How to Change Your Life: Start Changing Your Environment

John just got home after a long meeting. He opens his apartment studio and scans the surrounding. There’s his bluetooth speaker, camera, iPad, and his favorite couch.

“Gosh, I’m tired. I guess I’ll watch some movies before I have my dinner”.

John went to the couch and fire his Netflix.

2 hours later, the movie ended. He turned his hand and look at his casio watch. It says 9:32. Surprised, he rosed from the couch and went straight to the kitchen. He eyed the top drawer and opened it. It’s a sacred place where all of the food are stored.

“Found it”. He open the instant noodle and cook it for dinner.

Dinner is ready. He went back to his couch and eats it—waiting for the commercial to end.

“Bzz... bzzz...”—his phone vibrates. He look at his phone. It’s a notification from his to do list.

“Get in shape for summer!”

He looked at his phone display, and presed [dismiss] button.

“I’ll start tomorrow.”

Clearly, not the first time he say this word.

3 months later, John is no more.

His liver can’t whitstand all of these processed food.

The problem with John

John have a sedentary lifestyle.

He wake up not having enough sleep, not exercising, and ate unhealthy. From nutrition perspective, steaming up vegetables and cooking meats took a lot of time. What about instant noodle? It prepared in minutes.

This happens over and over again, his body can’t keep up with junks that accumulated in his life time.

Unless you want to be John, don’t follow his lifestyle.

What if...

...John have no instant noodle in his apartment?

He won’t eat one.

Does this means he’ll eat his vegetables now? No, not really. Maybe he went to nearest McDonald and have cheeseburgers instead.

On another scenario, what if there’s a healthy food in the fridge—waiting to be reheated to it’s former glory? Higher chance, he’ll consume the meal rather than going outside to satiate his hunger.

The reason behind it

Eric J. Johnson & Daniel Goldstein releases an essay back in 2003—Do Default Save Lives?—that revealed phenomenon about this issue.

They collected data from 11 countries in Europe.

  • 4 of them have low percentages of organ donor (between 4% to 27%).
  • The other group have higher organ donor percentage (above 99%, and Sweden on 85%).

What are the differences? Why it is so striking?

Turns out—its their form design.

The former sent out a form that said “If you want to be an organ donor, check here.”, while the latter have the exact opposite design.

How to change your life: Start by changing your environment

This is a good news. With this new knowledge, we can change our environment to achieve what we want.

For instance, I have a goal this year: drink more water.

The reason I want to drink more: A finding says that not having enough water results in feeling tired all the time.

I wanted to test this hypothesis.

I analyzed why I don’t have enough water. Turns out it because of the distance. I work on 2nd floor, and the water dispenser is on the first floor. If I felt thirsty, I think twice to get the water.

Okay, now I need to devise a strategy to minimize the distance. I could move the water dispenser to the 2nd floor.

“That should’ve increased your water consumption!”. You thought.

...or maybe, we could eliminate the distance altogether?

Enter the humble water bottle.

I tried to fill it one morning and put it on my desk, and... works.

I drink more than I used to be. It’s now easier for me to drink. I can easily grab it on my reach, open the cap, and take a sip from the bottle. The same effect less likely happens if I need to go downstairs.


Equipped with this knowledge, you can now achieve your goals. The key is to find the main problem, and thereafter—design your environment accordingly.

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