Environment programs our behavior:: to change the behavior, change the environmental cues
"Once a behavior had been repeated a lot, especially if the person does it in the same setting, you can successfully change what people want to do. But if they've done it enough, their behavior doesn't follow their intentions," Neal explains. Neal says this has to do with the way that our physical environments come to shape our behavior. "People, when they perform a behavior a lot — especially in the same environment, same sort of physical setting — outsource the control of the behavior to the environment," Neal says. […] consider what happens when you perform a very basic everyday behavior like getting into a car. "Of course on one level, that seems like the simplest task possible," Neal says, "but if you break it down, there's really a myriad set of complex actions that are performed in sequence to do that." You use a certain motion to put your key in the lock, and then physically manipulate your body to get into the seat. There is another set of motions to insert the key in the ignition. "All of this is actually very complicated and someone who had never driven a car before would have no ability to do that, but it becomes second nature to us," Neal points out. "[It's] so automatic that we can do it while we are conducting complex other tasks, like having conversations." Throughout the process, you haven't thought for a second about what you are doing, you are just responding to the different parts of the car in the sequence you've learned. "And very much of our day goes off in this way," Wood says. "About 45 percent of what people do every day is in the same environment and is repeated." […] In this way, Neal says, our environments come to unconsciously direct our behavior. Even behaviors that we don't want, like smoking. "For a smoker, the view of the entrance to their office building — which is a place that they go to smoke all the time — becomes a powerful mental cue to go and perform that behavior," Neal says.