Make it obvious: Location matters

James Clear, author of "Atomic Habits," talks about 4 steps in the habit formation loop (this applies to good and bad habits). The first step is a cue, or something that signals you to perform a behavior. Cues should be obvious, meaning they are conspicuously located so you're more likely to engage in the healthy habit. For example, if you set a goal to work out during the work week, joining a gym you pass on your commute might signal attendance. I've found two practical applications for this concept that hopefully you can apply at home. In an effort to get my kids to make healthier food choices, I put fresh strawberries (their favorite fruit) on the island in our kitchen. They tend to go for what's convenient before accessing the junkier snacks that are located on the top shelf of the pantry ("make it invisible," will discuss in a later post). I've also been able to apply "making it obvious" to my yoga practice. My mat is laid out right next to my bed, and it cues me to practice either first thing in the morning or right before bed. It's not pleasing aesthetically, especially when the rest of the room is neat; however, I found that when the mat was rolled up in the corner of the room (about 3 feet away from where I practice), I tended to skip days. After a long work day and in addition to parenting, the 10 seconds it took to unroll the mat required enough mental and physical energy for me to avoid the behavior of practicing yoga. Think about healthy habits you want to develop and see if there are ways you can make them obvious.    

 

1 comment

  • Thanks for posting these tips. I completely agree with the ‘convenience’ factor. While I realize, ‘wow, am I really this lazy?’ it does make a difference when things are readily available.

    Susan Beaver

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