This month I’d like to expand on last month’s vlog (link) and give more ways to help you create an environment to match your intentions and visions.
In last month’s blog I talked about some aspects that affect our behaviour and habits. When shifting your current lifestyle or habits, it’s important to get to the root of the barriers so that you can make lasting change. “If you’re diligent in recognizing the root cause of your bad behavior and the harmful influence responsible for it, you can simply eliminate or substitute it from your surroundings.” Article
4 WAY TO MAKE AN IMPACT ON YOUR ENVIRONMENT AND HABITS
MAKE NEW BEHAVIOUR EASY BY REDUCING FRICTION
When creating new behaviours it’s important to make these as easy as possible. I’ve had clients in the past who would have multiple steps to a routine, action or task, which decreased the likelihood of them completing it. I would help them reduce the number of steps and essentially make it as simple as possible. For example, having a complex system for creating your to do list. Rather it’s about creating simple categories based on similar tasks and blocking out time for grouped tasks.
Another aspect to making a behaviour easy is being organized! It’s important to set up your spaces in a way that makes it effortless to get ready and complete day to day tasks. I prepare everything at night so that in the morning, when I’m still sleepy, I can get ready without thinking and minimal decision making. Everything from my breakfast, lunch and clothing I am going to wear, is ready to go. This ensures I eat well, don’t have to rush out the door and I can use my decision making for more important work and life matters.
2. MAKE A TASK HARDER
The same technique as above can be used to help you shift out of old habits you want to change. Willpower alone is not sustainable in making change. If you create an environment that makes it harder to change an unwanted habit then you will have more success. For example, if you want to reduce your technology time in the evening, literally turn off the wifi in your home so that you have to take an extra step if you want to use it.
3. HAVE TASK ASSOCIATIONS
This means building off of existing habits. If you want to be more on top of doing your dishes, you can add it on to a task that you do when you come home from work. So if you empty your bag after work everyday, now follow it by doing your breakfast and lunch dishes right after.
Another aspect of task association is to focus on the tasks at hand, I call this zoning time. Just like I help clients zone spaces, zoning your time is another way to create boundaries around your intentions so that you stay on track. For example, if you work from home, instead of working on the sofa which is a place of relaxation, work at a desk or table. The subconscious association leads to behaviours that can help or hinder your plan to do work.
4. CREATE ROUTINES
Having routines are very helpful in staying focused and on track. Having too many choices can be distracting and hard to maintain. By setting out specific tasks for certain parts of the day that you stick to, helps create structure, momentum and the ability to stay focused. This is why regardless if I work with someone on business or personal organization, I always have them create a morning and evening routine.
When creating a routine it’s important to make clear boundaries around what you will do, ie. turn off all technology at 8:30pm and read.
I can attest to this as my routine and systems help me regardless of how i’m feeling. Whether I’m tired after a long day of work or not in the mood, I don’t have to think much when habits are now a routine which allows me to stay on top of things. It also means I save my decision making energy for bigger decisions.