• Dr. Denise Dennis

Change Your Environment to Build Better Habits

Updated: Jan 5

They say we are the sum of the five things that influence us the most. For the most part, we are the sum of…

The five foods we eat most often

The five people we spend the most time with

The five ways we recreate on a regular basis

The five resources we use most to educate ourselves

And more!

Our Habits are Influenced by Our Environment

Our habits are greatly influenced by our environment. The things we do regularly, the people we see, the activities we engage in are all molded in the environment we live in. When the environment is healthy, habits tend to follow. In the same way, an unhealthy environment can promote unhealthy habits.

It's entirely possible to adopt poor habits in a good environment. It’s common to become sedentary or eat unhealthy foods even when you live among health-conscious people. The good news is, in this type of situation it’s fairly easy to shift your habits and make positive changes.

When your environment isn’t great, it can be harder to break free and make better habits.

Our environment is shaped by culture. Family, religion, career, and friendship all have a culture and it’s normal to be driven by being the same or similar to the culture. Breaking free can be hard, even when it’s the healthiest and best thing to do.

Change Your Environment, Change Your Habits

You have a lot of control over the five things that influence you the most. Even if you can’t control every aspect of your life, you can still make the best of the available choices no matter what. In many cases, changing your environment can help you build better micro habits. Here are some ideas that can help-

Take a walk during lunch: If your co-workers tend to get take out or go out to eat, shifting your focus during your lunch break can help. Set a micro habit of walking during your lunch break and use the time to be physically active rather than social.

Read during television time: Your family may relax and decompress by watching television. You can shift your focus and use the time to read, study self-help, or do something else that’s for your benefit. You don’t have to leave the room, just use your time in a different manner.

Make a salad for dinner: Your family may be the meat and potatoes sort, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make small shifts. Create the micro habit of adding a salad to the dinner table each night. You may be the only one who eats it, but the small shift in the environment can make a big difference.

Changing the environment you are in helps make adopting micro habits a bit easier. Shifting the focus and reducing the influences of others makes it easier to create new habits that work for you with or without their support.

For more tips on creating new habits that stick, download my free guide: Habit Hacks: Simple Hacks to Help You Build New Habits

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