making a new year's resolution? try this

I was looking around the room during a meeting the other day, and noticed a bizarre looking mask (some kind of tribal art, I think) hanging at what seemed like an unusual height on the wall. Upon further inspection, it was revealed to be covering the thermostat.

It was also obscuring a small sign describing the effect that raising or lowering the thermostat would have on the other rooms in the suite.

"Ahh," I thought to myself, "Pure genius. What a perfect example of designing the environment to support the desired outcome."

Prefer that people don't screw with the thermostat?

Cover it so they don't even realize that they can.

Then make sure it's sort of a hassle to gain access to the controls.

Then explain why you don't want them to screw with it.

If people jump through all those hoops and still want to mess with it, they probably have a darn good reason. So let it happen.

And to make sure you are taking good care of your own needs, take responsibility for checking the setting after the room is vacated or before you lock up for the night. 

Don't want to eat all the leftover christmas cookies?

Store them out of sight.

Put them in an inconvenient location, in a container that's hard to open. Maybe one that hurts your thumb a little bit.

Put a post-it on top that says, "Are you sure you want to eat these?"

If you jump through all these hoops and still want to eat them, enjoy each bite mindfully. This will help to ensure that you don't get too carried away. 

Will power is old school. Designing your environment to support your goals makes will power almost unnecessary.

So if you are into making new year's resolutions, you might consider supporting your own success with a modification of your environment:

Make the path of least resistance the one that leads to your desired behavior, and toss a bunch of obstacles in the road that leads to the behavior you'd prefer to avoid.

1 comment: