Most people think of a habit as something unhealthy we need to quit, like smoking cigarettes or watching too much TV or staying up too late and not getting enough sleep. But in reality most of our habits are beneficial, like brushing our teeth, eating breakfast, cleaning up after ourselves. If you think about it, we actually have more good habits than bad.
The benefit of a habit is you do it without thinking. If you have the habit of brushing your teeth every morning, you don’t think through whether you’re going to do it. You just do it.
The habits you have determine the quality of your life.
But as we change and grow, some of our habits will need upgrading. A habit can be so ingrained in us that we don’t even realize that it no longer fits. Taking a trip is a great way to become aware of which habits no longer fit. Traveling typically breaks us out of our routine and many of our habits.
For years, I didn’t take the time to read for pleasure. I only read for work. Last fall we went on a camping trip. On one of the evenings, my husband and I decided to hang out in our camping chairs, with headlamps on, reading our books. I loved it. It was so peaceful and relaxing. Since that trip, I’ve established the habit of reading for pleasure 3 to 4 evenings a week. I love it.
Traveling can also help you realize which habits you value most and want to nurture even more.
When I travel, the typical breakfast is a bagel or pancakes with orange juice. The refined flour and lack of protein and fiber ends up making me feel sluggish and just plain yucky. At home, I eat really healthy, well-balanced breakfasts and feel great. On one trip I realized I wanted to feel as good on vacation as I did at home. So from then on, I packed my healthy breakfasts and brought them with me as I traveled. It’s made a huge difference in the quality of my trips.
Habits can be a positive thing in our lives if we examine them periodically and make sure they are supporting the life we truly want. We’re creatures of habit. We might as well take advantage of that and use our habits to create what we really want in our lives.
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