Change Your Environment to Change Your Habits

Make small adjustments to your surroundings to change your habits.

Before we get into our episode, we have a few fun updates:

Semi-Together is now on Instagram @semitogether! We are posting photos from our daily lives, including happy and productive moments, and Get It Together / Got It Togethers. So please follow and interact with us there.


Semi-Together passed the 1,000 download mark! It’s a big milestone for us – thank you so much for listening, subscribing and giving us feedback. We love hearing from you; here are a few listener comments:

  • From Beth: “I’m in the middle of the ‘Have I Evolved’ episode. I find myself cracking up because I have always thought some quirks HAD to just be mine alone— and you’ve already covered several of them in your first 2.5 episodes!”’
  • From Margaret: “#Stealthistip: Use your Visibility tip from Episode 2 to help with the packing! I like to choose and put out the suitcase like a week before my departure date. Every time I see it, I get a little buzz of excitement at my upcoming escape, and I feed it with things that I think I’ll need as I go. The stuff I can’t pack until last minute becomes its own pile on the bathroom counter to remain IN SIGHT.”


The theme for this episode is: change your environment to change your habits.

If you run into a problem – especially the same problem over and over – it doesn’t mean you are a fundamentally flawed human being. You aren’t, at your core, irresponsible or disorganized or incompetent (or a bad partner, parent, employee, etc.).

Instead of asking, “How can I change myself to fix this problem,” try, “How can I change this situation to fix this problem?”

This topic has been on our minds since, at the beginning of the year, so many of us are trying to form new habits and break old ones. And the strategy of changing your environment is well-researched.

“What looks like a person problem is often a situation problem,” write Chip and Dan Heath in their book Switch. James Clear also talks about it in Atomic Habits; and Brian Wansick applies it to food in Mindless Eating.

Melia put this principle into action when she stopped berating herself for always misplacing her keys – and instead installed a key rack next to the front door. And Gill tries to change her work environment throughout the workday, going to a coffee shop for a few hours, instead of feeling unproductive when she gets distracted by chores around the house.


Steal This Tip

Here’s a roundup of tips to help you change your environment to build good habits.

The Challenge: Exercising regularly.
You Might Think: I’m so lazy; or I’ll never make exercise a habit.
Situation Hack: Put your exercise gear out the night before to save yourself time and stress in the morning.

The Challenge: Eating more junk food than you’d like.
You Might Think: I have no willpower or self-control.
Situation Hack: Make healthy food convenient (and unhealthy food inconvenient). Think about what you want to be eating more of, and arrange your environment to make that the easy, mindless choice.

The Challenge: Your phone distracting you from being fully present with your friends and family.
You Might Think: I’m addicted to my screen (or social media or work).
Situation Hack: Put your phone out of sight when you’re with your loved ones. Take it out if you want to snap a photo, look something up or respond to an urgent text. But then put it away again.

The Challenge: Forgetting to take something with you or cross a task off your list.
You Might Think: I have a terrible memory. I’m an irresponsible person.
Situation Hack: Put a visual reminder in between you and the task.


Get It Together / Got It Together

We each share something that’s going well for us right now and something that needs work.

Gill’s Get It Together: Procrastinating on big deadlines

Gill’s Got It Together: Keeping up with monthly goals on her 19 for 2019 list so far

Melia Get It Together: Figuring out how to make weekend mornings less stressful

Melia Got It Together: Using a standing desk at work (see a picture on Instagram)


Get In Touch

We love hearing what you think about the podcast! Please get in touch, and let us know what you like and what you want to hear in future episodes.

Email us at podcast[at]semitogether.com or leave a comment on Facebook or Instagram. And please subscribe, rate and review this podcast wherever you listen.