When it comes to habits, convenience is the gateway to good and the obstacle to banishing bad.
This is a very important realization- and though we already know this to be true - put in the context as an opportunity or a threat to change, as Gretchen Rubin so simply describes, convenience becomes a strategic concept in goal setting and habit formation.
I constantly write on Wednesdays in my Midweek Snack articles about convenience. I take every possible shortcut that will not result in reduced nutritional value or flavor. Prewashed, precut vegetables? YES. Recipes with short ingredient lists with as few steps as possible? YES. Crock Pot and One Pot recipes for quick and easy cleanup? YES. All of these methods make cooking convenient. And when good habits, like cooking fresh food, become easy to do, they are so much more likely to happen.
If you struggle to get to the gym early in the morning, make it easier on yourself by having your gym bag packed the night before, water bottle filled, clothes out on the dresser, shoes by the door. Even if you're religious about your morning exercise routine, knowing that you can push snooze once or twice before you drag yourself from your cozy bed will feel more relaxed instead of rushing frantically and forgetting something. If you can associate calm and relaxed with getting up in the morning rather than anxious, that is convenience working for you.
We can also take away convenience in many situations to help us maintain good habits. Such as, putting snacks and junk food on the top cabinet shelf, unreachable without a step stool. And, store the step stool in another room, for good measure. Sneaky. Some chronic shopaholics will cut up their credit cards so that they can't buy anything online, and in stores, they have to fork over actual cash or write a check. Super annoying and inconvenient. But, it would certainly work!
So, there are limitless ways we can use convenience as a tool to make good habits more attainable and bad habits more challenging. But there's also the other side worth being cognizant of. And that's convenience allowing bad behaviors to creep in. I touched on my bad habit of checking social media obsessively at every moment of boredom in my Week 10 Reality Check. It's just so convenient to do because my phone is something that is always with me. And I can't go hide it in my closet because I use it to communicate with G, keep all my various lists (to-do and otherwise), respond promptly to emails (reduced electronic clutter helps me focus on other things and be more productive during the day). So, the only thing I can do is simply be aware.
Set a goal for yourself this week: for something that you have a desire to change, rather than focus on the enormity of the change itself, make one very small tweak that will make it easier for you to achieve the result you want (or make it harder for you to break your own rule). Let me know how it goes!!