Change your environment, change yourself.

Photo by Minh Pham on Unsplash

I used to be a chronic gamer. Playing games on my console for hours with my friends, playing online matches in Rocket League. In fact, I had such a problem that I often was at odds with my family. It was nothing less than an addiction. One fine day, I resolved to go one day without gaming. At the end of the day, I finally realized that I did have an addiction. The next day, I took a cloth, and covered my console so that I could not see it, and the results were staggering! I spent the whole day not even thinking of it, and I did get a lot of work done.

Using personal experience, I’m going to tell you a way to help ease your distractions in life, which is to change your environment so that you don’t waste time them. Let’s begin.

You want to know the truth behind self-control? It’s largely influenced by what is near you, and not how strong your mind is in resisting temptations. Your urge to do something increases, when the cue in your environment is clearly visible. We have to be clearly aware of the cues, such as watching television, which makes us lazy, making it harder for us to do anything else, other than watch television.

Cue-induced wanting is what happens when a cue is detected by the brain, like when a smoker is anxious, he picks up a cigarette to relieve him of his stress. This is the reason why you have to change your environment so that you do more of the good stuff. Have you seen anyone pursuing good habits in a negative environment?

This practice is an inversion of the first law of behavior change; make it invisible. Simple changes like leaving your phone outside your home office, or covering your game console with a cloth like I did, goes a long way to reduce time spent on this dumb stuff.

Self control can be useful for the short term, you can resist eating that sugary treat once or twice in a day, but it is not effective for the long term. Instead of summoning a new dose of willpower every-time you see a cue for a bad habit, that energy could be better spent over optimizing your environment.

Remove the TV out of your bedroom. Minimize your cues. It works wonders for you. In fact, do it NOW.

This trick was taken out of the book Atomic Habits, please do consider reading it, it is a solid book with cool tricks that you can use to achieve your habitual goals every day. Thank you for reading!

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