We are our habits and our habits are our routines, often subconscious routines guided by the system we are a part of. This was my take away after listening to researcher and author, Wendy Wood, during a Hidden Brain Podcast. Wood hits on this idea of ‘friction’ in our daily decisions. Friction, in this context, is the ease in which an action is undertaken. Her big insight is that more often than not, creating a low-friction routine is more important than willpower when trying to form better habits. Basically, we will take the path of least mental and physical resistance. This idea got me to examine a few of our newest habits.
Amy has been using the gym before work. Although it initially took willpower to get out the door, her key to long term success has been in the routine she has created. The gym is on her way to work. She has a gym bag that sits by the door, it has everything she needs to get ready for the day. It never needs to be unpacked except for the laundry. The gym has drop-in classes, nice showers and fresh towels. It has become easier for her to get ready at the gym than it is for her to at the house – less distractions. According to Wendy Wood, her success is in the system. She doesn’t think about working out because there is a class waiting for her. She doesn’t have to drive any more than she already does. Showering and getting ready is easier, away from the tight bathroom and distractions of the household. It isn’t so much willpower as much as she has created a frictionless routine.
We all strive to be better, but so often it isn’t the willpower we lack as much as it is the system we operate in. I hope that you can listen to the episode and glean some insights into taking back your decisions and create a framework that makes good habits easier than bad ones. And speaking of a system that you can bring into your life for the better, sign up for one of our Farm Share Subscriptions and surround yourself with great choices, without the friction.