Every habit has a trigger. Example: Every day you pick up a donut on your way to work. This is because the route you take to work each day includes passing a Dunkin’ Donuts store. Dunkin’ Donuts is the trigger and eating a donut is the habit.
One of the most effective ways to eliminate a bad habit is to eliminate the trigger. In the case of eating a donut every day, the simple act of changing your route to work to avoid passing by the Dunkin’ Donut store eliminates the trigger.
This is why changing a habit while on vacation has been proven to be one of the most successful habit change strategies. Starting a new good habit or eliminating an old bad habit is easier to do when you change your environment. Vacations represent a change in environment. There is a lot of research on this, so I decided to test this hypothesis myself.
For years I have been nagging myself to get back into the gym to do some free weight training. I power lifted during college, but when I got married I stopped lifting weights. In August of 2014 my entire family went on a vacation to the Dominican Republic. There was a gym at the resort and I decided to bench press for the first time in 29 years. That was fifteen months ago and I am still going to the gym three days a week. All it took was a change in my environment to start a new good habit.
If you want to quit smoking, stop smoking while on vacation. If you want to start reading on a daily basis, start while on vacation. If you want to start flossing every day, start while on vacation. Pick just one new good habit and start it while on vacation or pick one old bad habit and stop doing it while on vacation. If you know you are going to have some time off in the near future, pick a habit to stop or start a week before your time off. Then spend that week visualizing your new behavior. That preps you for the habit change. Commit just one day to the new behavior during your time off. One day sets everything in motion. On your next vacation, make it a habit vacation.