Constrain the System

Technology has made lots of things easy for us. Until recently, humans spent most of our time trying to eat and stay alive. Now, we have 15 choices of what to have for dinner, endless shows to choose from on Netflix and hits of dopamine every time we pick up our phone.

Our world is complex. There are too many options and chances for us to fall off the wagon. We need a way to simplify our decision making and rule out options that aren’t benefitting us. We need to constrain the system. Leave less options available, which in turn, will allow for easier, better decision making.

Here’s an example. I never have ice cream in the house. Ever. If I do, I eat it. All. I can occasionally have ice cream as a treat, and I do. But I’m never going to buy it at the grocery store on Sunday and save it for Friday night. I need rules in place to limit my reliance on willpower. The same goes for social media. I have the screen time app block all social media from 8pm-6am. It’s removes the option and the mental battle of pulling up Instagram while drinking coffee on the couch early in the morning. There’s just not an option because I’ve put constraints on usage.

Outride of our home, we can force rules to make us walk more. I always park far away. It forces me to get some more walking in, no matter what. It's not an option to park close to where I’m going. Constraint on the system. The same goes for taking the stairs. Just take them! Make it not an option. 

Constraining the system like this let’s us control our environment, instead of being subjected to it. These rules will develop habits to make living a healthier life easier and more accessible. We can’t rely on willpower to improve. It won’t work.

Justin Miner


Justin MinerComment