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Optimize Your Surroundings

The world around us has a tremendous influence on our behavior, and for that reason we often blame external factors for our shortcomings. Yes, you might reach for an extra donut because your boss makes your workplace stressful, but you have more power to change your surroundings for the better than you realize.

If we can consistently improve our surroundings, then we can better position ourselves to create and sustain Habits of Health.

Your surroundings are typically comprised of:

  • People – Who are you surrounded by and how do their actions and habits affect your habits and daily behaviors?
  • Places – What are the hidden forces and structures that we surround ourselves with?
  • Things – What objects and items do we place around us and rely on for comfort, convenience, and leisure?

In the Habits of Health System, we devote a great deal attention to each of these individual points, but you can begin to shape change in your life by thinking broadly about these ideas. To start, try asking yourself the following questions:

  • Who in my life consistently leads me, directly or indirectly, to make healthier choices? Example: A healthy friend or family member who invites you to be active.
  • Conversely, who consistently leads me to making unhealthy choices? Example: A coworker who encourages you to have a few drinks on your lunch break.
  • Are the places in your life organized to support healthy choices? Example: You put healthy foods on your counter tops and toss out the junk food stash.
  • Are the things in your life supporting or hindering your health? Example: The television in your bedroom keeps you from falling asleep at night.

Your personal answers to these questions will vary as you evaluate your life and look at the elements that either drive you closer or farther from your health goals. The more you challenge yourself to be aware of how your surroundings shape your choices, the greater your ability to transform those surroundings becomes.

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