Destinations Magazine

Not Kicking the Habits

By Russellvjward @russellvjward

It's a new year and twelve months stretch out before us, laden with hope, opportunity and adventure.
After a self-imposed three-week hiatus, rather than make lists of resolutions for the new year, I thought I'd share three habits I introduced towards the end of 2013 that made my life better.
At a time when most of us assess the behaviours we want to give up (or should give up), it seems to me there are also good habits we should try to keep hold of.
And if they make our lives more productive and less prone to distraction, so much the better.

Not Kicking the Habits

Photo credit: Katie Swayze

Learning to say no
I might give the impression I say "yes" to most things that comes my way - career opportunities, travel trips, the chance to try or experience something new - but lately I've started to say "no".
It's not because I have so many things to say "yes" to that I can afford to say "no", but because I realised that always saying "yes" created an impact somewhere down the line.
Saying "yes" could mean less time with family or undue stress from overcommitment or just too much going on at once.
Late last year, I started to say "no".
I said "no" to the things that made unnecessary noise in my life and I tried to focus on the things that mattered.
When I now get unsolicited emails that make no sense, I hit delete. When I can't find the time to commit to something or somebody, I don't beat myself up about it. I simply say "no" or "not right now".
And while it may seem harsh to turn people down in this way, it feels great to live with less going on.
Do less but be more
When you have a lot going on, it can be hard to concentrate your attention on the important stuff.
And I'm a terrible procrastinator.
Sometimes I just can't get going. I can literally lose days getting bogged down in activities that may never get me very far. It's amazing how much time can be wasted on Facebook. Or Twitter. On email or the Interweb. At times, I see these things as the bane of my existence and it feels like there's always so much to get done.
Yet somehow I've found a way to manage the devil on my back.
Now when I sense I'm wasting time without getting anywhere fast, I get up, have a break, come back to my desk and start over, this time on something completable and worthwhile.
If I have a list of umpteen things to do, I focus on 2-3 priorities rather than try to do too much or spread myself too thinly. I'll apply myself to a smaller number of tasks that I can do well and feel proud of having completed to the best of my ability.
By the end of the day, I measure myself on how well I did with those two or three pressing issues and feel great at having been much more productive.
In a world of distraction and noise, it's important to do less but be more. (feel free to tweet that.)
Save energy for things that matter
Life is short and if I've found myself using up valuable energy on people or issues that I either can't fix or can't fathom, then I've taught myself to walk away.
I can't help everyone and I can't resolve every issue. I have to let some things go.
While these issues might seem important to me at the time, I'd rather spend my time wisely and carefully on areas and people that matter. Because life is busy enough without introducing problems I have no control over or cannot resolve.
This may seem like a selfish habit but, this year, my energy is focused fully on my immediate family.
Already, in less than 14 months, I've watched my son grow at an insane rate of knots (who knew?) and I plan to relish every moment of the new year with him as he turns into a pleasantly-behaved two-year old toddler (allegedly).
Sometimes you need to make yourself and those around you a priority because you'll likely do everything better when you do.

What good habits are you focusing on this year to make your life better? What habits are you deciding not to kick? 

Share with me in the comments below.

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