A short discussion on the importance of environment in behavior change. Can it really affect our day-to-day life?
Willpower is like an 8 year old. It wants to do well and sometimes it exceeds my expectations, but I’d be foolish to expect it to handle life’s challenges without support.
Instead of relying on willpower, designing a supportive environment is an easier way to do more of what you want. There’s so much willpower has to battle against.
For one, most actions are habits, so you’re not even conscious of them. (Thank god I don’t have to think through how to brush my teeth every morning.) And when I do want to make conscious decisions, my willpower is up against my phone addiction, my different moods, and my growing tiredness with every second I spend awake. This is an overwhelming contest for an 8 year old.
Design a better environment. Change will happen naturally.
Inspired by James’ tweet, here are some ways I experimented with my environment:
• I used to inhale the Trader Joes Cheetos. If I bought them, they’d be eaten within 48 hours. Solution—don’t buy them.
• I get distracted during the day with notifications. Solution—put my phone on airplane mode.
• Sometimes I don’t feel motivated to exercise. Solution—schedule a workout with a friend. Rather than doing the same thing and expecting different results, do more of what you want by designing environments that make your desired actions as easy as possible.
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