Many of us have learned tricks and techniques that we can put in place to ensure the likelihood of us meeting our goals. We might set out our next day’s clothing the night before – when we’re not too groggy to notice whether clothing matches and doesn’t have embarrassing holes or spots. If we absolutely have to deliver an important package or drop an important bill in the mail today, we may put it near the door so that we can’t leave the house without noticing it. Going grocery shopping with a list enhances the likelihood that we won’t have to make a repeat trip to the market for something we’ve forgotten.
These kinds of things make it easier on us to control our behaviors and achieve our goals. Sometimes we can accomplish the same result by making it a little harder to not perform a behavior that we are trying to change.
If we are going on a diet to lose weight or eat healthier, we can make it harder to get at unhealthy snacks by placing them in the cupboard behind the healthier foods such as nuts and dried fruit. If we take any kind of between-meal snack, we can wrap up or close the container – so that it’s a little harder to go back for more. And we can make all rooms in the house but the kitchen “off limits” for eating.
If we are trying to get into the habit of reading regularly, we can keep our current book near our most comfortable chair, and we can keep the TV remote in an inconvenient place until our specifically designated time for watching TV –thus making it easier to reach for the book than the remote.
We can also set our daily routines in ways to make it harder to avoid unpleasant tasks. For example, we can make it a policy to not check emails or surf the web until any bills that are due today are paid.
I’m certain that we can all find examples of behaviors that we can change by using this strategy. Don’t underestimate “the power of easy”. If we make it easier to accomplish our goals, we are more likely to follow through with appropriate goal-oriented behavior. Don’t neglect the possibility of making it easier to change in a positive direction by making it harder to do the opposite.