Have you ever tried to lose weight, get fitter, start a business, or build a consistent work/studying schedule? Most people have tried something new in their life but only managed to do it for a few days before giving up.
You pick up the junk food on your kitchen table, you feel too lazy and tired to go for a run, you procrastinate on starting your business for months, and you get distracted from working/studying by constant notifications on your phone. The world seems to be working against you.
The truth is that starting something new and being consistent is difficult. Even if the new thing you are trying is good for you, it will still be difficult.
It is difficult because it involves changing your existing habits. It is difficult because the world is full of distractions that work against your goals and ambitions.
Consistency is an important ingredient for being successful at anything. So how can you be consistent enough to achieve your goals and ambitions? The answer lies in how the environment around you is structured.
Your environment shapes who you are and what you do. It determines your behaviours. You spend most of your days in the same environments. The same living environment. The same working environment. The same social environment.
Sometimes, without even realising it, your environment determines whether you are successful or not.
It goes without saying, if you can change your environment, then you can change your life. The great thing is that it is possible to change the structure of your environment.
Ways to change your environment: A few examples
If you want to eat healthy food, you should keep junk food and unhealthy snacks away from your house and workplace. You should substitute these with healthier food and snacks.
If you want to avoid distractions while studying or working, you should keep your phone in another room, switch off your television, or, better yet, work at a library where the default setting is to work without distraction.
If you want to get fitter, you should find accountability buddies who are already involved in fitness activities. It is more difficult to avoid a run or a gym session when other people expect you to be there.
If you want to start a business make a public announcement about what you are doing to create accountability. Some people in your social circle are going to keep asking you how the business is going. This positive social pressure can spur you on and ensure you deliver.
In each of the examples above you are adjusting your immediate environment so it is more supportive of the goal you would like to accomplish. You can use the same principles to support any good habit you would like to build in your life.
There a small cues that surround you each and every day, and you respond to them. If you manipulate these cues yourself, you can design your environment for success.
You must increase the number of steps required to complete bad habits and reduce the number of steps required to complete good habits. Every time you set out to do something new, ask yourself: how can I setup my environment such that it supports my goal?