“You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems. Your goal is your desired outcome. Your system is the collection of daily habits that will get you there.” -James Clear in Atomic Habits
Love this quote by James Clear from the book Atomic Habits.
A new year generally brings new goals. However, as you may have experienced, when you set your new year’s resolution – whether it’s to get in better shape, increase your income, improve your business, worry less, improve your relationships, etc…at first you may be gung ho on it, but quickly you’ll find your motivation and stamina subside.
Why? Well a main reason is that your environment is not conducive towards achieving your goals. Accordingly, you will find yourself wasting much energy and time trying to find the motivation and power to achieve your goal, as you’re battling an unaligned environment.
For instance, let’s imagine your goal is to lose weight. Well, if your kitchen is filled with fatty, processed foods – then it’ll be much harder to reach your goal to eat healthier and lose weight – as you’ll find it easier to reach for these unhealthy items.
According to James Clear, rather than focus on your end goal, it’s more effective to focus on creating easy systems comprised of easy daily habits necessary to reach your ultimate objective – and that means creating an environment aligned to helping you perform your daily habits.
The reason your environment is so important is that goals are achieved by creating and implementing daily habits. And your habits are triggered by the cues standing out.
Therefore, to make your habits happen, your environment must display the cues needed to trigger certain behavior.
For instance, back to the losing weight example. Let’s say losing weight requires eating healthy and working out. As such, rather than saying you’re going to eat healthy and workout everyday, focus on creating cues. Focus on setting up a healthy kitchen with meal prep options and/or placing your workout gear next to your bed and accessible to work out in the morning. At the same time, strive to remove distracting cues making it harder to accomplish your daily tasks (i.e. junk food).
Similarly, if your goal is to read more and have less screen time, then make it easy to read a book. Place a book on your side table. Keep a bookshelf nearby. Take the TV out of your bedroom.
In other words, when the cues that ignite a habit are hidden, they are easy to ignore. Therefore, if healthy foods and books are hidden, then it’ll be harder to get into the habit of eating healthy and reading.
“[A]lter the spaces where you live and work to increase your exposure to positive cues and reduce your exposure to negative ones. Environment design allows you to take back control and become the architect of your life. Be the designer of your world, and not merely the consumer of it.”
-James Clear in Atomic Habits
In summary, if you’re trying to accomplish a goal in 2021, then focus on creating a system of the tiny habits required to accomplish your end goals – and in turn, design your home environment in a manner that includes the necessary cues to trigger such positive habits.
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