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The Benefits and Dangers of Habits

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The Benefits and Dangers of Habits

Habit: a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up.

The topic of this article is particularly interesting to me because I believe that most of us really don’t consciously create our habits, and yet, they are what influence our actions and thoughts the most.

Some habits help your productivity while others lead to self-sabotage.

A productive habit could be a morning ritual of gratitude journaling, or even just drinking a glass of water when you get out of bed.

A self-sabotaging habit could be procrastinating on tasks that could be easily completed on the spot, or mindlessly eating bread when you sit down for dinner.

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Most of our thoughts and actions seem to be on autopilot.  This could be great if habits are designed proactively, but it can also harm us in the long run.

We tend to act and think based on what automatically serves our most immediate needs and what we are familiar with.  This often works against us in the long run because we get used to making unconscious (unaware) decisions.

Bringing awareness to your recurring thoughts and actions.

The very first step to change and build new habits is bringing awareness to those thoughts and actions that are repetitive—because they are gaining strength every minute.

Start by paying attention to your actions and the results of those actions.  Pay attention to what your thoughts are on a regular basis.  Thought patterns are habits too.

The more aware you are of your thoughts and actions, the more power you have to break patterns that don’t serve you and replace them with something that makes you more productive.

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Breaking and designing new habits is a result of awareness, which leads to conscious repetition, which leads to habit, which leads to hypnotic rhythm.

The Law of Hypnotic Rhythm.

The Law of Hypnotic Rhythm is when a thought or physical movement repeats itself over and over through habit to the point where it reaches permanency.

In other words, the more something is repeated, the more likely it is to get to a point where it is locked in motion.  Once something is locked in motion, it is incredibly difficult to change.

Do you have someone in your life that is set in their ways?  If so, I don’t need to tell you how challenging it is to introduce new routines to them.

The longer habits are in motion, the more power they have over you (even if you are well aware of them).

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That is why it is crucial to proactively be aware of your habits and design them intentionally and that will help you break old negative habits.

Consciously design habits that benefit you and kill those that don’t.

It’s better to add a new positive habit before trying to destroy a negative one.

Start with something small and repeat it on a regular basis.  Use your smart phone or an alarm at the same time of the day ideally.

For example, I wanted to stop checking email first thing in the morning because I found that it led me to feeling overwhelmed.  Instead, I chose to start my day with gratitude to get my mind clear and start in a place of power.  So, I set my alarm clock on my iPhone to read “Gratitude.”  I immediately started thinking of all that I was grateful for right when I woke up.  I did this first for about a month or so.  This made me feel good, and I got hooked on feeling good right when I woke up.  I noticed I felt way more control.  This habit is now locked in and I no longer feel that feeling of overwhelm in the morning.

Follow these steps to gain control over your habits.

1.  Bring awareness to any negative habits you currently hold (actions and thoughts.).

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2.  Pick something small and manageable to add to your routine that will make you feel good before trying to destroy a negative habit.

3.  Incorporate the new positive habit to take place of the habit you want to destroy.

I encourage you to share anything that has worked for you.  Please comment below.

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Last Updated on January 13, 2022

How to Use Travel Time Effectively

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How to Use Travel Time Effectively

Most of us associate travel and time with what we’re going to do one we get to our destination. Planning and mapping out what to do once you arrive can certainly make for a more pleasurable vacation, but there are things you can do while you are on your way that can make it even better.

Sure, you can plan for the things you’re going to do on your vacation while you are travelling en route – but what about making use of that time for other things that you don’t usually do when you’re at home? You don’t need to have your gadgets with you to do it, and you can really connect with yourself if you take the time to manage your life while heading towards your vacation destination.

Here are some great tips to help you with your time management while you travel, some of which are more conventional than others. Nonetheless, you can find out what works best for you and apply them accordingly depending on when and how you are travelling.

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1. Take Your Time Getting There

As I write this, I’m on a flight to San Francisco. Flying is the fastest way to get from place to place, and for many people it’s really the only way to travel.

But I’ve often taken the train or ferry on trips so that I have extra time without distraction to get more done. I’m not worrying about navigation or lack of space to do what I want to do. Instead I’m able to focus on getting stuff done during the time I’ve got without feeling rushed. For example, when I took the train from Vancouver to Portland, it was an eight hour trip and I managed to get a ton of writing done and closed a lot of open loops. It also was less expensive than flying, which was a bonus.

Sometimes taking the long way to get somewhere on vacation can be the best thing for you to get somewhere with your life.

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2. Go Gadget-Free

This is going to be a tough one for a lot of you. But why do you need to bring your gadgets with you when you go on vacation? It isn’t be a bad idea to leave all but one of them behind, and only pull out that one when you absolutely need to do so. In some countries, you’d be wise to be discreet with them anyway since flaunting them in front of those that are less fortunate than you isn’t a good practice. While it may not seem like flaunting to you, in different cultures it can definitely come across that way.

If you can’t go gadget-free, then at least go Internet-free. If you use a task management app that requires syncing across your multiple devices to be effective, remember that if you only have the one device with you then it can be the “master device” for the time being and will store your data locally anyway. Just sync up when you get home.

3. Reflect and Prepare

Finally, going on any sort of excursion gives you the perfect opportunity to reflect on where you’ve been. The fact you have removed yourself from where you usually are can give you a perspective that you simply can’t get when you’re at home. You may want to journal your thoughts during this time – and by taking more time to get to your destination you’ll have more time to dig deeper into it.

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After a period of reflection – however long that happens to be – you can then begin to not only prepare for the rest of your travels, you can prepare for the rest of what happens afterward. The reflection period is important, though. You need to really know where you’ve been in order to properly look at where you want to be. Time away from things gives you that chance.

Conclusion

Traveling isn’t always about where you’re going and how quickly you can get there. In fact, it’s rarely about that at all.

More often it’s where you’re at in your head that will dictate how much you benefit from traveling. So don’t just go somewhere fast. Instead, take your time on the way there and take the time to connect with not only where you are but who are while you’re there.

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If you do that, you’ll have a better chance to be who you want to be when you leave.

Featured photo credit: bruce mars via unsplash.com

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