If you are like me, you have some good habits and, more than likely, some bad habits. Even more, like me, if you have ever started out with what you thought was the right amount of motivation to only fall short or stop due to the loss of motivation.
As my wife and I started to age a little, I knew that our health needed to become a priority. My wife, also known as my accountability partner, had different thoughts on the type of fitness we wanted to do. We both enjoyed going for walks, but often it was too hot or too cold. We had purchased a treadmill that offers the perfect temperature with no wind, rain, or snow. But the motivation still found a way of disappearing.
I love riding bicycles; however, as much as my wife tried, this was not something she was overly excited about. I often thought it was because she didn’t like to ride. As I watched, listened, and as we talked, I found it was more about not feeling safe in the environment we had to ride in. As a kid, my wife was not allowed to ride a bike, so she did not have the same fond memories as I did growing up. So spending more time on a bicycle was lower on her to-do list. Maybe small rides here and there, any distance, that was out of the question. She has said, “that’s why you have other friends.” I wanted my wife to be that friend as well.
So I asked her if she would be willing to sell our home of 18 years and move into a townhome within a direct view of the Monon Trail. Maybe seeing the action on the trail would help us make the motivation last a little longer and start new habits. As you can guess, the answer to the moving question was yes, otherwise I would not be sharing this with you.
Since then, I purchased a book called Atomic Habits by James Clear. It was recommended by Don Miller on his podcast, building a Story Brand. I highly recommend you read it as well and check out the Don Miller podcast. In
Chapter 6, Motivation is Overrated; Environment Often Matters More.
This chapter fell right in line with what both my wife Laurie and I and neighbors are now experiencing. It’s becoming more apparent to me how the environment affects the outcome. I have started understanding why motivation doesn’t seem to last as long as planned.
So let’s get started with our move into the new environment, to see how it worked!
With the new location picked and a purpose in mind, we set off to enhance my wife’s riding experience. The secret of a new habit is to make it easier. With the help of a Trek Verse 2 Lowstep hybrid bike, we did just that. My wife, Laurie, and I are now enjoying twenty-mile bike ride’s with our neighbors on the weekend. Along with many smaller rides and walks, and the new environment is starting to pay off.
I was curious to see if my neighbors were experiencing this new change in their activity habits. I set out to find the answer, and to no surprise, it turned out they had noticed the same thing. They were wondering if it was just them or if everyone else was seeing it as well.
Here is where the 6 Mile coffee walk came about.
James Clear also talked about habit stacking. So with that in mind, I set out to start a new habit. I am very frugal when it comes to certain things, and coffee falls into this category. So when I found my fresh go-to coffee at Titus Bakery in Westfield, IN. I had to come up with a plan to justify spending extra on a bag of coffee.
With that said, I decided to create a new habit of walking to get my coffee, a 3.2 miles round trip. That would, in my mind, make it worth paying the extra since I was now making it my reward for the three-plus mile walk. So the following Saturday, I set off for my morning trek to get my coffee, which would soon become my reward. The first 1.6 miles placed me right at the counter at Titus. However, only to find out that they were currently out of their Pershing Blend coffee. For a split second, I thought, “are you kidding me? I am walking 3.2 miles for this bag of coffee”. Then the right thought kick in, the real reason I was here was for the walk, not the coffee, the coffee wasn’t the goal but just the reward. Now in the right frame of mind, I headed back to the house, thinking that my reward would now be for a 6.4-mile walk, and I would be getting my monies worth.
Changing your environment can make a difference. If changing your location is not an option for you at the moment. You can start it by changing your mindset.