One Unconventional Strategy for Building Healthy Habits
The other day I was hanging out with my good friend and her three-year-old daughter. Her three-year-old is working hard on consistently using the potty. While we were chatting my friend mentioned she would have to try to get her child to go potty pretty soon because they forgot to stop at the bathroom when they arrived. She shared how she’s been struggling to get into the habit of taking her daughter to the potty as soon as they arrive somewhere.
Let’s face it. Building healthy habits is tough. There’s a reason there’s an entire lucrative industry around helping people keep their New Year’s resolutions. Good habits can be difficult to develop.
I want to let you in on a secret though. Will power is not the problem. You have plenty of willpower. More will power will not suddenly make healthy habits easier. The real trick is setting yourself up for success.
The idea here is to take down as many barriers as possible so that your path to success is as smooth as it can be. This is why the fitness experts tell you to lay out your gym clothes the night before and nutrition experts tell you to prepare your vegetables in advance so they’re easy to grab when you need a snack.
My friend and I could have brainstormed all kinds of ways and reasons to convince her three-year-old that it’s cool to use the potty but instead we examined the barriers and came up with a surprising solution.
Our hangout spot has two parking lots, one near the bathrooms and one near the venue. She’d been parking near the venue then having to walk with her three-year-old past all the interesting activities in order to get to the bathroom. That’s a big barrier. Instead, next time she will try parking in the lot that will automatically have her child walking past the bathroom which makes the stop a much easier sell than having to walk past all of the fun things first.
This is an unconventional way of looking at things. Most of the time you will hear strategies on habit building and will power and motivation. But why not examine the road leading up to the habit and see where you can make it smoother?