Setting Up Your Environment for Success
With guest blogger, Clem Duranseaud
Your daily habits and routines help shape the success of your fitness journey. Habits and routine can be influenced and optimized by rearranging your daily environment. The two main environments that you frequent every day are your home and your workplace. Since most of us are currently working from home, we will focus primarily on setting up your home environment. How you organize your space can help you reach your fitness goals quicker. Let’s take a look at what you can do.
The two main routines you should optimize in your home are nutrition and sleep.
Drinking enough water is something that most of us don’t do. To rectify this, simply put out three full water bottles throughout your home, one in the kitchen, living room, and bedroom. If you live in a studio, have one in the kitchen and another one in the living room. The point is that it must be easily accessible. You want to be able to reach for a water bottle without having to move much.
How you arrange the food in your kitchen will play a big role on how often you actually eat those foods. The biggest issue that I have is buying a ton of spinach, putting in the lower drawer of my fridge, forgetting about it, and letting it rot down there.
To prevent this from happening, I now put the spinach on the top rack, which happens to be at eye level. Now it never goes to waste. Moving the spinach from somewhere I didn’t see it to a place where it was easy for me to see made all the difference.
I encourage flexible, sustainable nutrition, which means that it’s ok to have some “bad” foods here and there.
I reserve these cheat meals for dates with my girlfriend, dinners with friends and special occasions. Note that all of these happen OUTSIDE my home. The foods in my kitchen are all healthy. The reason I do this is because I have very little self-control and if I buy some “bad” food like ice cream or Nutella, it’s only a matter of hours before they are done. Not days, hours. Self-control is a short-term solution. You can't have self-control forever. Set up your environments so you don't have to use it.
Meal prep on auto pilot
The following trick is a habit I formed for meal prepping. After each grocery run, I immediately chop up the veggies. If I don’t chop the veggies right away, I won’t do it later because I won’t have time.
I started this habit by saying, “When I walk through the door after grocery shopping, I put the veggies on the table, chop them up and store them in Tupperware.” Now, whenever I look in my fridge, there are pre-cut veggies. If they aren’t pre chopped, the odds of me eating them decreases a lot.
While I chop up all the veggies, I also cook rice/quinoa at the same time. That way, after 20-30 minutes, I have all my veggies cut and a huge reserve of rice that is ready to be heated up for my meals.
Sleep is the other component of a happy and healthy life that most people neglect. We all know that we need 8 hours of sleep each night but most of us don’t actually get that much. Why? We have busy lives I know, but most of us do have the time to sleep 8 hours. It’s a matter of priorities and distractions. We often let our distractions (mainly screens, like phones, computers, and TV) take over our priorities like sleep. Thankfully, we can set up our home a certain way to minimize these.
For starters, you can actually invest in an alarm clock and leave ALL of your screens outside of your room. That way you won’t be tempted to answer texts or browse social media after you set the alarm on your phone. This will create a no screen zone in your room that will help you sleep better. Having a no screen time before bed also helps us fall asleep faster. Set a time like 9 or 10 p.m. after which you do not watch TV, work on the computer, or browse social media.
Getting stuck watching episode after episode on Netflix? TURN OFF auto play! Go to "account" on the top left corner, click on "playback settings" and turn off "auto-play". Netflix makes more money the more you watch so they automatically switch this feature on. Sometimes the time between episodes is instantaneous, so we just sit there and say "ok just one more" for hours on end.
Prep for tomorrow
Prepping for the next morning at night is a habit that has greatly helped me. Each night before I go to bed, I do the following in this exact order:
- Grind my coffee, put it in my coffee pot, and set it to brew for the morning.
- Prepare my breakfast ingredients. I usually have eggs and toast, so I take 3 eggs out of the carton and put it on two pieces of bread in my fridge.
- Put a skillet on the stove and place the olive oil right beside it.
- Choose my clothes for the next day and put them neatly beside my bed.
This allows me to wake and be on auto pilot for the first 10 minutes. If I don't prep all this stuff, I usually snooze my alarm for an extra 15 minutes, skip breakfast, and have a poor start to the day.
These examples are only a fraction of what you can do. We will all have different habits and routines according to our lifestyle and preferences; it’s important for you to find the ones that work for you.
Success, in fitness and in other areas, can be attained quicker when we prepare for it. Immersing yourself in an environment that drives you daily towards your goals will help you greatly.