Can We Leave Habits Behind?

Can We Leave Habits Behind?Is it possible to leave habits behind? Well, if we’re not sure what our habits actually are, let alone the impact they are having on our lives, it’s unlikely.

But shaking things up a bit with a change in scenery can definitely help to create awareness.

I say this as I’m on a family vacation in Kauai. We’re in a rental condo. It has all the creature comforts of home: separate bedrooms, kitchen, cable television, wifi.

I admit that it’s been very difficult for me to stay away from the laptop when I’m in its vicinity. Do I really need to be there to immediately catch and respond to every work email that comes in? Note to self: this habit has to change!

But other than that, it’s surprising how natural it has been to ignore our routine.

Instead of the normal tendencies at home, we’ve created new routines based on the stuff that matters to us. Early morning snorkels at a new beach every day. Pool time. Reading time. Nap time. Walks for yummy treats like shave ice. Bike rides. Buying fresh produce from farm markets. Eating healthier. Watching sunsets. More quality time together.

So the question is, when we go back home, will we return to the old routine of way too much technology, rushing, less than ideal eating, and paying less attention to each other because we’re too busy? Or will we embrace some of these new habits that we’re loving?

It’s too soon to say.

What I do know is that it’s pretty difficult to change something if you’re not aware that you’re doing it – and not feeling the real impact that it’s having on your life. That’s the value of contrast. It helps you to identify what no longer works for you, and what you prefer instead.

Contrast offers clarity. Clarity offers choice. And that’s how you start to change from the inside out.

Only when it matters will you be inclined to leave habits behind.

So get out of the comfort zone of your routine. You don’t have to travel to Kauai (unless you want to). Awareness can come by choosing to stop right now and switch things up a bit.

One step at a time.

Will you try it?

8 thoughts on “Can We Leave Habits Behind?”

  1. It does seem that vacations demand a change of habit. When back home, weve been taught to establish routines. It helps get organized and stay focused. Somewhere must be a happy balance. I used to start my day reading email and that often led me astray for hours. Then I read a suggestion to leave email for later in the day. i’ve been doing this and although I could get equally lost thru FB or Pinterest or Twitter, I seem to be getting more acomplished on my platforms. Its all worth exploring.

    1. Thanks Roslyn. I agree that there is a place for routines when they are created with awareness and a clear intention of what you want to accomplish by starting them. As you said, increased productivity might be one of them. And there are so many little things that we really don’t need to consciously think about/decide in our day that can easily be put into a structured routine. I think we run into problems when we follow our routines/habits blindly without the occasional deeper exploration as to whether they continue to be working for us. If our actions are no longer supporting our values and our aspirations, it’s time to change them.

  2. Okay, I’m trying not to be jealous about the Kauai vacation. Sounds ever-so delightful! I wholeheartedly agree, we should incorporate some of our vacation habits at home to enjoy life to the fullest. Your article gave me inspiration to take it down a notch and stay in the present, as I often advice in my own blog as well. Easier said than done, but I am going to try to walk the talk.

    1. Yes Julie, always easier said than done. Your intention to stay present and take it down a notch (by this I’m thinking that you mean relax a little more, don’t create so much busy-ness etc.) are very doable. Go for it!

  3. I love shaking things up from time to time! Habits are important in so far as they enable us to make the most of our time, but I agree with you that it’s also important to review them from time to time and make sure our habits are serving us rather than us serving our habits. Thanks for the inspiration – and I hope you enjoy your time on the Garden Isle Marla!

    1. Thanks Marquita – we had our first pelting rain/strong gusts of wind from Iselle just before noon today so we’ll see what else she has to bring. Hope all is well there 🙂

  4. Marla, this one’s a keeper: ‘Contrast offers clarity. Clarity offers choice. And that’s how you start to change, from the inside out’. Thank you for that! I get teased on holiday because I get ecstatic about the colour of the sky, how coffee tastes, how the flowers smell or how interesting the shops are. Now I pause and check myself: is this cute cafe really so great or do I have my ‘holiday goggles’ on? Over time I’ve come to realise that being on holiday empties my brain of clutter and habits and multitasking which is WHY I really do experience everything in full Technicolor. Bam! I’m fully in the moment and totally present. And THAT knowledge is what I strive to bring home from each holiday…to choose to really see, really taste, really look.

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