ESCAPE THE RAT RACE Episode 1: Habits

Oh how I love my little habits but oh how expensive they are…

Having recently hatched my life’s biggest and most important project-“Escape the Rat Race”-I have done what any respectable bored-out-of-their-mind office worker would do…read any and all blogs out there on how to live a life of travel/retire early/break out of the 9-5/save a dime. There are more than a dozen really great bloggers out there, and as I read and read I started noticing the emphasis on habits. Now if my only habits were an obsession with exercise and nature walks I would be fine. Unfortunately I have some less-than-sexy habits that when I do the math also cost a ton! These dirty little habits are also strongly tied to how much I despise my current situation i.e. my work life. When work sucks, I grab those yummy habits and go wild.

To keep myself in check and motivated I’ll keep a running tally of my success rate at kicking these habits to the curb..and I promise to also let you know if I fail miserably…

Habit #1: Cigarettes (yuck!) Why the heck does anyone smoke? Its expensive, tastes foul and doesn’t even offer to take your brain on a brief joyride. My smoking habit is tied very closely to work as a way to de-stress and reward myself for surviving being bored to death for 8 hours straight. I would light one up immediately upon exiting the office, reach for a smoke when deep in thought about how much things stink, or when drinking in wild abandon (see habit #4). Having quit less than a week ago I can already see subtle and awesome changes such as no longer smelling terrible, and going for after-work drinks without the desperately hunt for a corner store or fellow smoker to get my fix…

Progress: Officially quit buying and smoking cigarettes July 17th.

Habit #2: Shopping for clothes/shoes/accessories– Compared to those around me, I am a very thrifty shopper. But if I want to exit the rat race in style, in a little over 11 months, even the smallest shopping habit has got to go. I have plenty of clothes to last me a year so my arse will be covered. And true beauty comes from the inside right?? Well try telling that to a poor soul like me currently living in the most fashionable city in the world (Stockholm).

Progress: The last item I bought was a pair of Swedish fashion clogs (they are the coolest-set me back 100 CAD) on June 22nd.

bad habit animals
Habit 1 (cigarettes) & 2 (booze) out the door, but habit 3 (getting down and funky) I could use some more of…

Habit #3: Rewards for life’s little ups and downs/brainless everyday spending– Oh I’m such a hard working person- I deserve a coffee and croissant each morning before heading in to the office. Oh I feel sad-I need a bag of chips and three candy bars. I’m bored- why not pick up some random food item, magazine, expensive coffee beverage? I’m even more bored, why not head to Winners for some bargain hunting (i.e. buying cheap things I don’t need) to get that quick rush of purchased emotion. I’m mind-numbingly bored and sitting in front of a screen at work-well let’s sign up for a magazine subscription or buy a super interesting book on Amazon (umm hello stupid brain, have you ever heard of a library?)

Progress: Moving from Vancouver (mecca for caffeine fiends) to a cottage on the outskirts of Stockholm has done wonders for my coffee spending. I now make coffee at home every morning and bring it along in a cheap Bodum mug. Coffee is just as yummy and free! Healthy AF musli is waiting for me at the office, so no pre-work croissants no more. Mostly it boils down to not mindlessly wandering in stores and malls, some planning ahead with meals/coffee/snacks and living a slower, quieter life. One. Step. at. a. Time. 

Habit #4: The Booze-Saving the best for last. This is the habit I find hardest to crack. Having taken a stab at it earlier this year I lasted a mere 2 months before I caved in to birthdays, after work events, summer and other excuses for this ubiquitous social habit. I reach for alcohol for many reasons, some very detrimental and some (fleeting) fun.

Progress: None, but how does the saying go… admitting you have a problem is the first step to solving it. In all seriousness I have begun to limit my alcohol intake to social occasions. Drinking to numb emotions such as depression and boredom are no longer OK. Still working on kicking my own ass into sober-world. 

So there are my ugly habits for the blogworld to behold. Now there are no excuses, it’s time to kick ’em to the curb. Wish me luck!

Are you also trying to save for your life’s adventure? What juicy habits have you been working on kicking and how have you done it? I’d love to hear from you! 




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