When we set goals for ourselves, the majority of us believe and rely upon sheer determination, persistence and a "never say die" attitude. We often fail to look at the less obvious yet equally as important factors such as your environment and your current habits.
The problem with relying on pure willpower to achieve your goals is it requires you to wake up motivated and inspired each morning; it's unrealistic to say the least.
We only have so much mental energy on any given day, there are times when you're going to feel drained and you simply won't have that willpower to motivate yourself.
Instead of relying upon these unrealistic factors to carry you to your goals, check out the rest of this guide to learn about how you can set up your environment to help you achieve your goals.
Why your Environment is Key to Achieving your Goals
Reason 1: If your environment is right, you don't have to rely on pure willpower
As previously mentioned, we only have so much willpower in a day. Making the right choices each and every day to make progress towards your goals can be awfully draining.
For example, imagine you're trying to lose weight but you're surrounded by a fridge full of cakes and cupboards full of sweets; it's going to use up a lot of your mental energy trying to resist eating such delicious food.
And the truth is on days where your feeling lethargic and drained, it's going to be impossible to resist. In fact, it's likely that there will be more days where you give in to the temptation than resisting it. This is due to you using up your mental energy on other things like your career, education and relationships.
By making sure that your environment is conductive to your goals, you don't have to rely on making choices and willpower. To do this all you have to do is make sure that your environment aids you towards achieving your goals, this could be through physically re-arranging your environment or joining communities that are aligned with your goals.
Back to the example of losing weight, imagine instead of your kitchen being full of junk food, it's full of nutritious fruit and vegetables. Think about how much easier it's going to be to achieve your goals.
By making your environment conductive to your goals, you don't have to exert any mental energy on trying to achieve your goals because there are no actual choices to make.
Reason 2: If your environment is right, you can avoid being influenced by external factors
Another key reason for why you should place a priority on your environment when trying to achieve your goals is it can help to block out external influences which may sway you off your path or prevent progress.
If you question anyone who you notice is productive or a high achiever, you'll recognise they spend the majority of their time in environments that are conductive to their goals.
Those who are consistently getting elite level grades spend the majority of their time at either the library or an appropriate studying environment; by doing this, they're less likely to be influenced by other stuff such as going out or wasting time watching the tv.
Similarly, there's a reason why elite level athletes spend the majority of their time at training facilities and tailored cafe's. This is not only because these environments are aligned with their goals but in these environments they don't have anything to distract them. They can stay focused on the job at hand.
Reason 3: If your environment is right, you can start building habits
Many of our habits are nearly if not entirely dependent on our environment. This is because we have so many environmental triggers in our daily life.
For example, maybe you have a habit of getting a McDonalds on your way home from work. What you don't realise is this habit is entirely dependent on an environmental trigger.
A simple way to break this habit is through taking a different route home. This way there is no environmental trigger to start you thinking about a McDonalds. Therefore, soon enough you'll forget all about having a McDonalds after work.
On the flip side, if you place your running shoes alongside your bed so that it's the first thing you see in the morning, it's going to be much easier to build a habit of running each and every morning.
The reason why this works is because we like to spend as little mental energy as possible, that's why we rely so heavily upon habits. They take away the need for us to be constantly making choices. Instead we rely upon habits which become almost automatic. In fact, research conducted by Charles Duhigg (an expert in the field of habits) concluded that after a prolonged period of employing a habit, it actually requires more mental willpower to not abide by the habit.
How to Build the Right Environment to Achieve your Goals
Tip 1: Eliminate anything that is not aligned with your goal
The first, easiest and most obvious step to building an environment with is conductive with your goals is to eliminate anything which is at odds with your goals.
For example, if your goal is to lose weight, eliminate anything which is opposed to your goal such as sweets, cakes, processed food, etc.
Tip 2: Implement anything which helps you progress towards your goal
Next, you want to strategically place things that will help you to progress towards your goals within your environment. It's key that you make them noticeable and obvious.
Back to my example of a weight loss goal, you could replace the sweets and cakes with fruits and vegetables within your cupboards.
Tip 3: Create reminders
If your living a busy life, it can be incredibly easy to get distracted from your goals and even forget all about them.
By placing reminders, you'll always have your goal in the back of your mind. These reminders not only increase the likelihood of you remembering your goal but can also help you to keep thinking about your progress and how you could improve on your journey.
I hope that this guide on the importance of your environment when achieving goals will inspire you to start thinking about you could align your own environment with your own goals; remember to follow the 3 tips to increase the likelihood of you achieving your goal!