Transforming Your Environment to Achieve Goals

By: Josh Bryant

The brain connects an environment with a specific situation.   Think back to Pavlov’s dogs; Russian researcher, Ivan Pavlov, presented a stimulus (e.g. the sound of a metronome) and then gave the dog food. After a few repetitions, the dogs started to salivate in response to the sound.

Environment is Everything

Imagine dealing with a drinking problem; you overcame the booze, but decided to stop by the ol’ hostelry. You had no intention of sinking your teeth around a cold one, then you walk into the barroom, noticing familiar scenery, smells, sounds and then spot an old fling. Quickly, this situation evolves past a social call.

Boom, before you know it, you are a baker’s dozen sake bombs deep and wake up naked next to the mechanical bull.

What happened?  

The environmental stimuli triggered an old habit.

Ergo, some psychologists advocate changing habits on a vacation because all of the usual environmental cues are gone!

Trouble following through with your goals? Then “know thyself”, quoting Socrates, and take a look at your environment.  

You won’t earn money in your business if you are constantly surrounding yourself with people who “can’t get ahead”.

Communism has not and will not, ever, work because quoting Einstein, “A problem cannot be solved at the level of consciousness at which it occurs.” You don’t soar with the eagles if you’re plopping in shit with the ducks!

Bottom line is, give someone with a poverty mindset a millionaire dollar opportunity and they will take it back to minimum-wage level.  Their environment  creates  a self-image their subconscious mind guarantees gets fulfilled.  Without a change in environment,  the key to their self-imposed prison has been thrown away. 

Yes, environment can mean the difference between the poor house and riding around in a big ol’ Cadillac and smoking $50 cigars. 

This applies to EVERYTHING, not just business.  

Maybe school work seems to escape you every time you go to Starbucks because you space out or at the gym you want physical improvement but routinely find yourself cornered by the old dude that  yammers about his second-string old, glory days where he picked splinters out of his ass from riding the pine on the intramural flag football team and you accomplish nothing.

Study at the library.  Find a new place to train.

Motivation is short term and fleeting so creating and then  leveraging your environment is the strategy you need to utilize in achieving your goals.

Here are some proven strategies to make an environment conducive to achieving your goals.

Create Visual Cues

Putting floss next to your toothbrush makes you more likely to floss.  The odds of you completing an important task exponentially increases with the aid of a visual cue.

  • Put your gym clothes next to your bed if you plan on training first thing in the morning.
  • Have your vitamins next to your breakfast food so you don’t forget to take them.
  • Have your post workout shake in your gym bag.
  • Put your daily to-do list on your mirror. 

Make things obvious by putting visuals right in front of your face and, with repetition, you will cultivate a desirable habit.

Diminish Distractions

Real and metaphorical clutter everywhere takes your eye off the prize.  Social media scrolling or apps that serve no productive purposes might distract you.  Perhaps you are preoccupied by drama that lacks relevance.  Again, know thyself, take inventory of what unproductive activities are draining your reserve of non-refundable time in this bank of life, and now you can redirect your finite psychic energy to productive activities that help you get better.  Block websites, delete apps, avoid/unfollow/mute distracting people and, as you cut out clutter, you will have created a more conducive environment to achieving goals.

Opt-Out vs. Opt-In

There is a famous study that showed how numerous European countries skyrocketed their organ donation rates: they required citizens to opt-out of donating rather than opt-in to donating. You can use this information to catalyze a goal-achieving environment in your life by opting your future self into better habits ahead of time! For example, you could schedule and pay for a session with a personal trainer today when you are motivated. When the session rolls around, in your head, you will have to rationalize opting-out rather than motivating yourself to opt-in.

Final Thoughts

Your  brain is hardwired to favor routine over novelty, even if that routine is unproductive. Environment influences everything, so you now have actionable steps to create an environment that makes you succeed.

Build successful habits with gratitude HERE.