The most honest and powerful way to change yourself is by leveraging your external environment. When you make an abrupt and intense change to your environment, you’re forced to change yourself.
When I moved to United States I admit life begin to slip from my control.
Throughout high school, my life lacked stability. I felt like I had nothing to hold on to. My sister and I went to different universities and we were exposed to different kinds of people.
Most of my friends spend a lot of times partying, eating junk food and drinking alcohol. My lifestyle consisted of pop tarts, coffee, and Dr. pepper and staying up all night. I had become the product of an environment I was internally conflicted with.
Life had sent me on a rough ride and I was beginning to settle in, convincing myself that “this is just how life is.”
Even though I have graduated with Honors, I was burned out and not healthy physically or emotionally. After graduating college and working different jobs, I decided to incrementally separate myself from my environment. I needed out, a fresh start, a new beginning, a new identity. I knew I couldn’t completely reset myself if I stayed home.
I moved away to California.
I left my friends, family.
Everyday I went to Griffith Park and those days at the park throughout my week began to change me. Being outside the triggers and emotions of my environment allowed me to think clearly. I was able to think about the life I was creating for myself. I could see that I was adapting to a life I didn’t want. I was able to think about who I wanted to be and the future and I wanted for myself.
A switch flipped.
In my new environment and role, I could be whoever I wanted to be. No one knew who I was. For two years, my entire mission consisted of unceasingly helping other people, often from far worse backgrounds than my own. In addition, I spent countless hours reading books and filling stacks of journals, which gave me massive clarity, inspiration, motivation. I was investing in my future.
When I returned home, I no longer fit my previous environment. I was different, and I was surprised by how much things had remained the same while I was gone.
I never had any doubts that I would succeed- not because of some inherent talent I possess but rather because my situation demands me to be successful.
I invested most of my income into things I could not do and therefore I had to grown into the environment I created for myself. I thrived on pressure, which constantly forced me to show up day after day.
My coaches were relying on me, my family was relying on me and my clients rely on me. Not only that, but I also see a great need in the world. Every person has enormous potential. If I can do anything to help other people, I will. The need is great.
I share my story as evidence that you can change.
But you must change your environment. You must continually change your environment everytime you’re ready to upgrade yourself, which I hope becomes a pattern throughout your life. Never stop evolving. Never stop being transformed through experience and relationships, whether that be with others or even with your higher power.
You can do this.
Whatever you are, whatever you’re dealing with, and whatever has happened to you, you can change. You can live your values and dreams. But it will never happen for you if you let your external world remain how it is. I can promise you that. I’ve watched most of the people in my life struggle to change because they’ve put all the pressure on themselves. It didn’t work. It can’t work.
When you change your environment, you will change. But it must be YOUR choice. If someone changes your environment for you, your chances of adopting long-term will be low. Although you are the product of your environment, that environment must be your proactive decision. Otherwise, you’re living reactively. Are you ready?
Viktoriya and Oksana Gruzdyn are Nutritionists and Immunotherapy Researchers based in Detroit, MI. They specialize in helping people reverse autoimmune and other chronic illnesses by optimizing their immune function and cellular repair.