Modify your environment to modify your behaviour
February 23, 2021•261 words
Reading time: 1-2 min
Your environment plays a significant role in determining your behaviour.
Cues in your environment can encourage or inhibit actions. For example, if you want to eat less junk food, place them out of sight, in a cabinet far from the position you typically stay at. This increases the friction to getting the item and eating it. As a result, you'd only open the cabinet to get it only if you really wanted to eat junk food. It’d be out of sight otherwise and you won’t have enough ‘activation energy’ or motivation to want go get to it.
Instead of relying on willpower to keep yourself from eating junk food, just make it non-immediately accessible. No discipline required.
Same applies for apps on your phone. ‘Time waster’ and endless-scroll-tendency apps should go inside a folder, on the second or third page from the main. This massively increases friction to get to those. Your home page could be filled with productivity apps, minimising the friction to open them.
Same applies for my mouse, where the USB plug stopped working and the lack of a functional mouse next to me acted as a massive deterrent against me spending time playing video games as playing without a mouse either makes playing certain 'high commitment' games difficult or less enjoyable.
This removes the need for discipline or willpower to achieve something or to avoid doing something.
This is highlighted in several books, including 'Atomic Habits' and 'The Sleep Solution'.
Your environment modifies your behaviour. Therefore, modify your environment to modify your behaviour.