Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach

Vacations, writing, and vacations from habits

My family and I were on vacation the past couple of weeks. Vacations are wonderful. They give us a break from our everyday lives, sometimes a change of scenery, and hopefully a chance to relax. We decided to drive down the west coast of the United States over those two weeks. It was an adventure we’ll never forget, for sure. There are so many stories – funny things, not so funny things, and tales that will be told the rest of our lives – that I wanted to record it as it happened.

Instead of blogging here, I decided to record our trip on a daily basis. For the first week and a half, I sat down every night and wrote up the day’s activities. Some of them were maybe 500 words, but most of them were 1500+. There was a lot packed in there. I have no idea what I’m going to do with it all. That, however, is a problem for another day.

Vacations are usually where my good habits and new projects go to die. I can do very well on a diet, go on vacation, then come back and pretend that I ate Cheetos all day every day normally. No, I didn’t actually do that, but you get the idea. It’s just as easy so keep on not doing things as well.

I decided to combat this two ways. I put Todoist in Vacation Mode, which does make it more forgiving if I didn’t manage to check things off. I rescheduled all of the tasks I couldn’t or wouldn’t be doing, like doing the dishes. I left everything else alone. That meant that I still got my daily writing reminder and anything else I could actually do while I was gone.

It wasn’t many things – maybe three or four a day – but it was enough to keep the habit of checking my to-do list alive. Since that habit is the engine that makes all of my other habits go, getting back to normal has been much easier that it might have been without it. So here I am, on my last day off, writing this post, which was the goal.

Habits are funny things. When developing a habit, we’re trying to overwrite our default programming to an extent. I’ve found that, for me at least, inattention allows that programming to reemerge. Over the course of years doing something every day, that will likely change, but in the 2-3 months timeframe, it is certainly easy to revert to my original state. The good news is that it’s not the end of the world to fail. Starting a habit back up takes time and patience, but is not insurmountable.

At any rate, vacation was great and I’m back to “normal” (ish?). It’s good to be home.

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