TWEAK YOUR ENVIRONMENT – BETTER ENVIRONMENT BETTER BEHAVIOR

“You don’t have to be the victim of your environment. You can also be the architect of it.” James Clear

“Man is largely a creature of habit, and many of his activities are more or less automatic reflexes from the stimuli of his environment.” G. Stanley Hall

Change agents frequently find that what appears to be a people problem is a situation problem. Instead of trying to change people’s attitudes, they tweak the environment and make change happen painlessly. Instead of relying on workers following proper procedures, safety engineers install guards and controls to prevent workers from taking shortcuts. They know that it’s easier to tweak the environment than to force compliance. We can likewise tweak our own environment to foster good habits and discourage bad ones. 

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FIVE RULES FOR BEHAVIOR CHANGE

The Four Laws of Behavior Change developed by Atomic Habits’ author James Clear is designed to encourage good habits by reinforcing each component of the habit loop:

Cue: Make it Obvious
Craving: Make it Attractive
Routine: Make it Easy
Reward: Make it Satisfying

He reverses these four laws to break a bad habit. Make the Cue invisible, the Reward unattractive, the Routine harder to do, and the Reward unsatisfying. He does a fantastic job of providing practical suggestions for changing your habits.[i] James Clear’s book complements Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit. The Power of Habit helps us understand habits, but it isn’t a manual for behavior change. Atomic Habits answers that need. I have a narrower focus; combining behavioral science with exercise science to transform your body. Continue reading FIVE RULES FOR BEHAVIOR CHANGE

Midnight munchies

ENVIRONMENT TRUMPS WILLPOWER

Change doesn’t have to be difficult. The belief that “change is hard” is one of the biggest myths about human behavior. When we design a positive environment, change happens naturally. Making the right behavior the easier or only option is the key. The more committed you are to shape your environment, the less willpower you’ll need. Anyone serious about losing weight should throw away all the junk food in their home. This would make eating junk food impossible. Continue reading ENVIRONMENT TRUMPS WILLPOWER

Environmental Design is a Great Substitute for Willpower

Willpower is not an effective long-term strategy for behavior change because it is inconstant. When we are stressed-out, tired, and hungry our willpower will leave us vulnerable to any temptations we encounter. Fortunately for us the more committed we are, the less willpower we will need. Shaping your environment will shield you from temptation.  By removing the temptations that reward bad habits, we can extinguish them without exerting our willpower. It doesn’t require willpower to shape our environment. It requires commitment. Continue reading Environmental Design is a Great Substitute for Willpower

Behavior Change – The Elephant in the Room

If you want to change your behavior, you must address the Elephant in the room. In the New York Times bestselling book, The Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard, the authors describe the struggle we all face when we want to change our habits. The battle is between the logic-driven part of our brain, the Rider, and the emotion-driven part of our mind, the Elephant.[i] The Rider is weak and prone to overthinking things, becoming overwhelmed by decision fatigue and analysis paralysis. The Elephant, on the other hand, is powerful and instinctive, fueled by emotions and primal urges. The Elephant can easily overwhelm the Rider, especially when he is indecisive. The Path they travel is the external environment. The Rider can influence the Elephant’s behavior by shaping the Path, but he cannot overcome him through brute force. Continue reading Behavior Change – The Elephant in the Room