Monday, November 26, 2018

Want to Change Your Habits? Travel

One way to build new habits or to get rid of negative habits is to travel. While overseas I've weaned myself off of my caffeine & alcohol dependency, I've started the habit of journaling (even created my own app), and started the habit of waking up early. I don't think I could have been as successful without the change of environment.
Why is that? Let's think back to the habits book. A habit has 3 pieces. A cue (or trigger), a routine, and a reward.

To change or remove a habit, the best place to start is the trigger.

And that's where traveling comes in. Because when you travel you put yourself in a completely new environment. That cleans out most of the triggers that you would have in your normal life.

They say 40% of the actions that we do is via unconcious habits. This is because it would just take too much mental processing to have to think about every action we take. Thus it is absolutely necessary to fall back onto habits.

But without all the triggers in place, you are left with a blank slate of habits to set up. Its almost impossible to do the same routine without the same triggers. And that can be used to your advantage. Want to set up a morning meditation habit? You can more easily do that since you are less reliant on old habits.

Hacking sleep is much easier with travel. Use the time difference to your advantage. Since your body will be out of wack with jetlag, you can more easily change your patterns to the ones you want. I've always wanted to be a morning person but could never wake up early because my body was used to waking up at 10am. But I woke up at 5am this morning because I just got back from 3 months in Malaysia. Each time I have traveled I have come back and able to wake up early. Of course each time its reset back to its normal state (mostly due to my friends schedule of staying up late) so there's still the task of maintaining the habit. But changing habits has worked in multiple cases for me.

Change your environment to change your habit.