How Does Your Environment Affect You – Understanding Habits
Your environment has a powerful psychological effect. It’s a place that either supports you or not. Learn to become aware of the sub-conscience forces that drive you and you’ll learn to control your life. Let’s get started.
Engineering Your Environment to Build Positive Habits-
Why does working out seem easier for some and impossible for others? Why are some people more successful than others? Each of these can be answered with one word – habits.
What is a Habit?
Habits are the actions and routines we engaged in every day. It’s what we do unconsciously day after day that makes us, us.
For a more literal definition, a habit is:
“a recurrent, often unconscious pattern of behavior that is acquired through frequent repetition” – the Free Dictionary
“a behavior pattern acquired by frequent repetition or physiologic exposure that shows itself in regularity or increased facility of performance” – Meriam-Webster Dictionary
“a new trend that will last” – Urban Dictionary
A lazy person doesn’t wake up in the morning and tell themselves “I’m going to do nothing today!”. They wake up and subconsciously let their day spiral out of control.
Similarly, someone with a nail-biting habit doesn’t wake up and look forward to repeating the habit. The action is so ingrained in them, they do it without thinking.
Habits are formed from repetition. Every time you repeat an action, you strengthen the neural pathway that fires it. Through repetition, you tell your brain to stop wasting conscious energy and start doing it subconsciously.
Some researchers say habits are formed in 21 days while others claim it takes much longer - as long as 245 days to solidify. If this is so, it must also take a considerable amount of time to break a habit. You not only have to stop the action, you also have to become aware of what’s triggering it.
Habit Loop Examples
A habit is broken down into three steps - trigger, action, and reward – called the habit loop.
The trigger is exactly what it sounds like, something that triggers you to act. If you’re stressed at work that may trigger you to bite your nails. If you see a bar of chocolate that might trigger you to crave sugar. If you hear the phone buzz that might trigger you to look at it.
The action of performing the habit is when the decision part of your brain turns off and the emotional part on. You’re no longer thinking consciously “Oh, this whole bar of chocolate is definitely going to be good for me”. You just eat it.
The last step in the habit loop is the reward. Feeling a buzz from smoking, sugar from chocolate, dopamine from social media likes.
If you’re trying to break or build a habit, it starts with the trigger. For bad habits, you must become aware of what you were thinking and doing before the action.
Personally, I’ve come to grips with my phone addicted. This is not something I’m proud of, but whenever it dings, rings, or buzzes I find myself picking it up. And this usually leads to a negative spiral of getting lost in social media or a Youtube rabbit hole.
To break it down, the trigger in this example is the sound of a notification and/or seeing the phone. To stop the habit, I’ve started silencing my phone when working or with people. Also, I try to leave it out of sight, so I don’t instinctively pick it up when I’m not thinking.
Becoming aware of the habit and trigger is the hardest part. One way of discovering habit triggers is by asking yourself questions. Ask yourself:
Being curious about the habit will bring light to what triggered it. Once you’re aware, you’ll be able to reengineer your physical and mental surroundings to break it and build positive ones.
How Does your Environment Affect You?
Your environment has a huge effect on you. Professor NiCole R. Keith, Ph.D. at Indiana University – studied the health benefits of keeping your home organized.
The study found that participantswho kept their homes clean were notably healthier and more active than those who didn’t. Being organized was more of a predictor of physical health than living in a walkable neighborhood.
Another study posted in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin journalfound that people with cluttered homes were more likely to be depressed and fatigued. While those living in tidy homes had more energy and felt more at ease.
Study after study shows this. Clean environments equal clean triggers equal clean habits.
If you’re a busy parent or have a demanding job, there are life hacks you can incorporate. Instead of trying to tackle everything all at once, try to invest 15 – 30 minutes a day into organized your home. If you still don’t have time, consider hiring a maid or using a laundry pickup and delivery service to outsource some of the work.
Your habits and routines are tightly interwoven into your living situation. Your home is littered with physical and emotional triggers. Knowing this, you can either make your home a place that positively triggers you to work out, be productive, and eat healthy; or the opposite.
Change Your Habit and Watch Your Growth
The facts are clear. Environments have a powerful effect. Clean homes encourage positive habit triggers which leads to healthy lifestyles.
Learn to become aware of your emotions, thoughts, triggers, and habits. Clean your environment and remove negative habit triggers. Start cultivating positive triggers that will develop positive habits. Create systems to avoid burning yourself out from the workload.
Outsource what you don’t want to do and focus on what matters. Become a better person for yourself, your family, and your friends. It starts small.
If you’re in the market for cultivating positive habits let us know.Our team of trainers would love to talk with you about your physical goals. Make the gym a habit you look forward to. It starts today.
The key to creating a new Habit is DECIDING to make the change not WANTING the change. Their is real power when you decided over want.