I’m ashamed to admit it, but I’m a 36-year-old man who can be defeated by a cookie.

Any cookie really, but Chocolate Hob Nobs are my favourites.

If I have them in the house, I always have a niggling voice at the back of my mind saying, “Just have them now! You’re going to eat them anyway, so get it over and done with.” 

Even when I’ve made a rational decision to eat less because they are bad for me, my subconscious gets the better of me. I’ll literally eat them until I feel unwell, against my better judgment. 

So what do I do? I don’t have them in the house. 

The ‘no cookies in the house’ idea is simply making sure things are ‘out of sight, out of mind’. It’s about creating a space – which can be a physical space, or it can be your mental space – that helps to support you in your goals. After all, if I wanted to eat more cookies, what’s the point torturing myself by having to look at them every time I open the cupboard?

I can still go out and buy them when I want – of course – but at least this way I have more control, by keeping my unruly subconscious at bay in my weaker moments. And, best of all – I feel happier because I don’t keep reminding myself of what I can’t (or shouldn’t) have.

So I’ve been thinking about how I can apply ‘no cookies in the house’ to other things. And it’s easy.

Want to buy less stuff you don’t need? Stop promotional emails coming to your inbox. No cookies in the house.

Want to spend less time on Facebook? Remove the app from your phone. No cookies in the house.

Want to become less obsessed with your appearance? Stop following the Kardashians on Instagram. No cookies in the house.

Of course, all of us have some degree of willpower. We could still buy Wallpaper magazine without being driven to buy loads of new furniture. But ultimately, we’re just putting ourselves in a position where we’re constantly reminding ourselves of the things we can’t – or shouldn’t – have.

So if, like me, you’re trying to create new habits but are finding it a struggle; think:

What are the cookies in my house?

Photo by Davide Carpani on Unsplash