In his book, Willpower Doesn’t Work, Benjamin Hardy argues that creating environment, not the will to succeed, is the way to create new and positive habits.
Let’s say that you want to write every day, which is, not coincidentally, a goal of mine.
In the past I tried to force myself to write. I left myself notes, set alarms, sent email reminders and calendar items. Yet I did not write consistently.
Hardy argues that by creating the proper environment I will achieve my goal with little effort. So what does this look like for me?
I decided that one I got caught up in the day creative writing was almost impossible. That left one option, write first thing in the morning. This worked, but not perfectly. I still struggled because I still had not created the proper environment.
First Thing in the Morning actually looked like this: turn on the lights, feed the dog, prepare coffee for me, start tea for Miss Karen, wait for tea to steep (maybe do dishes or fold laundry while I wait), bring tea and dog to Miss Karen (not always appreciated, by the way), turn on lights and open shutters in home office, log in to work computer, log in to Dashlane, open Penzu, start music, read notifications, read emails, respond to emails, close open programs, open Blog posts, etc.
Clearly there is too much standing between me and my goal.
We are selling our house, so long-term my plan is to put my writing station closer to the bed (it is now clear on the other side of the house and the dog’s bed is in between).
So here is my near term plan: (1) get up earlier, the dog will still be asleep and will not whine to be fed; (2) put off coffee, tea and other morning pleasantries until after writing (I don’t really need the caffeine to write) and (3) do not log on to the work computer, there are too many distractions, use the home Chromebook only.
I will keep you posted. Thanks for listening.