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habit

Creating a Daily Vacation

mister-rogersIt’s January, and the holidays are officially over. For many, the next months will be dedicated to work without the hope of a vacation and may be the hardest part of the year to enjoy. To stay motivated, some may focus on when the next getaway is, but it’s more beneficial to develop a daily habit of renewal.

In the article, “Recovery, Work Engagement, and Proactive Behavior: A New Look at the Interface Between Nonwork and Work,” the study found that if you practice recovery rituals on a daily basis, your work engagement and productivity levels will increase. Therefore to maintain positive motivation both at work and home, we must create a mini vacation on a daily basis. Forming this habit is a simple exercise that requires three easy steps.

1.)    Evaluate

Recovery will be different for each person, but the first step is to recognize your current pattern when you leave work. Do you have a coming home ritual that allows you to unplug? Do you mentally leave work, or do you instead stay connected to technology and the stress of your job? Do you exercise or plop on the couch with your dinner and remote in hand? Can you talk to those who matter in your life,  or are you distracted and irritable?

2.)    Envision

After you’ve contemplated what your day looks like now, decide what needs to change. One important step is to “bookend” your day. Some call this the Mr. Rogers method because as we all remember, every time he entered his doorway, he put on his cardigan and slippers. Take this a step further, and instead of putting on your old man apparel, put on tennis shoes and go exercise. Yoga is also a great way to engage in recovery because it melds fitness with centering yourself in the present moment while it purges out your stress through breathing. Think of exercise as a stress filtering tool rather than a chore, and remember that it doesn’t have to be intense, it just has to be consistent.

3.)    Engage

After you’ve relieved your stress, then you can enjoy those around you who make your life what it is. Whether it’s your spouse, your child, your dog or your journal, truly participate. I often am greeted by daughters inviting me to dance when I enter the house. This ritual releases me from work and allows me to appreciate my family, my home and my life.

Also, eat your evening meal with intention. I know that every night can’t be a gourmet experience, but you can do better than fast food from a chain restaurant or your microwave every night. The experience of cooking is good for community building, health and happiness, and try sitting at the table rather than your couch. Doing so will support communication much more deeply, and connecting to your food will help you eat the proper amount and be satisfied.

Practicing the habit of gratitude will also increase your motivation. This is because being thankful for the bright spots in your day make it worthwhile. If you take time to reflect and appreciate, your gratitude will reframe your mindset into a positive outlook. Also, rather than worrying about work or dreading going in the next day, contemplate what you actually enjoy about your job. Choose something that you’re thankful for and say it audibly. Attitude is by far the most important factor in maintaining happiness.

In short, figure out what habits make you feel mentally at ease and positive. If you get home and do things that make you feel grateful for the life you’re living, you’ll more motivated and energized on a daily basis. These mini vacations are necessary to recharge your perspective and prepare you for work the next day.

So again, recognize your current status, decide what small habits you can change in your day to develop a pattern of recovery, and practice those changes. Doing so will change your mindset and give you a better sense of balance in both work and life.

 

 

 

Change Your Habits. Change Your Life.

Habit ChecklistAndy Core is an expert in Work-Life Balance, Wellbeing, and Peak Human Performance.

Forming a good habit often seems like an impossible task. Lack of time, energy, resources or encouragement may often cause you to lack the needed energy to get started.

Here are five tips to create a new habit.

1. Start Small

Too many people fail to create long-lasting change because they try to do everything at once. You can’t run a marathon in a day, and you most likely won’t want to run an hour a day starting off. Start small. Set a reasonable goal of 20 minutes three times a week.

2. Plan

It’s always easy to find reasons not to go through with your intentions when it’s go time. Plan ahead so that you don’t have an excuse. Bring your workout closes with you and go directly after work. Buy healthy food with the intention of packing a lunch the night before. Don’t go out drinking if you’re trying to quit smoking.

3. Support

Making a change all on your own is hard. To ease the challenge, try instead to have a person with whom you can share your progress. Be honest and have them check on your progress. Also, try to surround yourself with positive people. If your support system is negative, there is a good chance you will be too.

4. Stay focused.

It’s easy to get distracted or discouraged when you don’t see signifcant results right away. So keep something near you to remind you of the benefits that fulfilling your goal will be. Make some inspiration art or simply change your phones wall paper as a reminder.

5. Forgive

When you mess up, and you most likely will, don’t despair. It’s normal to be human, and it’s human to keep trying. When you mess up, forgive, forget and forge on. Eventually, you’ll get somewhere.

To learn more on Andy’s programs

 

Change Your Day, Not Your Life
A realistic guide to sustained motivation, more productivity, and the art of working well
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About Andy Core
Author and speaker on work-life balance, productivity and wellbeing
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