If we want to form new, good habits, we have to make it easier for ourselves to succeed. And if we want to avoid bad habits, we need to make them harder on ourselves. That’s according to USC psychology professor Dr. Wendy Wood.
For example, there was a study to see how far people traveled to work out. And it found that the closer a gym was to the person, the more likely they were to exercise.
When the gym was 2 miles away, people went 5 times a month.
But if the gym was just one extra mile away - which is nothing if you’re driving there - people only went once a month! The extra mile that deterred people from working out is what experts call “friction.” Those are environmental factors that make us less likely to engage in a particular behavior. So we need to add friction to bad habits we’d like to change… and decrease friction for good habits we’d like to adopt.
So if you’re trying to kick procrastination, delete time-stealing apps from your phone. That way, if you want to check Instagram, you need to log on through a regular computer. Want to exercise more, leave your running shoes by the front door.
Bottom line: Dr. Wood says, increase friction to change bad habits - and decrease friction to adopt good habits.