“A stable environment where everything has a place and a purpose is an environment where habits can easily form.” James Clear
I’m reading Atomic Habits by James Clear. He has a whole chapter dedicated to the importance of a proper environment in establishing good habits. The converse is also true; bad environments create bad habits. As much as possible, he challenges us to become the architects of our environment and, therefore, architects of our lives. He states, “Environment design allows you to take back control and become the architect of your life.”
Habits are easier to change in a new environment. Therefore, to create a new habit, assign a new environment to it. This eliminates the triggers and cues that reenforce your current (undesirable) habit. Go to a new place – a different coffee shop, a bench in a park, a museum, a public library, an empty space at your workplace – and create a new routine there.
When you can’t manage to go to an entirely new environment, redefine or rearrange your current one. Create a separate space for work, study, exercise, entertainment, whatever. Clear suggests we adopt the mantra: “One space, one use.”
Ideally, you should divide your home or workplace into different spaces to establish different habits. For example, if your kitchen table is associated with eating, it may not be the best place to develop the habit of studying. Every time you begin to study, your stomach may decide to grumble or your eyes drift to the refrigerator. Not helpful.
If your space is limited, consider dividing a single room into multiple activity zones: a chair for reading, a table for drawing, a desk for writing. In my case, that’s exactly what I did in my studio. All of these activities, which constitute daily habits I'm working to form, are mere steps from each other. Additionally, I'm reenforcing these habits with a specific, daily routine.