The busier that we become and the more things that we add to our plate -- we are more prone to procrastinate. We do this for so many things -- the PILES of papers, the laundry, our workouts, the wrapping of presents...the list goes on!
Here are a few simple fixes to help you take action:
- Schedule the shit out of them. Get specific. Write down exactly what you are going to do, where exactly you are going to do it, and when you are exactly going to make it happen.
- Be realistic and honest about your intentions! Plan things that you KNOW you can actually achieve.
- DO IT whether you feel like it or not. Motivation is not a reliable tool. Just decide to put your big girl pants on and do that damn thing no matter what. Often when you start something and get the good vibes going you remember how good it feels when you just do it.
Environment is the invisible hand that shapes human behavior. Out of sight, out of mind. We often choose things NOT because of WHAT they are but WHERE they are.
If I walk into the kitchen and see cookies on the counter I'll probably pick up a few and start eating even if I hadn't been thinking about them beforehand and didn't necessarily feel hungry. We are changed by the world around us. How does this make you feel? Out of sight out of mind might be onto something, huh?
Given that we are more dependent on vision than any other sense, it should come as no surprise that visual cues are the greatest catalyst of our behavior. For this reason, a small change in what you see can lead to a big shift in what you do. Thankfully, we don’t have to be victims to our environment — we always get to decide. When the cues that spark a habit are subtle or hidden, they are easy to ignore.
I’ve experienced the power of obvious cues in my own life. I used to buy asparagus and put it in the crisper at the bottom of the refrigerator and forget about it. By the time I remember the asparagus would have gone bad. I never saw them so I never ate them. Eventually I re-designed my environment and started putting all my veggies on the bottom shelf out of the drawer. The next time I bought asparagus there they went where I could see them. Almost like magic, we started eating the asparagus before it went bad because it was obvious rather than out of sight.
If you want to make a habit a big part of your life make the cue a bigger part of your environment. By sprinkling triggers throughout your surroundings you increase the odds that you’ll think about the habit throughout the day and make sure the best choice is the most obvious one.
Here are a few ways you can redesign your environment to make the cues for your preferred habits more obvious:
- If you want to remember to take your vitamins each night, put the pill bottles directly next to the sink where your toothbrush is on the bathroom counter.
- If you want to read every night before bed place your book on your pillow.
- If you want to drink more water fill up a few water bottles each morning and pay place them in common locations around the house
- If you want to put lotion on your bus after a shower place the lotion by your towel
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