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Habits and your habitat

How your environment can affect your habits.

Know your triggers

If you're struggling to get into a good habit (or break a bad one), look around and see if you can do things a little differently. There are things we do everyday that become so automatic we’re hardly aware we’re doing them.

Like when you sit down outside at your favourite café and light up a cigarette, or our get home from work and head straight for the fridge, or the couch, or the iPad, or you look at Facebook as soon as you you wake up.

Change your environment

Every day our physical environment shapes our actions. Finding ways to 'disrupt' or change our environment can help us to tackle bad habits and form new ones.

Convenience is key! Research shows that the easier something is, the more likely we are to do it. Habits guru Gretchen Rubin suggests making it easy to go right, and hard to go wrong.

  • Trying to form a morning walking habit? Get your gear ready the night before.
  • Looking at your phone in bed? Remove the temptation by recharging it in another spot.
  • Usually smoke as soon as you have a coffee? Start a new habit of sitting inside.
  • Keen to do more reading? Keep your book somewhere you'll see it daily, or carry it with you!

Other ways to change our habit environment and help ourselves succeed include:

  • Hanging out with people who are doing the habit we want to do.
  • Blocking websites that distract us, to avoid procrastination.
  • Having healthy snacks on hand and preparing food in advance, when we're not tired.
  • Having a habits partner who helps us stay committed. This might involve joining a group or team, finding a coach or mentor, or reporting to a friend we respect every day (research shows someone slightly removed is more effective, than someone we are really close to, like our partner or a parent).

Read more about changing your habit environment.

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