We've learned that to profoundly change our behavior (and essentially our life), we must profoundly change our environment.
Many of us believe that our actions correlate to or reflect our intentions.
However, the reality is that a vital function of the mind is to identify and use patterns as shortcuts for handling the massive amounts of information we receive on a daily basis.
We are more reliant on environmental triggers or external cues than we might realize.
In a study on "habits versus intentions," it was discovered that students who transferred to a different university were more likely to change their daily habits. This group found it easier to change their habits compared to a control group, primarily owing to the absence of usual external cues.
This is consistent with studies on stimulus control theory, which investigate the impact of a stimulus on behavior.
A closer look at research presented in books such as Mindless Eating reveals how minor nudges can drastically affect behavior:
Using a big spoon urges you to eat more. You will eat more if you serve yourself on a large plate. Moving a tiny chocolate bowl six feet away from your workstation will decrease your intake in half. You'll lose track of how much you've eaten if you eat chicken wings and clear the bones from the table.
It's useful information to have, but the question remains—can we employ triggers like these to promote desirable behavioral changes?
The answer is: yes.
You can shape your behavior by changing the conditions around you. Because we know that discipline builds up like a muscle—and can also be worn out—environmental modifications can be effective in motivating ourselves to perform difficult things on a regular basis. We can harness our environment to improve our habits and change the course of our life.
Watch to learn more about how the little external nudges can turn our life around:
How our surroundings shape us by Sarah Robinson on TEDx.
Why You Need To Design Your Environment, a video summary of “Atomic Habits” authored by James Clear.
How your environment impacts your outcomes in life by Paul Gleeson on TedX.
Change Your Brain: The Power Of Neuroplasticity And Braincare, an interview with Dr Tara Swart.
"Quit Social Media!" - How To Master Discipline, Get In Shape & Reinvent Yourself, a webcast with Dr. Tara Swart.
Both built environments and natural spaces (nature) shapes our perceptions, body, and culture. There is a profound correlation between our environment and our mind and body. Create a space that stimulates the mind and be in spaces that foster life in all its many forms.
The small tweaks you do in your routines build up and accumulate over time, and you will see the drastic changes they will make.
So, how do you want to live and WHO do you want to be?
If you need professional help in learning how to modify your environment to improve your overall wellness, contact JarvisHypnotherapy today.