Help your future self make better decisions

A key component of starting and maintaining a positive habit is how you set up your environment. Make the path to acting on the right decision as easy as possible.

I like to run in the morning when my willpower is at its peak. I try to leave early enough to get back before our kids wake up, so this typically means I’m up between 5:30 and 6:00.

I don’t naturally wake up that early, so when that alarm sounds, I need to make each step I take from choosing to get out of bed to going out the door as effortless as possible.

With a little bit of preparation the night before I can significantly reduce the friction and increase my chances of overcoming the resistance.

The night before a run I set out my running clothes, tell my wife I’m going running in the morning, set my alarm, and go bed at a decent time. By doing this I’m setting myself up to make as few decisions as possible when that alarm goes off in the morning.

When I’m tired, the quality of my decisions goes way down. The more I automate the process beforehand, the easier it will be for me to do the thing my past self committed to doing.

A little bit of planning and preparation can make all the difference.