Imagine you're suddenly in a different country, say Fiji for example. You're in an apartment looking out past palm trees to the crystal water and white sandy beach. It's sunny, there's a gentle breeze, fresh scent of flowers in the air, and a lovely fresh fruit platter in front of you...

Chances are you're imaging the scene, perhaps feeling upbeat being somewhere new and inspiring.

You might think moving to such a place might help you leave behind some old bad habits from back home, and you'd be right.

Research shows that moving to a new environment (even something less glamorous like students moving to a new campus) removes many or most physical cues for our behaviors, and encourages us to make new decisions about daily routines.

For example, "Should I really be watching television?" or "Do I really need to binge on chocolate each night" etc.

This makes sense, as most habitual behaviour is guided by stimulus cues, and less by explicit goals - remove the cues and the behavior is far less likely to occur.

So how to play that to our advantage?

Assuming you're not rich enough to buy a beachfront apartment on a private island (if you are, I'll start packing!) or feasible to swap homes or locations, you can still change your environment in other ways.

Pick a different path for your morning run, rearrange your office space, hang a nature print in your bedroom, clear your pentry then restock it with healthy foods you wouldn't buy normally, sell that TV, uninstall that social media app, remove the speed-dial to that local pizza place, sign up for lessons in a new sport you've never tried before, change your morning alarm track... you get the picture.

Some small but meaningful changes to your environment can really help shake you into a new start.

What can you think of that you could change in an hour or two?

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