I’m beginning to realize the lack of control I have over my actions. When I’m with certain friends, I act differently than I would with others. Where I go, will determine what I wear. How I’m feeling, will impact my decision-making. Even the time of day can have an effect on my patience. We have so much less control over our decisions than we think we do. Our behavior is largely influenced by our environment.
If I get a compliment on a new shirt, I’ll be more likely to wear it again. But if I feel out of place, I’ll think twice before putting it on. But that makes sense, right? Past experiences help form future behaviors through trial and error.
When I get a positive reaction, it reinforces behavior and a negative one will deter me from it.
What makes up your environment?
Our environment can be broken down into 5 categories, which influence behavior.
Environment Example Behavior
1. Location / At work / Dress appropriately
2. Time of Day / 9:00 / Drink coffee
3. After event / After eating / Rinse dishes in the sink
4. Social Influence/ With athletic friends/ Eat healthy food
5. Emotional State/ Stressed out/ Eat comfort food
However, our environment is subjective and can trigger a different response for you than it would for me. In the morning, you might drink coffee and I may drink tea. After eating, you might clean your dishes and I’ll leave them on the counter. When stressed, I might binge and you might exercise.
Your environment is the first step in The Habit Loop, which sparks a craving, behavior and then reward. But let’s focus on how you can design your environment to create good habits.
Why is your environment important?