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Create Better Habits by Changing Your Environment

by Anna Dooley
Home/Blog/Protect Your Mental Wellbeing During the COVID-19 Pandemic

If there’s one thing we know in the Paleo community, it’s that we aren’t that different from our ancestors. We’ve inherited a lot from them, but we have very different struggles. For them, health came as a result of survival – movement, sleep, and sunshine weren’t part of their lifestyle, they were the lifestyle. 

We are ancient people in a modern world. Nowadays, survival isn’t much of a challenge. The modern world is all about convenience and efficiency, and it doesn’t take much work to stay alive. But you aren’t interested in just living, you are interested in thriving! And for many of us that grew up and have lived the Standard American Lifestyle, it can be really difficult to switch to a life of movement, health, and personal growth. It takes effort to break free of our long built habits.

We’ve all been trying the willpower thing, with more and less success, long enough to know that it’s rarely enough to build better habits and make lasting change. We usually have to change something else to trigger better habits and to prevent us from backsliding into old ones.

For example: When you first went Paleo, you didn’t just leave the donuts in the cupboard and the chips in the pantry, relying on willpower alone to keep you away: you cleaned house. If and when you were tempted by your sugar dragon, you would have had to go WAY out of your way to feed it. You changed your environment. The next time you went to the grocery store, you went with a brand new list. Now, you probably only use the cereal aisle as a shortcut from the produce to the meat department. You still have to use some willpower now and then to stay on track, but you don’t depend on willpower alone.

The same principle can be applied to any area where we want to make a change so that we can live a healthier and more vibrant life. When faced with a willpower problem, instead of trying to force your way through to change, take a look at your environment and the external factors that are keeping you in the same place.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What makes it easy to keep doing your old habit?
  2. What would make that habit harder to continue?
  3. How can you make your new habit easier?
  4. How can you keep your new goal in the front of your mind?
  5. How can you incorporate your new habit into other areas of your life?

After a quick peruse of the internet, I found six common habits that people try to change, and I brainstormed ways to change your environment so that you can make change happen:

1. Move More

Make It Easier

Make it Harder to NOT Move

2. Eat Better

Make Eating Paleo Easier

Make Non-Paleo Eating Harder

3. Learn New Things

Make It Easier

Make Not-Learning Harder

4. Connect With Friends and Family

Make Connection Easier

Make Disconnection Harder

5. Get Organized

Make it Easier

Make Disorganization Harder

6. Spend Less Time on Facebook

Make it Easier

Make Facebooking Harder

What are the habits you need to change? What habits do you struggle with? Let us know in the comments, and we’ll help you brainstorm some solutions!


The Paleo movement incorporates several different optimizing perspectives for helping you improve your health, all based on the latest science. Everyone is different. We want to support you in understanding your unique genetic makeup, symptoms and health goals so you can choose the path that is right for you.

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Anna Dooley

Anna Dooley

Anna learned about Paleo in the summer of 2011. After gaining and losing the “freshman 15” multiple times through college, it was after graduation that she realized something was wrong with her beliefs about health. The Paleo community set her on the path to real health, introducing her to new and better ideas about functional […]