Building new habits is hard. We are creatures of habit, so once we get into a routine it becomes tough to change. It helps to start small and wean yourself into the new habit day by day, little by little, without much expectation of the outcome.

Then, 3 or 4 days later, you get into the swing of things and it becomes easy to keep up with. The hard part is starting, but once you’ve done that, the daily action that was once uncomfortable because comfortable. It feels automatic. Once you’re at that point, what’s uncomfortable is not doing the thing that you do daily.

But there are more factors that go into building habits.

Your environment, location, people, surroundings, all play a part in the degree of comfortability when changing habits.

Once you’ve developed a habit, it’s easy to stick with when you’re in control of your environment. You have a schedule, you wake up in the same place with the same people, and that’s what makes it easy to stick with. When you’re in your element, comfortably in your routine, consistent habits like reading, writing, and meditating daily become seamless quickly.

The real test comes when you change your location, people, and surroundings. It instantly becomes much harder to stick to your routine because while your routine isn’t being changed, other factors surrounding you have changed. It’s no longer automatic. Changing your environment and trying to continue daily habits that you’ve been doing lately is almost like starting new habits completely. It’s uncomfortable again.

This is why everyone slacks on their goals when they spend time with family for the holidays or when they go on vacation or extended trips. An environment change prompts that uncomfortable, uncertain feeling. It can be frustrating, but…

What if this is a good thing?

The most growth that comes from choosing to build a habit of reading every day doesn’t come 2 months in when it’s a natural, consistent part of your routine. Growth is at its peak when you are struggling the most. It’s like a muscle. If you want to continue to build your muscles, you must continue to push the limits. Body builders don’t bench press the same weight throughout their training. Once the weight becomes comfortable, they switch it up. They add weight or add an exercise and make it uncomfortable for themselves again, because they know that’s the only time growth happens.

In a new environment, you’re introduced to new ideas with new people, you get excited about new things, experience new dynamics, and you have a new schedule. Sticking to your daily disciplines in new places and around new people is the hard part.

Being pushed into new environments forces you to readjust. You have a choice to either react to your new environment, or to let your environment mold around your habits. Your new environment doesn’t naturally prompt the daily habits you built into your routine when you were at home, comfortably in your routine, so choosing the latter is like choosing to build a new habit altogether.

If you choose the latter, it may take a few days, but you will readjust. Then, when you change your environment again, the same thing happens. You must re-readjust. The key to staying consistent is to stick to the principle behind your actions, and the reason you chose to do them in the first place.

Don’t let your environment decide what type of person you want to be. Decide what person you want to be, then be that person in every environment you find yourself in. Understand that it’s not easy. You do these things to develop yourself, knowing that the work is happening when you are struggling.

If your goal is to build yourself, does it makes sense to choose the easy path when things get tough?