Reverse engineer a habit by creating friction.

The tricks that Netflix and grocery stores use to keep us watching and buying (setting up the next episode to screen automatically, and keeping convenient add-on items near the checkout lane) are the same tools we can engineer and reverse engineer to ensure we create better habits.

A habit, by definition is a repeated behavior that occurs subconsciously.

Wendy Wood explains it is easier to overeat popcorn during a family movie when the entire bowl of popcorn is close by, like the grocery store.  Reverse engineer it: Wood suggests we create friction in subconscious forces. Keeping the bowl of popcorn in the kitchen and out of plain sight, or eating with your non-dominant hand.

Or, engineer it:  Hate working out? Listen to audio books on the treadmill.  Working out is now tempting.

We can use our environments to gain, and regain, control of our subconscious minds, and, therefore, our habits.

Tip: to change a habit, change the environment.

Originally published on LinkedIn.