Dr. Eric Cobb back with you, hope you’re having a fantastic week.
People kid me all the time that that’s how I always start my blogs, but I actually mean it. I hope you’re having a great week.
I just got back from Copenhagen, Denmark, talked to really fantastically attended classes with great students, had an amazing trip. I learned something or thought a lot about something while I was there and that’s what I want to share with you today and that’s about the power of environment.
The reason that this is coming up in my head is that next week I’ll be teaching our 9S which is one of our advanced classes sustenance and spirit course. Now, sustenance is about food and sleep and all these different things and most people think that it as a Z-Health nutrition course, but it’s really not that much about nutrition. It’s about 20% nutrition and about 80% on the spirit part or the behavior part. I just had a great conversation yesterday with a super successful guy. He owns a huge supplement business and we’re talking about working with clients and helping them be more successful.
He said you really have to look at things in tiers because the number one tier that everyone needs to work on is building better habits. I could come up with the best pill or food or exercise program for you and if you can’t change your lifestyle in order to use it, it doesn’t matter. In this trip to Denmark, I thought a lot about the environment and there’s a fantastic book that I’m going to put a link to at the end of this blog called Change Anything. In that book, they talk a lot about the different elements that go into changing behavior, changing habits and the power in one section about the environment.
Change Anything: The New Science of Personal Success
Now, let me set the stage. I was living about a kilometer to a kilometer and a half from work every day, so every day I got up, put my backpack on and went for a walk. Why did I do that? Because in Copenhagen particularly, everyone rides their bike or walks everywhere, they use public transportation or they walk or as I’ve said they have more bikes than I think anywhere in the world.
It is an expected part of life there that you’re more physically active. Now, why this is so important is I want you to think about some of your goals, things that you want to change in your life and I want you to think about the current environment that you’re in.
Does the environment encourage the change and does the environment support the change?
Because one of the things that we’ve learned in all this kind of behavioral research is that you can have absolutely dedicated personal motivation, you can apply your will power, your discipline in creating a change, but if the environment around you is set up in such a way that it’s going to constantly discourage you, the likelihood of you making that change is very low.
Imagine that you are very dedicated to having a better relationship with your kids. Take a step back and think about where in your world do you have the opportunity to spend time with people where it is an expected part of the day to do really cool things to build a relationship with your kids. A lot of people go, “Ah, I don’t even know where to find that,” but this is really one of the most powerful influences that we have.
My exercise for you this week is pretty simple. Take three things that you’ve been thinking about changing, maybe it’s how you eat, how much you exercise, your relationship with your kids, whatever it is and I want you to write them down in one column and then I want you to write down current environment in another column and sketch out two or three notes for each one and just ask yourself, “Is the environment that I find myself in most of my days, am I surrounded by people that are encouraging and demonstrating for me the habits that I want to see changed?” That’s column number two.
Column three, write down the best environment. Now you get to put in a wish list, what type of people, how much time, where would you spend your life if you’re going to be around people that would help you create an environment to become more the person that you want to be?
Now, I know this is a little bit of a complex thought and a little bit of a complex exercise, but it is incredibly valuable. If you think back to the major changes in your life, very often they occurred when you changed environments. Very often we run into people that go, “Everything changed for me when I moved from this town to this town or when I got married or when my wife got pregnant and I now have a reason to give up smoking.”
The ideas of this blog is I really want you to be more cognizant or conscious of the environment that you live in, the environment that you’re working in and understand that you need to maybe mold and shape that a little bit to have all of your change efforts work more easily. There’s your exercise for the week. If you have questions about this, please let us know.
I’m going to be changing some blog topics here pretty soon. We’ll get back to some movement stuff and exercises so that’s coming up in the next few weeks. Like I said, from my perspective, one of the most serious things, most important things that we can study as human beings is how to continually shape our brains by shaping our behaviors.
In other words, better habits for better lives.
All right, that’s it guys. Have a fantastic week.
I look forward to talking to you soon.