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3 Simple Strategies to Experience Car-Free Living Benefits, Without Selling Your Car

3 Simple Strategies to Experience Car-Free Living Benefits, Without Selling Your Car

There are obvious car-free living benefits that you hear about all the time: reduced carbon footprint, reduced costs, or perhaps, not having to drive in traffic. You smile and nod your head, and then return to the reality of the modern world where you work across town, shop at discount warehouse club, and/or have kids to cart to school and practice.

What if I told you those were immaterial benefits? There are lots of ways to be eco-friendly, save money, and you can avoid traffic by adjusting your schedule or using public transport.

Car-free living benefits - decluttered

    The real benefits of living car-free are a less cluttered home, reduced stress, increased physical activity, and more family time.

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    That’s a bit more enticing, isn’t it?

    Now, what if I told you that you don’t need to sell away your car to experience these benefits? We started realizing the benefits of car-free living long before we sold our cars and moved from Charlotte, North Carolina to Sydney, Australia.

    Our small family of three moved to Sydney in December 2014, and we have yet to purchase a car. True, we live in a city with pretty decent public transport, and a growing network of protected bicycle lanes, but we also began the journey to car-free living back in the home. It was actually on a recent visit that we saw the massive improvements in our quality of life, thanks to car-free living.

    We spent loads of time during our visit in the car, bought more than we could fit in six giant suitcases, endured a few stressful traffic jams, and put on a few extra pounds. (For full disclosure, it was Thanksgiving.)

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    Through this experience it became obvious to us that living car-free regulates our behavior so that we purchase only the essentials, casually enjoy our commutes, and exercise daily. Upon reflection we discovered that this made us happier, calmer, and healthier, and the best part is we were able to see how this started long before we sold the car. All it requires is a shift in priorities to favor wellbeing over mindless efficiency.

    The 3 Simple Strategies to Experience the Car-Free Living Benefits, Without Selling Your Car:

    Car-free living benefits - carry

      Buy only what you can carry.

      You know those half-price granola bars that tasted like cardboard, or perhaps those Halloween pillows that were just to cute to leave on the sale rack by the register? Those are now gathering dust in a closet, pantry, or worse, the trunk of your car, and they clutter up your life. If you limit purchases to what you can carry, you force yourself to make conscious decisions instead of succumbing to the manipulation of strategic retail placement.

      To implement this strategy, park at the far edge of the parking lot, and carry everything you buy from the store entrance to your vehicle. It is simple: unload your cart at the exit, and physically carry your groceries, homewares, etc. to the car. You will surprise yourself with the mindfulness it adds to your shopping cart, as you begin to think about whether your will be able to manage carrying everything to the car when you see those strategically placed “deals.” Impulse buys will become a thing of the past.

      Car-free living benefits - Couple Carrying Bags

        For a couple blocks, take a walk.

        Walking is a great exercise in awareness, if you put away the phone, but first, you need to get out of your car. Appreciate and discover where you are in the present moment, notice each step you take, observe the sound of your breathing, and don’t let those frantic moments rescuing your toddler from darting into the street mess with your Zen (I jest). Walking provides time to be present in a way that driving doesn’t. When I walk, I am part of the world. When I drive, I am just speeding past it.

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        Walking is easy to implement into your routine, and the examples differ based on where you live. You could walk to a Sunday brunch spot, your neighbor’s house, the mall, or the gym (I see you, people fighting for the closest spot in the gym parking lot). If you do not live in a residential/suburban area, walk from store to store next time you go to shop at 3 stores on 3 corners of the same intersection.

        We used to walk from Trader Joes across the street to Target and back. Not only is this a nice way to slow down and take in a bit of exercise, but it also leverages our first strategy of buying what you can carry. Boom! Reduced clutter, reduced stress from mindful walking, and a bit of exercise to boot.

        Car-free living benefits - Living EZ

          For a bit of a hike, go by bike

          Biking is terrific cardiovascular exercise, plus it extends your range and carrying capacity over walking. When we had cars, we worked up to biking for all trips less than 3 to 5 miles, unless it was raining.

          We love commuting, running errands, and traveling by bike, but it can be daunting for a novice. The first step to a bike trip is connecting with your local cycling community to learn the safest routes. This is often as simple as a Google search, and local bike shops are also great source of information. We had a lot of success connecting with local cyclists through online forums, which is what we did before moving to Sydney, and they are a wealth of information on safe routes and casual (read as Spandex-free) group rides.

