Breaking bad habits is as hard as making new ones.

In reality, the two are inseperable.

You’ve only got enough time in the day for a certain number of them.

30 minutes playing Fortnite is 30 minutes that you’re not running. An extra 15 minutes in bed is 15 minutes not writing. A burger eaten for lunch is a salad that isn’t.

I hadn’t realised just how many bad ones I’d gotten into in San Francisco. Half a dozen coffees a day wasn’t out of the norm. Scrolling through social feeds in 10 minute bites, rather than reading something more substantial. Stressful days at work led to boozy evenings, starting with a beer or two and ending in a couple of gin and tonics. Coming home too tired to cook, and defaulting yet again to the ever-present Postmates icon. Oh, and the weed of course (oh how I miss Eaze’s little blue bag drop-offs).

But getting away from it all gave us a chance to get rid of those bad habits, and replace them with good ones.

Throughout Japan, we were eating salads and sushi. In Bali, we tag-teamed each morning: one of us would spend the morning with our daughter, and the other would go do a 90 minute yoga session, and maybe a massage. And the next morning we’d swap. Getting up in the morning and having a few glasses of water, or freshly made juice, before eventually succumbing to the caffeine fix.

We’ve tried to carry on these new, good habits now that we are reacclimatising to reality. Rather than a 90 minute yoga class, we try and both do a 30 minutes YouTube lesson everyday.

I came across Streaks, a great app to help solidify better habits. You pick 6 things that you’re trying to do more (or less) of, and then everyday you mark them as “done”, and try to create ongoing daily streaks. My 6 are;

  • Fill Activity Rings on Apple Watch.
  • 30 minutes yoga or running.
  • Read a book for at least 15 minutes.
  • Fill a page in a daily journal.
  • Learn Spanish for at least 15 minutes (mainly Duolingo)
  • Write 500 words (which is why these words are happening right now).

I’m also trying some minor technological nudges to help me get there too. With an iPhone being one of the primary drivers of bad habits, I’ve done a few things to try and counteract them.

Like moving Tweetbot off the first screen on my phone, and replacing it with Streaks. And enabling “Screen Time” to lock me out of apps like Instagram and Tumblr after I hit 30 minutes a day.

All these, on their own, are small things. But cumulatively, they can add up to so much more. A real chance to break free of crutches I’ve been leaning on over the last few years, and start leading a simpler, happier existence, freed from the self-sustained addictions.

But everything in moderation, including moderation itself. I’m not giving up coffee, alcohol, or (god forbid) video games. Instead, just developing a level of awareness as to when and why I use them.