I travel for work every once in a while and I’ve started to notice a clear trend that always comes back to bite me. When I’m away, I almost completely abandon my growth habits. And I totally regret it! For those of you who are new to the growth habit idea, this is what I’m talking about- at EndAverage.com we teach that YOU ARE THE SUM OF YOUR HABITS. Both good or bad. In essence, if your habit is to exercise and eat right then you are healthy, or at least well on your way there. If your habit is to use credit cards to spend money that you don’t have, then you are in debt. See the correlation? Pretty simple. So today let’s talk about six tips for maintaining your good habits when things are tough or while traveling, and the reasons behind them. I’m about to embark on a two-week road trip with four little kids (gasp!) so this advice is pointed directly at myself. The habits we are talking about cover the four areas of life: faith, relationships, health, and finance. The points are generic enough to apply to any of the basic growth habits we teach here at EndAverage. Things like Bible reading plans, regular exercise, communication with a spouse, and financial budgeting and debt reduction.
1 – Don’t undo work you’ve already done!
Habits are habits because you don’t have to think about doing them. They’ve become second nature and are part of your routine. If you mess up your routine you will have to work harder later to “get back on the horse”. One specific way to stay on this horse is to watch your alcohol intake. Alcohol consumption spikes on both business and vacation travels. Take a look at all the people in the airport drinking at 11am – they probably don’t do that at home. Even without overdoing it, drinking the night before will make getting up early to complete your basic growth habits much harder. Ask me how I know. So take it easy and try to keep your routine similar to what you have at home.
2 – Keep your eye on your goals while you travel.
It becomes very easy to give up on a goal if you fall behind, so don’t let your trip throw you off. Was your goal to pay off debt this year? While traveling, bring food with you or grocery shop at your destination so that you aren’t eating out for every meal. Were you trying to lose 10 lbs this month? Not eating out for every meal will help with this one, too. Make small, consistent good choices that get you closer to your goals. Remember that you will have to return to reality afterward, so keep those goals in mind.
3 – Stick to healthier food choices and you will enjoy your travels MORE!
That being said, I’m not saying you shouldn’t enjoy a good splurge meal while you’re on vacation – the opposite is true! Spend the money to enjoy good, fresh food wherever you are. It will be better tasting and you will keep that energy up! It’s totally worth the investment to skip over the cheap fast foods. Trust me.
4 – Move your body!
Same idea as number 3, your energy and happiness will be better – which will help you have a better journey! I know that I always feel accomplished and energized after a morning exercise routine. This habit pays huge (literally life-altering) dividend in both the short and long run. I’m not saying that you should feel guilty if you didn’t run 10 miles every morning of your vacay, I’m just proposing that you take a walk to dinner instead of drive. Being cramped in a car or airplane will sap you of energy and leave you stiff or sore. Fight that sedentary trend so that you are as alert and positive as possible for your work or vacation! You can go to the movies back home. While you’re away, go for a walk and explore the town you’re in instead!
5 – Get an accountability partner.
This goes for normal life just as much as it does for vacations. Traveling might be your excuse for resurrecting a bad habit, so talk about it with someone and make sure you plan for it. If you know you have a tendency to forget your goals or make poor choices, you’d better set some personal guidelines ahead of time and have someone keep you accountable in person or by phone daily. Even on vacation you still need to stay above reproach and remember that everything you do gets you closer to, or further away from, the person you intend to become. Thinking you can get away with something because you’re away from home does not make it ok.
6 – Plan, plan, plan!
This seems like a no-brainer, but it’s not! Take the time to plan hotels that have exercise facilities, a pool, or are within walking distance of restaurants and sight-seeing. Take the time to save the money you will need while traveling so you don’t punch your debt-reduction plan in the gut. The more variables you remove that could derail the consistency of your habits, the better. Reading the Bible is 15 minutes in the morning – what excuse could you possibly have for not sticking with it? Healthy eating, on the other hand, can be tricky if you chose a last-minute stopover location that only has a McDonalds. Plan for these things so you don’t set yourself up for failure.
So there you go! Hopefully, these are good reminders for you. I know that I need to regularly remind myself of them as well as I travel with family and for work. I guarantee you that as we maintain our habits better while traveling we will enjoy our trips more, make better memories, and continue to grow constantly. Your long term success is not worth short-term complacency!
Keep up the good work, and let me know what you do to maintain growth during your travels!
Let’s end average traveling habits, let’s end average together.