them on when you wake up and once you have your shoes on you are more likely to stick to your plans to exercise. 

Try This

Write your list of habit goals and then look at your environment and determine how many steps does it take to perform that habit. With each item on your list, determine how you can make it easier for a good habit and harder for a bad habit. 

  • If you want to eat more vegetables, but forget about them in the refrigerator drawer, then cut them into easy to grab pieces and place them in a container that you love, something that will grab your attention and bring you joy to use. 
  • If you are trying to drink more water, buy a metal water bottle and put your favorite stickers on it so that you want to use it all the time.
  • If you want to avoid the cookies you made for a dessert, don’t leave them on the counter where it’s easy to grab. Put them in a container in the back of the fridge or cupboard

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