Human nature dictates that we are more likely to do what’s easy and if something is inconvenient we’re a lot less likely to do it. For example, if your gym is close by and there’s convenient parking, you’re more likely to go, if you have to go out of your way to get to the gym , it’s easy to skip it. Bearing that in mind, you can remove barriers to make it easier for you to do something you want to and put up barriers to behaviours you want to avoid.
I have a sweet tooth and I find that after meals and during the evenings I crave something sugary. I’m not hungry, I’ve just eaten, I’m probably bored and the craving usually passes. Mindlessly eating sugary snacks is a behaviour I want to avoid, it will not support my goals of achieving better body composition and improved gut health.
I intentionally abstain from purchasing things like chocolate, cookies and ice cream in the supermarket. I find it easy to avoid these aisles and leave those food products on the shelf. However, if these types of foods find their way into my cupboard or fridge then as soon as I get those sweet cravings they’re too tempting to resist. I remember, after giving into my cravings, I used to feel frustrated and guilty and not understand why my will power wasn’t strong enough to avoid giving in to these sugary snacks.
The thing is, my will power wasn’t the problem, it was just too easy to give into cravings. Nowadays, I will only indulge in a sweet ‘treat’ when I really want to, I own the decision and don’t feel bad afterwards. I have made it harder to give into my cravings by putting physical and mental barriers in between myself and ice cream and cookies.
If you want to achieve a goal and find yourself getting frustrated because you keep behaving in detrimental ways, ask yourself, how easy are you making it? Are you removing barriers or putting them up where needed? Whatever your goal, whether it be to exercise more, meditate often, give up smoking, reduce alcohol intake or improve diet, try to make it as easy as possible. Fill your fridge and cupboards with food you want to eat, hang out with people who will encourage healthy behaviour, avoid going to places which will lead to undesirable behaviours and make it as easy as possible to exercise.