Timeout! Check Your Environment
The choices you make throughout your daily life are the backbone of the Habits of Health System. If we can replace an unhealthy routine with a healthy choice that you repeat again and again, we can move you closer to the vibrant, active lifestyle you dream of living. With our approach, these changes are gradual and practical, such as starting small with an adjustment like drinking one extra glass of water a day to steadily transform your health over time.
Health is all about choice, and with our body’s natural programming wired toward automating routine, successfully installing a Habit of Health is like money in the bank: As long as the habit is in place, you continue to earn interest on the investment you made in installing it in the first place.
One of the biggest challenges for building Habits of Health—which we can actually turn into a force that works to our advantage—is recognizing the unseen influences that affect our choices. Each day, we surround ourselves with people, entertainment, and objects that either move us closer to or farther from our goals. The presence of these influences in our environment might not be an active choice in the way that deciding to put on your jogging shoes for a run might be, but you still have the ability to build an environment that makes all of your healthy choices even easier to make.
Here’s an example:
This is the time of year where you should usually think about replacing the air filters in your home. For the most part, air filters are an unseen part of your environment, working in the background to lower the amount of dust and particulate matter you and your family breathe each day. If you are diligent about your upkeep on this simple task, cleaner air can promote better respiratory health, can reduce your likelihood of having to cope with allergies or illness, and could even potentially lift your mood as you have less irritants to derail and distract you.
Here are some other ways you might harness your environment in your favor:
- Use soothing and uplifting decorating choices. Bright lights in the dining room can help you to eat less while dim lights in the bedroom can help you wind-down at the end of your day.
- Clean out your kitchen. For many people, removing unhealthy foods from the home is a straightforward way of eliminating temptation, so get rid of the junk and fill your home with healthy options.
- Tidy up. Starting with your bedroom, the place you start and end your day, spend an hour organizing and cleaning so that you can enjoy a more structured, less cluttered space. Sometimes, a crowded, messy environment can start to breed stress and anxiety.
- Spend more time with positive influences. While we often think about an environment as the stuff around us, people are just as important. Nurture friendships with people who support your goals and are themselves working to better for themselves and their families.
When you get home today, take a few minutes to reflect on your environment. Write down some observations about what you could change to build a bubble that supports your Habits of Health, and then start to make those changes little by little, week by week. I don’t expect you to remodel your house tomorrow, but if you begin to improve the world with which you surround yourself, the small, incremental adjustments will bear incredible fruit for your journey.