How to eliminate barriers stopping your success
I have a client who mentioned she wanted to start drinking more water. We talked about why it was difficult and how to eliminate barriers standing in her way. It’s a common challenge!
She mentioned she’s had a bottle of water at her desk and looks at it every day, but it’s turned into wallpaper. It’s there, right in her face, but she doesn’t even see it anymore as it’s turned into the atmosphere.
Did you know that people are more likely to drink more water if they use a straw? It may sound insignificant, but there’s a barrier to entry when there’s a more time-consuming screw cap between your mouth and the water.
Barrier to entry definition: An obstacle or obstacles that make it difficult to begin doing the thing you want to do or get access to.
How to eliminate barriers
- Get a straw topper for your water bottle (bottles like Hydroflasks have an optional straw attachment that prevent spillage, too). I recommend reusable plastic-free straws whenever possible, like rubber, metal, glass, or bamboo. They’re better for the environment and better for your finances, since you’ll never have to buy straws again! Selfish sustainability for the win!
- Leave the straw UP.
Whatever the barrier is, whether it be you untwist the lock on the cap, leave the mouthpiece open or get a straw, make it so you don’t have to do anything other than put your mouth on the bottle in order to reach your goal of drinking more water.
I guarantee you’ll drink more water if you have a water bottle with a straw and leave the straw up.
Small barriers can cause big blocks
Did you know that even the smallest barriers of entry can be profound? Car vandals are less inclined to break into your car if the door is locked. Even though they’re prepared to damage and ransack your entire car and even steal it, that one, small barrier to entry makes it so that they move on until they look for a car with the door unlocked. In psychology, it’s called a “channel factor,” a seemingly small feature of a situation that can have large behavioral effects and outcomes.
This is synonymous to so many other barriers to habits and behaviors we want to create and maintain for ourselves.
Eliminating barriers on other common goals
Goal: Exercise in the morning
Barrier removal: Wear your work out clothes to bed so you don’t have to change when you wake up. Hey, they’re comfy!
Goal: Read at night
Barrier removal: Leave the book on your bed, turned to the page you left off at. When you get into bed, you’ll need to pick up the book. And being that it’s already in your hand, opened and turned to the page you want, it’s a lot easier to begin reading.
Make it so easy that there are as few as possible or NO barriers between you and the thing you want to do.
Leave the straw up! My client is now drinking one full Hydroflask a day with this method, on her way to her goal of two a day! Small changes create big results!
What habit are you trying to start, but obstacles are in your way? Let me know in the comments below.
For more tips on habits and how to own your calm, sign up for the Chaos to Calm newsletter!
Reach out, I’m here for you.