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          Next Steps

          These days, vehicle-independence is not just for tree-huggers and hipsters. It’s for everyone willing to slow down and reap the rewards, regardless of where you live. Car-free living unlocks a variety of benefits from improved health to reduced clutter in the home. They are all in reach, as soon as you make a conscious decision to step away from the car – even if it’s just for a moment.

          Photo Credit: Groceries Bike,  Couple Walking

          Featured photo credit: Living EZ via livingez.us

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          Last Updated on October 23, 2019

          50 Habits of Highly Successful People You Should Learn

          50 Habits of Highly Successful People You Should Learn

          If you’re like me and really into self-development, you’ve probably read many of the thousands of self-help books out there on the market. But also like me, you probably find all the information a bit overwhelming.

          That’s why I wanted to do the self-less task of taking the most important, life-changing lessons I’ve drawn from these books and condensed them into fifty key points.

          Here’re 50 habits of highly successful people you should learn:

          1. Believe It to See It

          Our minds tend to focus on what’s happening around us and refuse to see what could happen. Only when you trust in what’s possible and dare to dream big, big things can happen for you.

          2. See Problems as a Wonderful Gift

          While others only see problems and give up, successful people use the problem as a lesson to find improvement in themselves or the task at hand.

          3. Keep Looking for Solutions

          Even if they’re knee-deep in problems, successful people will still put all of their focus on finding solutions.

          4. Remember It’s All About the Journey

          Successful people are conscious and methodical in creating their own success. They don’t sit around doing the bare minimum, hoping success finds them.

          5. Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway

          There’s so much fear on the road to success, but instead of letting that fear control and limit them, successful people do a good job of just forging ahead regardless.

          6. Always Ask Productive Questions

          It’s all about asking the right questions. Successful people make sure they are questions that will elicit information for a more productive, creative and positive mindset moving forward.

          7. Understand the Best Waste of Energy Is Complaining

          Successful people know that choosing to see the negative side of things will only create a useless and unproductive state.

          8. Don’t Play the Blame Game

          Taking responsibility for actions and outcomes is a form of empowerment that you can build your success upon. While the act of blaming others or outside circumstances takes this empowerment away from you.

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          9. Maximize Your Strengths

          Not every successful person is simply more talented than the rest, but they do use what they know they’re good at to achieve more successful results.

          10. Be in It to Win It

          Successful people are busy, productive and proactive. Instead of sitting around over-thinking and over-planning a great idea, they just take a step towards it no matter how small.

          11. Know That Success Attracts Success

          People who are successful surround themselves and seek out like-minded people. They understand the importance of being part of a team and forge win-win relationships.

          12. Actually Choose to Be Successful

          Dreaming big is a massive part of being successful even if your dream seems impossible. Ambition is a mindset that needs to be a daily conscious choice.

          13. Visualize, Visualize, Visualize!

          You’ve got to see your success in your mind’s eye even before it comes. Successful people clarify and get that certainty about what they want their reality to look like rather than being mere spectators of life.

          14. Be a One-Off Original

          Successful people look for what’s working and then create a unique spin on it. Imitating only regurgitates other people’s ideas with no originality.

          15. The Perfect Time to Act Is Now

          Waiting for the right time to act is basically procrastination wrapped up in an excuse. Successful people know there’s never a perfect time so they may as well just do it now.

          16. Keep Learning, Keep Growing

          Continuous learning is the key to a successful life. Whether it’s academic, being a student of life or actionable learning, it’s all about expanding your knowledge and personal development.

          17. Always Look on the Bright Side of Life

          Successful people have the knack for finding positive aspects in all people and circumstances no matter what.

          18. Having a Bad Day? Do It Anyway!

          We all have bad moods but it shouldn’t be an excuse to stop everything. Giving into a bad mood just stop-starts your life, slowing success way down.

          19. Sometimes Risky Business Is Needed

          Calculated risks are a must for success. It’s about weighing the pros and cons while moving forward with that element of trust.

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          20. Accept Challenge All the Time

          Dealing with problems head-on is a must to be successful. Successful people also face challenges in order to improve themselves.

          21. Make Your Own Luck

          In the mindset of a successful person, there’s no such thing as ‘luck’ or ‘fate’. They take control to actively and consciously create their own best life.

          22. Ignite Your Initiative

          While many people are reactive, successful people are proactive – taking action before they have to.

          23. Be the Master of Your Emotions

          Being effective at managing emotions is key on the road to success. That’s not to say successful people don’t feel like we all do, but they’re just not slaves to their emotions.

