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When you start out a new habit like eating healthier … it seems really easy in the beginning. You’re optimistic, you have energy, it’s all going to work out great!

Unfortunately, it’s not always that easy — life gets in the way. More specifically, your environment gets in the way, conspiring against you to make it harder and harder to stick to the habit. This is especially true with eating habits. Let’s look at a few examples.

  1. You give in to temptations because there’s all kinds of your favorite snacks around your house, or at the office.
  2. You’re busy all day and don’t have time for shopping and cooking, and now you’re tired and just order fast food.
  3. Everyone around you is eating unhealthy things, so eventually you just join them, because the temptation is too great.

These are just a few examples of how our environment can be set up to make it very likely that we’ll fail. We can still overcome these things, but it takes a huge amount of focus and energy, and the truth is that most people won’t overcome them.

However, in this course, we’re going to be a bit smarter about things! We’re going to start setting up our environment to make us much more likely to succeed, and to do it joyfully.

Notice, though, that I said we’re going to start setting up our environment … you don’t have to do everything at once. You can get started by making a small change or two, see how things go, make a couple more changes, addressing the obstacles you see coming up in your environment, adjust as you go … this is the iterative process of developing a habit. You don’t develop the perfect environment (if that even exists) in one or two days … you learn as you go, getting better and better at it, addressing one sticking point at a time.

Important Changes to Your Environment

So … let’s talk about some things in your environment you can set up for a joyful, successful habit change …

The first thing is your physical environment:

Changes like this make a huge difference.

Look at your office environment too:

Not having the temptations in front of you is the best environment.

Next, is social support — this is a big part of a successful environment, and the right social environment can make healthy changes joyful:

Another important part of your environment is you … more specifically, your mind:

And super important is thinking about your motivation:

Another approach that’s important is to make small changes. When you find yourself busy, big changes get pushed back … but if you have a super small change, you can always say Yes to it. Keep your changes small — even if you’re doing a big challenge, like going vegan, have at least a small version of that challenge that you can do even if you’re busy.

Finally, another environment factor is having reminders. Put notes or other visual reminders around you so you don’t forget to do your new habit. Set calendar or phone reminders.


For the rest of this week, start to make changes to your environment. Each day, pick something above and implement it.