Environment Design For Your Habits

How important is your environment to sticking to good habits?

James Clear argues that it’s the most important factor, even more than willpower. I’ve posted about willpower before. Willpower, like a muscle, gets tired – over the course of making decisions and exerting self-control, your willpower depletes. After that happens, you are more likely to make decisions based on your environment. So what does this mean? You can design your environment to help you make better choices and stick to habits. Here are some examples:

Let’s say you want to limit your snoozing in the morning. If you put your alarm across the room so you have too actually get out of bed, that will definitely help. Then also set the delay brew on your coffee maker to start making coffee right before you wake up, so you arise to the smell of a fresh pot of coffee. If you are already out of bed, and have a pot of coffee hot and ready in the kitchen, do you think that could help you not hit the snooze?

Let’s say you want to watch less TV. Well, you can do what I did in 2008 and just get rid of your TV all together. Or for a less drastic option, maybe just get rid of the TV in your bedroom so you can read before going to bed instead of watching late night TV. Or maybe put the remote control away in a drawer, so if you want to watch TV, you actually have to walk into a different room to grab it and turn on the TV.

I wanted to start a habit of taking my vitamins everyday. What made it difficult was that I had a lot of different vitamins so it was a process to take out 1 multivitamin, 1 fish oil, 1 probiotic, 1 vitamin C, 1 turmeric, and 1 Protandim every morning, so I would just skip it. But once my mom gave me one of those super dorky vitamin holders that has a compartment for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, etc, it was way easier to take my vitamins. Now I take them almost every day. (Thanks mom!)

Here is an awesome article about 10 easy ways to design healthier eating habits: http://jamesclear.com/eat-healthy-without-thinking

Here are links to a couple other articles written by James Clear on this topic:

http://jamesclear.com/choice-architecture

http://jamesclear.com/environment-design-organ-donation

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