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Travel-Related Resolutions to Achieve Before Planning Your Next Trip

Travel-Related Resolutions to Achieve Before Planning Your Next Trip

A majority of us want to get out and see more of the world, but very few take action to fulfill that. Travel has become one of the most perennial New Year’s resolutions, yet the hardest to execute.

There’s nothing wrong with placing travel at the top of your New Year’s resolution list, but it isn’t as simple as it seems. Studies report that only about nine percent of people feel they were successful in achieving their resolutions.

All resolutions are correlated to each other, and ever so rarely can we pursue to complete one without the other. “Exercising” for example, has to go hand in hand with “eating right.” Efforts will be partially thrown out the window if you continue consuming the same amount of calories despite your workouts. If this is the case, at least make sure your calisthenics are twice as intense.

There’s more to wanderlust than just packing your bags and leaving.

1. Make Sure Your Plans Are Measurable

Whether your carry-on baggage is an extension of your wardrobe, or your infant, be realistic in terms of money, distance and personal capabilities.

There is such a thing as a “comfort zone” when it comes to travelling. Get to know your own city, region or province first before stepping out onto faraway lands and uncharted waters – literally. Whoever said travel requires a passport or connecting flights never delighted in taking small trips.

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Mix it up; go outdoorsy and hike. Then, immerse yourself in culture and concrete jungles on your next voyage. No one’s stopping you from going somewhere totally far and new, but if you’re more worried than secure, that’s not usually a good sign.

Although there are plenty of budget friendly itineraries and places to visit, don’t be easily fooled by the offers and deals you see. Cold tolerance quite low? Hit up tropical destinations instead. Pick locations you know will nourish your body and soul, and won’t put your well-being in jeopardy.  Having a timeline of your plans for the whole year is beneficial if you have more than one trip planned.

2. Be Organized

Leaving everything behind (no matter how temporary) in exchange for an escapade will always have consequences. The last thing you want to think about while sunbathing and lounging in Bali is the unfinished research paper on your desk at home. Delays and failing to meet deadlines also have the ability to ruin, push back or affect your ready-made plans. Work first, before relaxing and focusing on the fun.

Always have a backup. More often than not, itineraries are never followed to the last detail. What if the bus or train system fails? No one has an extra copy of the itinerary. Your luggage never emerged from the conveyor belt. We’re not saying you should over-pack and bring things “just in case,” but it’s always a good idea to have a plan B in case of emergencies. This includes medical or car insurance, should anything unfortunate occur on the roads.

Don’t get too excited and use up all your vacation days in one trip. Spread it out instead. If planned well, your stops and destinations can all be visited and enjoyed at record times.

3. Learn How To Manage Finances Better

It may be true that some aspects of travel have become very affordable – some are even free – thanks to couch surfing, Airbnb, hostels and backpacking trends.

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If the dates can be easily rearranged, stay on the lookout for promotional air fares and discounted accommodations. Know that there is a risk to jumping into things too quickly. No matter how willing you are, always remember to check your wallet. Coming back home poorer than you were before the trip is “normal” – just as long as you’re not flat-out-broke.

Try investing in travel gear that can endure every rough handling from airports everywhere. Packing cubes save you more space to avoid overweight baggage at the airport’s scale. Racking up your frequent flyer miles will also benefit you when you spontaneously book a trip.

 4. Take Better Care Of Your Health

So many resolutions revolve around overall health. From losing weight, gaining muscles, toning up, and eating less processed foods, there is no doubt that all of us have one of these in mind.

Sightseeing while an oxygen tank trails behind you isn’t exactly the most convenient way to be a tourist. Traveling in tropical, oriental and Asian cities require a lot of walking. Weak knees and ankles will easily get sore and suffer.

On the other hand, if your plans include more outdoorsy activities like hiking up various mountains, prepare beforehand by building up your stamina.

Squeeze in a set of workout clothes in your luggage, try to wake up an hour earlier than usual, then go for a quick run. Travel is actually the perfect motivator when it comes to jogs or runs – you get to enjoy a new view daily, and surprises await you in every corner.

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5. Reconnect With Friends

Travel allows you to connect with people, whether or not you just met them minutes ago or have known each other for decades.

