Our environment has a huge impact on us. One famous study shows environmental cues, such as having candy present on our desk, can lead to an increase in consumption. Small environmental changes can go a long way. That same study shows that when the candy jar moved just six feet away, and off the desk, people consumed 48 percent less.
Small changes and cues can go a long way for our well-being goals. Try these two strategies to better set your environment up for success.
Get rid of the unhealthy cues – Take inventory of what is around you. Are the things you’re surrounded by supporting the goals you have set for yourself? If not, try to remove or change these cues to better support your goals. If you find yourself grazing snacks from habit rather than hunger, try moving them away from your desk. Take a new route to your daily activities that doesn’t pass that fast food lunch option. Whatever it is, these small shifts can go a long way.
Introduce more healthy cues – This is the other side of the coin. We are creatures of habit, and you can replace habits with ones that work better for you! Maybe you place your gym bag by the door or in your car to make it easier to get your body moving. Can you use social media and apps to your advantage by having notifications for your healthy habits? Maybe ask a friend to be your exercise buddy or rotate cooking healthy meals with those in your inner circle. Social support goes a long way in the ability to start and maintain goals.
Like a plant, we need a supportive and rich soil around us in order to flourish. Learning to design a healthy environment is a skill that will support you now and in the future.