Have you ever struggled to execute a personal change? Where you had the plan detailed but there were actions you didn’t take because there were routines or people that distracted your doing?

I was speaking with a client recently about the progress of her change goals. She stated that while she felt good about her strategy for better health, her daily routines and obligations were getting in the way of her taking consistent action.

It was apparent that we needed to spend more time discussing and planning for her to change the relationship she had with her environment so she could take action.

By changing your story, you are also changing the story of how it (place or thing) or they experience you. Change is hard on the environment as it or they expect you to act and react in the same way you have in the past.

Our environments offer distractions to our overall purpose and the changes we are seeking. Simply, the environment creates noise.

The environment will fight (consciously or unconsciously) to keep you in the place where it is comfortable. That place may not align with where you want to go now. For some people and things, it is easy as they have limited interactions with you or might already be abandoned in your past. For others, it’s hard. Through history, you played a certain role for them or you created a certain experience. Going to the bar, for instance, might equate to always having a drink together. Going home to visit your parents could always mean playing a role as though you were still in high school. Being in a personal relationship perhaps always meant you were passive.

In our day-to-day lives, we manage through the noises. We could be working, then all of a sudden a co-worker asks us a question that distracts us from our immediate thought process or work goal. But the more distractions you manage through, the harder it is to focus on the new tasks resulting in you being less likely to do them.


To improve our stories, we must change the relationship we have with our environments (that is, people, place or things). That includes changing the way you see yourself, if you are building up confidence while looking for a new job. Changing the relationship you have with shopping and food if you are trying to lose weight. Changing the relationship you have with future significant others, if they are detracting from your goal of financial stability.


When planning for your change and prior to doing anything, consider:

  • What in your environment (people, place, or things) is influencing your ability to change behaviors?
  • What can you do to establish a new relationship with your environment or new routines so you can achieve your goals?
  • How can you build that into your change plans ahead of making the changes?

While not a fail safe, analyzing your environment and integrating strategies that manage those routines, situations or people that help or hinder your ability to do something different will help.

Reply, I would love to hear your stories of how you manage your environment for success!

Dr. Ian Brooks