Connection & A Sense of Community

community environment healthy habits social environment Oct 12, 2022

Our environment has a deep and under-appreciated impact on our habits and behaviors. But it’s not only our physical environment: environment also refers to the people you’re surrounded with on a regular basis and what you choose to feed your mind (i.e. what you spend your time watching, reading, and listening to).

Typically, when we desire to make a change, we don’t place adequate emphasis on our environment. We tend to focus all our attention on what we alone can do. This is extremely flawed though because if we don’t also work on affecting our environment, we are far too likely to fall into past patterns.

Each group or community that we are connected with has an unwritten set of expectations, rules, and standards that may not even be conscious to us. These rules/expectations often guide our behaviors. The “normal” behavior of the tribe often overpowers the desired behavior of the individual.

Many people also feel pressure to uphold certain habits and identities within their group and fear rejection if their new goals threaten the connection. We always WANT to belong, to feel like we fit in, and that our actions are “approved” by the group. So if you find yourself in a position of wanting to achieve goals that aren’t necessarily supported by your current community, you need to expand it.

Let’s take the goal of getting healthier for example. Maybe you’re not currently part of a community that values healthy eating, exercise, and taking good care of your body. This doesn’t mean that you have to completely separate from your current environment which will likely include your friends and family…it just means that you need to expand it to include groups and communities that DO value the same lifestyles and goals, and are more aligned with your desires.

Friends eating together off of a cheese plate

What does your community look like? Image: Pexels - cottonbro

Nutritionist and best-selling author Shawn Stevenson says: “The number 1 thing you can do to transform your health is to get yourself around healthy people. Get yourself in that environment. It’s very difficult to go to Mcdonald’s if you’re with a healthy person. You really are the PRODUCT of your environment…and the great thing about being human is that we also get to be the CREATOR of our environment. You get to consciously choose”.

If you don’t have a community that supports your current goals and you can’t easily identify who they would be or even where to look for them, start by listening to uplifting podcasts, reading books that are in alignment with your goals, and start asking around! Seek out people who are already doing what it is that you want to do and who have the mental mindset you are looking to cultivate in yourself.

Habits expert James Clear also says this: “One of the most effective things you can do to build better habits is to join a culture where your desired behavior is the normal behavior. New habits seem achievable when you see others doing them every day. Your culture sets your expectations for what is ‘normal’. Surround yourself with people who have the habits you want to have yourself.”

Having the support of a like-minded community can and does make all the difference. It truly does take a village! Work on finding a community that is in alignment with your values and rise together!

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