Ahh yes. Girl scout cookies are here and they are one of my weaknesses. Who can resist those little smiling faces when they ask, “Do you want some cookies?” It also doesn’t hurt that they’re yummy cookies.
So, how do you balance your weakness with a healthy lifestyle? The answer is simple. Proximity. As you may have realized, we don’t like effort. We are much more likely to limit our intake if we don’t have to exert ourselves to get more. For example, if you take two cookies out and then put the box away, you are more likely to limit yourself. But, if that box is sitting right next to you while you sit on the sofa . . . well … you know what happens.
However, most people forget that the same process will work in your favor when you want to develop good habits. For example, do you want to go to the gym? If your gym is on your way home, you are much more likely to go. But, if you have to travel across town, then you’ll likely find that excuse. Better yet, if you have your fitness gear at home, you just have to go downstairs. Still not working? Set a routine. If you work out first thing in the morning, have your clothes next to the bed, and your gym is in your house, you have eliminated virtually all of the “effort and proximity” issues. Your brain has less reason to resist. Then, if you are able to do this for 21 days, you have developed a habit. Your brain will then push you to continue; since we are “creatures of habit.”
So, simply put, proximity matters. If you have bad habits you want to eliminate, put more distance and effort between you and the behavior. If you want to want to develop those good habits, eliminate the effort and distance required. Put the TV remote up and take out the batteries. Put the book next to your favorite chair. Place the icon for your new language program on the center of your desktop.
Simple but it works.