          24. Champion in Communication

          Consciously working on effective communication skills gets anyone closer to success.

          25. Plan Your Life Strategically

          Successful people’s lives aren’t a clumsy series of unplanned events and outcomes, they methodically work at turning their plans into a reality.

          26. Become Exceptional at What You Do

          To become exceptional, you typically have to do things that most won’t. To become successful, hard decisions need to be made and acting on them is crucial.

          27. Choose to Live Outside of Your Comfort Zone

          While many people are pleasure junkies and avoid pain and discomfort at all costs, successful people understand the value and benefits of working through the tough stuff that most would avoid.

          28. Live by Core Values

          Successful people firstly identify their core values and what’s important to them, then do their best to live a life that reflects these values.

          29. Realize Money Isn’t Everything

          Money and success are not interchangeable and the most successful people understand this. Putting money on a pedestal and equating it to success is a dangerous mindset to have. Success comes in many forms.

          30. Don’t Get Carried Away

          Successful people understand the importance of discipline and self-control and as a result they are happy to take the road less travelled.

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          31. Self-Worth Is Not Tied to Success

          Successful people are secure. They do not derive their self-worth from what they own, who they know, where they live or what they look like.

          32. Kindness Breeds Kindness (And Success)

          Generosity and kindness is a common trait among long-term successful people. It’s important to take pleasure in helping others achieve.

          33. More Humility, Less Arrogance

          Successful people are humble and happy to admit and apologize for mistakes. This is because they’re confident in their ability. They are happy to learn from others and happy to make others look good rather than seek their own personal glory.

          34. Change Opens New Doors

          People who are successful are adaptable and embrace change, while the majority are creatures of comfort and habit. They are comfortable with, and embrace, the new and the unfamiliar.

          35. Success Requires a Healthy Body

          It’s not just how you think, it’s about how you show up for success. Successful people understand the importance of being physically well, not for vain reasons but because being in tiptop condition creates a better personal life for success.

          36. Laziness Just Doesn’t Exist

          Successful people are never considered lazy. Yes, they can relax when they need to, but working hard is their game.

          37. Resilience by the Bucket Load

          When difficulty strikes, most would throw in the towel, but successful people are just warming up.

          38. Feedback Is Just Another Chance to Improve

          How people react to feedback determines their potential for success. Being open to constructive criticism and acting on it to improve is most seen in those who are successful.

          39. Your Vibe Attracts Your Tribe

          If people are hanging out with toxic and negative people, then they need to take a look at themselves. Successful people hang out with others who are positive and supportive.

          40. Can’t Control It? Forget It

          Successful people don’t invest time or emotional energy into things which they have no control of.

          41. Swim Against the Tide

          Successful people are not people-pleasers and they don’t need constant approval from others in order to move ahead.

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          42. Alone Time Is Valuable Time

          More self-worth means being more comfortable with your own company. Successful people are more happy and see the value in spending time alone.

          43. Self-Standard Is Higher Than Most

          Everyone has a choice to set high standards for themselves. Successful people do this, which in turn produces greater commitment, more momentum, a better work ethic and of course, better results.

          44. Failure Isn’t Rationalized

          While many use age, health, lack of time, ‘bad luck’, or lack of opportunity to explain away their failure, the key to success is finding a way to succeed despite facing these challenges.

          45. Down Time Is an Important Part of a Routine

          Having an off switch and taking time to do things that make them happy is a common trait of a successful person. Take a look at here The Importance of Scheduling Downtime.

          46. Career Isn’t Who You Are, It’s What You Do

          Successful people know their career isn’t their identity. They are multi-dimensional and don’t define themselves by their job.

          47. Be Interested in Only the Path of Resistance

          While most people look for the easiest way or the shortcut, successful people are more interested in the most effective way. They look for the course of action which will produce the best results over the long term.

          48. Follow Through

          Many spend their life starting things that they never finish, but successful people get the job done. Even when the excitement and the novelty has worn off they still follow through and finish.

          49. Invest in All Your Dimensions

          We’re not just physical and psychological beings, but emotional and spiritual creatures as well. Successful people consciously work at being healthy and productive on all levels.

          50. Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

          To obtain success, it’s important to practice what you preach. Successful people don’t talk about the theory, they live the reality.

          So there you have it, a summary of what I’ve learned from self-help books. But of course, you need to start taking actions so you will get closer to success too.

          More About Success

          Featured photo credit: Juan Jose via unsplash.com

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