“You are a product of your environment. So choose the environment that will best develop you toward your objective. Analyze your life in terms of its environment. Are the things around you helping you toward success – or are they holding you back?”
–W. Clement Stone
A majority of our lives are spent running subconscious programs. These programs are activated based on cues or triggers in our environments. I recently did a whole video on habit transformation where I went much more in depth on what exactly these cues are so make sure you check that out if you haven’t seen it yet. Link here
But suffice it to say that these cues in our environments dictate what we do most of the time. Will Power is such a small part of the picture. You don’t consciously think about doing a majority of the actions that you perform during the day. Your body simply responds to the cues in your environment. Then you get some type of reward for performing that action or behavior.
Now what people don’t realize, or at least they don’t act on it, is that they are in control of their environment, and this gives you the ability to get your body to subconsciously do all of the things that you know you should be doing to get you closer to your ideal future.
Let’s look at an example that everyone can relate to: Imagine you just got home from an extremely tiring day at work. You had to go in early for a meeting, customers were extremely rude, and your brain is fried from working on a very difficult project.
You walk in and what is the first thing you see? A couch and a TV. This immediately cues your brain that you should just lay down. Before you can sit down, your stomach growls so you go to the kitchen. You open up the fridge, and what do you see at eye level, first thing staring back at you? Leftover pizza that you forgot to throw away from last week.
What do you think you would do in this situation?
Most people would grab the pizza, throw it in the microwave, lay on the couch, and watch TV for the next few hours.
This is not a problem with willpower! This is a problem with the environment.
This person has a horrible environment that is cueing them to behave in a way that will not benefit them in the long term. They have made it so easy to be unhealthy that it is almost impossible to do anything else.
Now, let’s look at another example.
This time you have engineered an ideal environment for maximum impact!
Again, you are just getting home from a difficult, exhausting day at work. You walk in, and what is the first thing you see? An exercise area with a simple set of weights, foam roller, and a yoga matt already laying out for you to use. You are hungry, but you don’t go to the kitchen because you can already smell the healthy dinner you threw together this morning with protein, vegetables, and some rice waiting for you in your crockpot/ pressure cooker. You already have your workout clothes sitting on the back of a chair so you don’t even have to walk upstairs to put them on.
Without even thinking about it, without having to summon some heroic level of willpower, you put on your workout clothes, turn on your favorite playlist that really gets you going, and do the HIIT workout that you have posted on the wall, knowing that you have a healthy meal waiting for you when you are done.
In the second example, you have made it so easy to exercise and eat healthy that it would be difficult for you to do anything else. Again this is not a question of willpower. The person in the second example is not some incredible willpower machine that doesn’t get fatigued at the end of a hard day.
They just understood how important their environment was and shaped it so they would naturally do those things they know they should be doing.
Remember you want to make things as easy as possible on your future self!
Think about the steps it takes for you to do what you want to do. Do you need specific equipment? Are there barriers that are making it more difficult for you to do these things? Cut out any unnecessary tasks.
For example, if you make healthy meals using your instant pot then don’t put it away after you are done using it. Leave it out so you can get to it easily. Put your running shoes by the door so you don’t need to go up to your closet and get them in order for you to exercise.
As for the habits and behaviors you want to avoid, add in some extra steps to make it more difficult. For example, put unhealthy food high on the shelves, or in the back of the freezer so you need to dig for it. Move your social media apps on your phone to a folder not on the home screen so that you have to take just those couple extra clicks to open them up. Adding in these extra steps will make you naturally without conscious control do them less.
Remember that when you “mess up,” by skipping a workout or making poor food choices, it is not a failure of willpower. Instead, think about it as a failure to create an ideal environment, and take the necessary steps to improve it.
Let each misstep be an opportunity to identify the issue and further improve your environment.
Over the next 2 weeks, I am going to be talking about both Hormesis and Epigenetics and then we are going to combine all of these topics to Become a Better You!
Again this is Floyd Meyer signing off.