If you have ever wanted to give up a bad habit (smoking cigarettes, drinking too much alcohol, coffee, Dr. Pepper, eating ice cream, watching T.V., having sex with strangers) you know stopping can be more difficult than first anticipated. Not only are we driven my our habits, routines created over several years of doing the same activity, but our physical habits, thought patterns, and even our homes can lead us back to using, and abusing, a substance or activity. For this, we must be diligent about changing our mental, emotional, and environmental landscape.
Change Your Environment
A friend of mine who uses Feng Shui in her interior designing explained how the layout of a home is indicative of the layout of the mind. If one is going to effectively change a habit or behavior they must also change their environment. This made total sense to me and often where I see clients struggle.
Take for instance giving up a habit such as drinking coffee in the morning. If I am going to give up drinking coffee, I need to change the layout in my kitchen. I need to remove the coffee maker and replace it with a tea kettle, as well as give away the coffee beans I have in the pantry and replace them with tea. In an extreme attempt to interrupt the bed-to-coffee-maker pattern, I could place my yoga mat on the kitchen floors as way to prompt me to stretch to awaken my body instead of relying on caffeine. This alone isn’t going to keep me from drinking coffee, but the change in my environment supports my goal and makes it more likely to continue without coffee.
Another example, which I am working on currently, is getting back into a daily formal meditation routine by dedicating myself to 40 continuous days of practice. Many of you might be thinking, “Changing the habit of not meditating isn’t life or death like alcoholism or anorexia…”. On the contrary, meditation is how I discovered how to sit with uncomfortable feelings instead of numb them with food, alcohol, nicotine, and marijuana. To ensure my meditation success I didn’t just ‘hope’ to be able to complete the 40 days. No. I bought a calendar to put in the kitchen, marking down each day in the succession, which changed the environment, as well as placing meditation cushion and chairs in the living room for easy access and no room for excuses. I also enlisted my partner to be an accountability buddy, reminding one another each evening of the goal. And finally, created a plan to sit for 10 minutes for the first 10 days, 15 minutes for days 10-20, 20 minutes for days 20-30, and 30 minutes for days 30-40.
Both of these examples include a change of environment, crucial to the success of the desired habit change. Without these it would become too easy fall back into the unwanted habit or justify quitting the new and desired routine. If you are serious about changing your patterns, habits, and/ or addictive tendencies, you need to get serious by making changes in your environment. You can also ask for help from co-workers, friends, partners/spouses, or contact your local Feng Shui interior designer 🙂
For those incredibly brave, serious folks who are ready to tackle their habits which are getting in the way of living a healthy, fulfilling life, check out my resource Creating a Bad Habit Busting Recovery Wellness Plan, attached below.
If you need more support on this long, arduous, adventurous road to recovery, contact me!