Over the last couple years since I discovered life coaching for health and weight loss, I have found that boundaries are one of the most underrated hacks that we can keep in our tool belt. First of all, you might ask, what is a boundary when it comes to habit change? A boundary is any rule you have in place to keep you from jumping over that line you have drawn that you do not want to cross. They do two things: provide extra distinction about what habit you are trying to avoid/change and they also provide healthy buffering to keep you from being extra tempted.
I know that some might resist having a set rule or boundary. However, if you feel yourself disliking the idea of a rule, I want to encourage you that as we provide boundary lines for health, God’s goodness is still within those spaces. In Psalm 16:5-8, ESV, the psalmist writes, “The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance. I bless the Lord who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.”
Let me give you some examples of what a boundary might look like for habit change.
Someone who is trying to keep from drinking too much alcohol might have a boundary set in place that they will only have an alcoholic beverage if they have already drank all their required water for the day and have 8 oz of water with every alcoholic beverage they drink. As you can see, this keeps them from drinking earlier in the day and it also requires them to slow down, drinking a glass of water between their alcoholic beverages. Another example of a boundary is that someone does not eat anymore after dinner. This would keep them from grazing and snacking. It might also get them to bed a little earlier without that bowl of popcorn calling their name.
I totally put boundaries in place in my life. To be honest, they give me more peace. I have less arguments in my head when I know exactly what I need to do in order to keep myself on the healthy path ahead of me.
Journal Prompt: What are some difficult areas, situations, or times in relation with the habit you are changing/breaking? What would be a good boundary or rule to have in order to protect your choices? How would you feel about trying that for a week and then evaluating how effective it is?
by Lora Armendariz
You Can Do It!
Do you want to fall out of love with a destructive habit? The first 42 episodes of this podcast are a resource for anyone who wants encouragement and information as they take a six week break from a habit in order to fall out of love with it.