Most people think that building better habits or changing your actions is all about willpower or motivation. But the more I learn, the more I believe that the number one driver of better habits and behavior change is the choice architecture of your environment.
Researchers have shown that any habit you have — good or bad — is often associated with some type of trigger or cue. Recent studies have shown that these cues often come from your environment.
Most of our behaviors are driven by two things: our environment and our beliefs. And environment is perhaps the most powerful of those two because in many cases your environment can shape your beliefs. This is especially true when you consider your environment to include the people who surround you.
To be sure, those things matter. What is interesting, however, is that if you examine how human behavior has been shaped over time, you discover that motivation (and even talent) is often overvalued. In many cases, the environment matters more.
While researching Atomic Habits, I came across a story that immediately struck me with its simplicity and power. Nuckols refers to the approach as “resetting the room.”