Peaceful motivation is about getting things done without forcing yourself to do them. All carrot, no stick.
Step 3: Environment.
Your environment includes everything around you – physical and virtual – that can help or hinder you from accomplishing your goals. Your schedule, your home, your workplace, your computer – whatever’s around you when you’d like to be working toward your goals.
Why environment is so important
Motivation by itself isn’t enough to create action. If you’re motivated to knit at this particular moment, but you happen to be driving down the freeway at 70 miles per hour, you won’t (we hope) act on that motivation. If you’re motivated to write, but don’t have your laptop handy, you won’t be able to act on that motivation.
You need an environment that makes it easy for you.
And you need an environment that doesn’t make it hard for you.
Make it easy!
Set up your environment in a way that makes it easy to achieve your goal.
For example, I love to play DDR, but there’s a fair amount of setup involved. I’ve got to drag the pad out, lay it on the floor, find the control box, hook it up, then move the fan so it’s positioned correctly. Often, I’ll feel motivated to play DDR, but I think about how time-consuming and annoying the setup process is, and it just doesn’t feel worth it. I’m tasting it, and I have the energy, but my environment isn’t making it easy.
Now I have a DDR nook! I have a third of a room where my pad, control box, and fan are all permanently set up! I even repurposed an old laptop as a dedicated DDR machine. And now I play DDR far more often because it’s so much easier.
What would you do more of if it were easier?
And what’s one thing you could do right now to make it easier?
There. That’s one half of optimizing your environment. The other half is fixing things that make it hard for you to achieve your goal.
Make it not hard!
Imagine that your goal is to declutter your house, but there are pigs all over your living room.
You step over a pig to pick up a book, you straddle another pig to get to the bookshelf, you put the book on the shelf, you avoid a pig to get to the table, you pick the mail up off the table, you trip over a pig and drop the mail…
Wouldn’t you be happier if you got the pigs out of your living room first?
I know it sounds ridiculous, but I’ve seen things that are just as ridiculous with my own eyes. I’ve seen a writer try to write with a sticky spacebar. I’ve seen a programmer try to code with an ancient, slow, hulking computer. I’ve seen an entrepreneur try to run a business while traveling the country adjusting to life in an RV. (All three of those examples are me, by the way. So I can totally understand why you still have those pigs in your living room.)
If someone’s in the same room watching TV, that’s a pig in your living room.
If you have a tab open to Facebook, that’s a pig in your living room.
If your work area is messy or unpleasant, that’s a pig in your living room.
If your phone goes “bong!” when you get new mail, that’s a pig in your living room.
If you’re too hot or too cold, that’s a pig in your living room.
If you have the StumbleUpon plugin installed, that’s a pig in your living room.