How to Achieve Your Goals

Why Your Environment is Key to Achieving Your Goals

One of the most important things to do when trying to develop new habits is to make sure your environment will support the daily behavior that will turn into a productive habit, that will then contribute to the completion of your goals. You want to do everything in your power to decrease friction between having a goal and actually taking action it to accomplish it. So here is how to achieve your goals by changing your environment.

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Your daily habits make or break you.

Goals are the results you want to achieve. The way you achieve those goals is to create systems of behavior (habits) that add up everyday to the eventual completion of your goal. Goals point you to the direction you should go, but your habits determine your progress. It’s important to have goals, but you can have hundreds of them and never achieve them if you don’t set yourself up for success. The thing that gives you results are your actions over time and what determines your actions is in part your environment.

DESIRE (goal) + CUE (environment) + ACTION (habit) + TIME = RESULT

All behavior is driven by the desire to solve a problem. Sometimes the problem is that you notice something good and you want to obtain it. Sometimes the problem is that you are experiencing pain and you want to relieve it.” – Jame Clear, Atomic Habits

Why isn’t will power enough?

You may think that will power determines your success, but the truth is that creating the right environment is the key to developing good habits. Motivation and will power get people to the gym on January first, but eventually they fade. Will power is only a short-term solution. So how do you keep momentum going? By creating an environment that will trigger your desired behavior, and decrease friction that would prevent you from taking action.

The majority of sensory receptors in the human body are in the eyes, so it makes sense that what you see plays a big part in the habit forming process. If you open your refrigerator or pantry and see just junk food, what will you reach for? The junk food. Likewise if you see healthy options you will chose that.

When you pair your desire with physical cues that make taking action easier, then repeat those actions over time, you are on your way to achieving your goal.

Make visual cues.

If you don’t see it you’ll probably forget it, or you’ll struggle with that one added step between thinking about your task and actually doing it. Make it obvious!

  • Put out your gym clothes the night before so you’re reminded to put them on the next day.
  • Place your bottle of water next to your bed and carry it around with you.
  • Tape your checklist or habit tracker on the door or mirror.
  • Put your planner next to your bed or on your desk.
  • Keep your journal next to your coffee cup to remind you to write in it each morning.
  • Have your vitamins right next to your breakfast foods so you remember to take them.
  • Cut up fruit and veggies ahead of time and put them at the front of the refrigerator so that they are easy to grab when you need a snack.
  • Prepare a few healthy meals on Sunday that you can quickly heat up instead of going for take out.

My chance of putting on sunscreen every day went to 99% when I put it right next to my foundation instead of in a drawer with other skincare items. Putting floss next to my toothbrush increased my chances of flossing. Having visual cues works!

Make a check list.

Making a check list may seem like a no brainer, but it’s very easy to think you’ll remember something and then you totally forget what you meant to do. I literally failed to do this last night and I regret it, I know I had 3 things I wanted to do today but I can only remember 2! So write it down in your planner or put it in a list app (I like Google Keep).

Minimize distractions.

Distractions can come in many forms. It can be visual clutter that “drowns out” the visual cues you actually want. There may be websites or apps that take up a lot of your time. It can come in the form of drama from people in your life. Identify what unproductive activities are taking up valuable time and see if you can redirect yourself to activities that will help you instead of hinder you. Block websites, uninstall apps, unfollow/block/mute people, and clear out distracting clutter.

Upgrade Your Tools.

So you don’t have to buy anything, but if you don’t already have the tools your goal requires make the investment. If you want to drink more water, get a reusable (and sustainable!) water bottle and reusable straws. Get eco friendly storage for meal prepping. Wanna get fit? Get a gym membership or some weights and a jump rope to use at home. Have a special space in your home for working out, even if it’s just a corner with a cute basket for your equipment. I have one of those cube bookshelves with a section just for my weights.

Related: Best Affordable Home Gym Equipment from Amazon

Put reminders on your phone.

So your visual cues will help but its good to have extra reminders, so download a reminder app, I use and love the Loop Habit Tracker app to remind me to do daily tasks at certain times.

Utilize these tips on how to achieve your goals and you’ll find that you develop new productive habits so much more easily!

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How to Achieve Your Goals by Changing Your Environment

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  1. I have just started using the phone reminders tip and it’s amazing how much it can help! Sometimes I just need that little nudge telling me what I should be focusing on in that moment lol

  2. Great advice! Thank you so much for sharing. I really need to avoid distractions as I am so easily pulled away from something without finishing it, just to focus on something else.

  3. Love the article. You really hit the nail on the head with this one. So many things we forget are due to “out of sight out of mind.” My sunscreen is also in the drawer because I’ve been trying to minimize clutter. Sometimes trying to win in life is a double-edged sword … haha.