Out of the social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, one of them will gladly play detective with you and help you find your long lost elementary or high school bff. Before you know it, you’ll be making plans to reunite. If you offer, you might even be lucky enough to have all your accommodations covered. You just saved yourself a one hundred bucks or so, depending on the location.

6. Regulate Your Sleeping Schedule

Adjusting sleeping schedules accompanied by jetlag is one of the top struggles of travelers. Some of us are fond of booking round-trips that are on sale and red-eye flights, thinking it won’t seriously affect us.

Once you get the hang of putting yourself to sleep effortlessly, being in a different time zone and unfamiliar environments will no longer suck up your remaining battery. Refrain from relying on sleep medications and over the counter sleep aids. Ah, the advantages of being someone who can sleep anywhere.

If world leaders can travel between various time zones and still manage to run a country, getting your days back to normal shouldn’t be too difficult.

7. Learn A New Language

Although English is a universal language, not everyone you come across will be able to speak it. You don’t need to be fluent in the native language to survive in your temporary host country. Getting by with just basic phrases are more than enough. Striking up conversation with locals is the easiest way to unconsciously lessen the impact of culture shock.

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Learning a new language also builds self-confidence. You don’t even need to enroll in an actual academy to improve your bilingual skills.

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Work on small goals first. Once you remind yourself that your trip is a long-term goal being put to action, all the hassle and stress fades away.

We don’t always have to plan trips down to the last, little detail. Leave some room for spontaneity and surprises, too. We live in a digital world where “wifi” is an international commonly known term. As long as you can read, interact with people well, have common sense and a smartphone, you’ll never be totally lost.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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Last Updated on August 20, 2019

How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life.

Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affect your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality. (And here’s Why Your Perception Is Your Reality.)

I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive and just a general waste of energy.

You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Become the master of your mind.

When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

I currently have few thoughts that are not of my own choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in charge of your thoughts. If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create the most unhealthy and unproductive thoughts:

1. The Inner Critic

This is your constant abuser who is often a conglomeration of:

  • Other people’s words; many times your parents.
  • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
  • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
  • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

The Inner Critic is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

Why else would this person abuse you? And since this person is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

2. The Worrier

This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”

The Worrier is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it. Occasionally, this person is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

This is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

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This person can be set off by words or feelings, and can even be set off by sounds and smells.

The Reactor has no real motivation and has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves you, if it ever did.

4. The Sleep Depriver

This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

The Sleep Depriver’s motivation can be:

  • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
  • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
  • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalized anxiety
  • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

How can you control these squatters?

How to Master Your Mind

You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You must pay attention to your thoughts so you can identify “who” is running the show; this will determine which technique you will want to use.

Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

There are two ways to control your thoughts:

  • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
  • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

This second option is what is known as peace of mind!

The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go to” thoughts in the applicable situations.

Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier; and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

For the Inner Critic

When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

You can also have a dialogue with yourself with the intention of discrediting the ‘voice’ that created the thought, if you know whose voice it is:

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“Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready. This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

  • They rile up the Worrier.
  • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
  • They are often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
  • They are a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
  • They are the destroyer of self-esteem. They convince you that you’re not worthy. They’re a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get them out!

Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

Replace them with your new best friends who support, encourage, and enhance your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

For the Worrier

Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind and creates anxiety in the body.

You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

  • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
  • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
  • Muscles tense

Use the above stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

“Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense; both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

Now take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like!

Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

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For example:

If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

“I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place. Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

“Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

For the Trouble-Maker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers; but until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain:

  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; surge of adrenaline
  • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
  • Muscles tension

I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds; just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

Breathe in through your nose:

  • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
  • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
  • Focus on your belly rising.

Breathe out through your nose:

  • Feel your lungs emptying.
  • Focus on your belly falling.
  • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize.

Now you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior.

One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting, or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

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Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

For the Sleep Depriver

(They’re made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

  1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
  2. Then I came up with replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and I choose quiet.

From the first time I tried this method I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (Closed, of course!). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

You can also use this technique any time you want to:

  • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon.
  • Shut down your thinking.
  • Calm your feelings.
  • Simply focus on the present moment. 

The Bottom Line

Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes.

You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!

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Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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