It’s easy to know what we “should” do. It’s harder to actually do it.
I should spend an extra 10 minutes shopping around for deals. I should make sure none of the food I buy goes to waste, and that I never leave the lights on when I’m out of the room.
I should eat better. I should spend less. Should, should, should.
Here’s the problem. The more “steps” we put between ourselves and our goal, the harder that goal seems. For example:
— I need to grab a pot or pan from the top shelf of the kitchen cabinet.
— But I can’t reach the top shelf. (The Obstacle)
— To grab the dish, I need to drag a chair from the kitchen table.
— Then I need to climb onto the chair and get the item from the top shelf.
— Then I have to return the chair to its original position.
— When I’m done using the item, I need to repeat.
It’s not a ton of work. It takes 5 seconds. But it’s enough to make me not do it. It’s a minor inconvenience — a barrier.
In other words — we’ll do what’s good for us when it becomes inconvenient to do what’s bad for us.
So to turn more of those “should’s” into “do’s,” we need to remove those inconveniences. We need to make things as easy as possible. Here are some examples:
#1: Want to stop yourself from buying too many cute-but-unnecessary clothes?
Only go to the mall during packed, crowded hours when there’s a wait in line for the dressing room.
#2: Resolve to drink more water?
Keep a glass of water on your desk so you don?t have to get up to get it.
#3: Want to work out more?
Hop on a treadmill with a TV attached and watch your fave show while powerwalking.
The harder it is to do what we naturally tend to do (spend too much, eat too much, exercise too little), the less likely we are to do it.