How Your Home Can Support Your Goals – Instead of Helping You Fail

I spent most of my week at home. It’s where I work and where I live. Some cold, rainy days, I don’t leave the house at all (I’m not advocating this!)

Whether you work from home, or only spend evenings and weekends there, your home environment can make a huge difference in whether or not you succeed in meeting your goals.

Often, we get hung up on achieving particular goals by sheer willpower alone, when actually, a few little tweaks to our environment – “hacks”, if you like – can make us much more likely to succeed.

It’s not cheating. It’s being smart.

Losing Weight

It’s January, and magazine shelves are full of healthy recipes and slimming advice. I’ve put on a few pounds over Christmas – adding the ones I gained the Christmas before – and I’m trying to get back into healthier habits (and back into my jeans!)

One basic, popular diet tip is don’t have junk in the house. It’s not enough to think “I won’t eat that” – because all you need is a moment of weak willpower, or even absent-mindedness, and you’re dipping into the cookie jar.

It sounds almost too simple, but it works. If I don’t have any chocolate in the house, I’m unlikely to want it so much that I’ll head out to the corner shop in the miserable British weather.

If you have less-than-diet-friendly foods in the house for your partner or kids, try environmental tweaks like:

  • Putting these foods out of sight, and ideally out of reach. Studies have shown that when chocolates are in sight and in reach, you’ll eat more (see Want to stay out of the candy jar? Hide it for more details).
  • Using a smaller plate. Yes, it really works! If your plate looks “full”, you’re likely to feel satisfied with the amount of food on it.

All of these are simple steps, and cost nothing – but they really do improve your chances of success.

Other Goals

You can use your home environment to help support you for almost any goal. Take advantage of the amount of time you spend at home, and make sure you’ve got at least some tools or equipment that help you move forwards.

For instance, if you never have the energy to go out to the gym in the evening, how about buying some basic home gym equipment that you can use? You won’t have to get to the gym – you can just throw on some loose clothes and exercise for 20 minutes while watching TV or listening to music.

A few other simple ideas are:

  • Keep the books you want to finish (or start!) in reach and in sight – you’ll be more likely to pick them up and read. This works for many other goals – like learning a musical instrument.
  • Find creative ways to make it harder to resist your goals. For instance, shut off your home internet connection for an hour each evening, so you can work on your small business.
  • To cut down your spending, stock your cupboard with basic ingredients and your freezer with simple meals, so you’re not tempted to eat out in the evenings.

Whatever goals you have, your home environment is either working for you or against you. What tweaks and hacks could you put in place today to improve your chances of success?

Image by Flickr user D’Arcy Norman

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