Creating A Successful Environment For Yourself
Nature vs. Nurture
Nature vs. Nurture is an age-old debate that for the foreseeable future will not have a clear winner, and nor should there be a clear winner. The debate is transferable to a number of different aspects of life: the way we learn, our mannerisms, our will power, our motivation, the list can go on and on.
For each one of these, as well as many others, there is no doubt that a portion of the way we operate can be credited to the way we were born, “nature,” while the other portion of these aspects can be credited to our environment, “nurture.” Unfortunately (or fortunately…this post is not intended to delve into this argument), there is nothing that we can do once we are living to change the “nature” aspect of the way that we are.
However, as adults there are always things that we can do to control the “nurture” aspects or our environment.
Let’s take the example of will-power/discipline and apply it directly towards diet and exercise. There are some individuals that will naturally have much stronger discipline than others and these individuals will find it much easier to turn down the dessert at dinner, or to make the decision not to drink and still be able to be around a group of people that are drinking. However, there are many others that are not born with this amount of discipline and will struggle with remaining disciplined most of their life.
For the individuals that are not born with a high level of will-power and self-discipline, the best way for them to “create” this self-discipline, is by controlling their environment when possible.
Take for example the pantry in their house / apartment. Yes, it is possible to have both extremely healthy food and unhealthy food in the pantry / fridge but if the person does not have high innate levels of self-discipline, they are not setting up their environment to have a successfully healthy diet.
The first step is to recognize that you either do, or do not have high innate levels of self-discipline. Once you have established this, determine ways that you can set up your environment to aid in the ultimate success of your goals. If your goal is to eat well and lose weight, control every aspect of your environment that you can to ensure that there is no excuse for you to not eat well.
What this means is that you take the time at the grocery store to only purchase meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch, and no sugar. If these types of foods are the only foods that you have available in your house, then strong self-discipline becomes irrelevant because there is nothing for you to eat except healthy foods. If your team at work tends to go out to lunch a lot during the week, start to prepare your lunch the night before work and bring it into work so that you have now created an environment for yourself that is helping you accomplish your goals and you can now tell the group that goes to lunch that you are staying back because you brought your own lunch.
Consider another, slightly more extreme, example of environment control, the people you surround yourself with.
If you are serious about your goals and about making changes in your life and there are people in your life that are not conducive to accomplishing your goals, you may need to consider your relationship with these people.
The first step would be to discuss these goals with your friends and family and if despite this conversation they continue to make accomplishing your goals harder, then you may need to step away from the relationship. If you are a part of a group of friends that enjoys going out to brunch, drinking heavily, staying out late but you have made the decision to change your lifestyle, you need to evaluate if you have the innate self-discipline to continue to be around these people while still sticking to your goals.
If you do not have enough innate self-discipline and are serious about your goals, take control of your environment and attempt to find a new group of friends who are currently living the way you would like to live or will be supportive of your goals. Take a chance and reach out to the group of people at work or at your gym or you would like to be like or look like or act like.
Accomplishing your goals, and living a healthy lifestyle becomes much easier when you are constantly around other people striving to achieve the same goals as yourself and when you identify yourself as one of these people.
With all of this in mind, the first step is to be honest with yourself and determine if you have natural self-discipline or if you naturally lack self-discipline. If you are someone that lacks natural self-discipline, there is no reason to think that you will be unable to accomplish your goals, but it will be harder to accomplish your goals without setting up the proper environment for yourself.
You will not be able to control your innate abilities, but you can always control your environment. Take the extra time on the front end, at the grocery store, packing up for the gym the night before, reaching out to the “healthy”, “in-shape” people at the gym or work to ensure that you are constantly making steps in the right direction to accomplish your goals.
Disclaimer: The ideas, thoughts, and suggestions detailed in this blog post and subsequent blog posts are the ideas, thoughts, and suggestions of Matt Moosavian and are not necessarily reflective of Urban Athletic Club as a whole, or the UAC staff individually. More Blog Posts.