habits Productivity

Optimizing your environment to reinvent yourself

Photo by Marvin Meyer on Unsplash

In the journey of reinventing yourself, it is not just about the internal motivations and aspirations that you have. Your environment plays a big role in determining how you will likely succeed or not.

In this study “The Role of the Physical Environment In the Hospital of the 21st Century: Once-in-a-Lifetime Opportunity“, it was proven that the physical environment of the hospital has direct impact to the satisfaction and quality of service to both patients and to its staff.

“The team found scientific studies that document the impact of a range of
design characteristics, such as single-rooms versus multi-bed rooms, reduced noise, improved lighting, better ventilation, better ergonomic designs, supportive workplaces and improved layout that can help reduce errors, reduce stress, improve sleep, reduce pain and drugs, and improve other outcomes. The team discovered that, not only is there a very large body of evidence to guide hospital design, but a very strong one. A growing scientific literature is confirming that the conventional ways that hospitals are designed contributes to stress and danger, or more positively, that this level of risk and stress is unnecessary: improved physical settings can be an important tool in making hospitals safer, more healing, and better places to work.

In addition to this, the research team noted that the physical environment of the hospital has impacted both the patient and staff in four areas:

  1. Reduce staff stress and fatigue and increase effectiveness in delivering care
  2. Improve patient safety
  3. Reduce stress and improve outcomes
  4. Improve overall healthcare quality

It was concluded that by mere changing the physical environment, it can lead to tremendous impact to the people around it.

We usually overlook the importance of our environment towards our behavior but it actually has significant impact to each decisions and actions we are taking on a daily basis.

Have you already considered your environment on your personal development?


According to “Frontier for Young minds“;

Scientists have measured the amount of data that enter the brain and found that an average person living today processes as much as 74 GB in information a day (that is as much as watching 16 movies), through TV, computers, cell phones, tablets, billboards, and many other gadgets. Every year it is about 5% more than the previous year [1]. Only 500 years ago, 74 GB of information would be what a highly educated person consumed in a lifetime, through books and stories.

Our brain constantly process informations from our environment and this includes both consciously and unconsciously. Each of these informations can impact your decision-making thus, knowing how to control it plays a significantly role to control your behaviour.

A common example for this is when a person wanted to follow a strict diet. Your diet does not start with what food to eat but rather what food to buy during your grocery. You will likely be able to control yourself and succeed if you will only buy and fill your fridge with all the healthy options rather than having all the junk food inside your fridge and controlling yourself to avoid it.

Such simple scenario shows that we human can be affected by just the simple fact on what’s inside your fridge. Understanding how to prime those triggers can significantly help you achieve it towards your objective/goal.


The details below show the simplest way how you can prime your environment in order for you to take consistent action towards your goal.

For simplicity purposes, we will use the most common task that we wanted to improve as our example: “Regularly eating some fruits (eating an apple)”.

1. Clarity is the key!: Identify your objective/goal

You need first to identify your “why”. In this example, your “why” is basically “To have a healthy lifestyle and lose some weight by eating an apple each day“. Remember, in achieving your objective it has to be specific and at the same time can be easily measured.

We often have this “Why” – “I wanted to be healthy” but this sentence is vague and does not have any specific measurability aspect. We need to ensure that whenever we set an objective or goal we have to be precise and specific. At the same time, it should always be measurable, this helps you have clarity on your progress towards it.

Remember vagueness can lead to procrastination, the more unclear something is, the higher that chance that you will procrastinate in doing it.

2. Deduct: Remove all triggers that negatively impacts your objective/goal

Your environment can certainly determine whether you will be able to do something or not. In our example, if you wanted to have a healthy lifestyle and eat apple each day you have to remove all the junk food on your fridge and replace it with apples.

You need to set your environment and not let yourself fall into a situation that you will choose between ice cream and apple in your fridge. There is a high probability that you will fall on just eating what you wanted rather than what you needed.

Removing all the triggers that negatively impacts you allows you to have better decision-making and behaviours that leads you towards your goal.

3. Add: Include something that pushes you to take action on your objective/goal

As mentioned earlier, in terms of diet and lifestyle we usually misunderstood the cue/triggers of our habit. In our example of having a healthy lifestyle and eating an apple each day, ensuring that we will eat healthy food does not start when we are just about to decide what to eat but rather during when we are choosing what to buy in the grocery.

Reinforcing your objective/goal is a must if you wanted to succeed. In our example, you have to only buy apples and healthy foods whenever you are at the grocery. Improving your environment by putting more fruits on your fridge can significantly increase the likelihood that you will consistently take action towards your goal.

You can also expose more yourself with information about the benefits of eating apple, this allows you to slowly change your perception and make eating fruits more appealing and fulfilling on your part.

The example that we used above may be too simplistic but the idea that embodies these steps has so much potential and can significantly impact your behavior towards your goal.

Try it with other aspect of your life and you will see how it can improve how you deal with self-improvement and habit building.

Final Thoughts

We are often too focus on the “motivations” and “psychological” aspect of our goals that we forgot that our environment has significant impact on our decision-making process. Learn to optimize your environment towards your objective/goal and you will realize that this makes everything easier.

Your environment amplifies whatever person you wanted to be, learn to optimize it accordingly.

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