One Habit a Month: Establish a Lunch Routine

“Our character is basically a composite of our habits. Because they are consistent, often unconscious patterns, they constantly, daily, express our character…” Steven R. Covey

Once established, habits are unconscious patterns. Patterns that shape the fabric of our days.

If you’re like me, your fabric could use some fine tuning. This year, I am seeking to establish one habit each month that will help me be a more disciplined woman of God. Care to join me?

Clean those dirty dishes!

 photo credit

Turn a Bad Habit into a Good Rhythm

Not so very long ago, when Joshua was study morning and night during the long law school days, I fell into a horrible habit. After dinner, the last thing I felt like doing was cleaning up the kitchen. So, while Josh hit the books again and our oldest (then a baby) contentedly played, I told myself, “It’s been a long day, why not spend just a few minuts online checking emails and reading blogs.”

Without fail, a few minutes turned into half an hour or an hour as I jumped from post to post, with the dishes looming ever larger in my mind. When I finally got up from the computer, the plates were crusty and I washed dishes while mad at myself for my lack of discipline.

Finally, it had to stop. I enforced a new rule on my unwilling self: don’t leave the kitchen ’til it is clean. Soon, a new habit emerged that changed the fabric of my evening. 

I’ve never been good at following detailed schedules (though I have plenty of practice writing them), but establishing an evening routine has worked wonderfully for me.

Routines are like gentle rhythms that ensure you fulfill basic priorities, without locking you into a strict regimen.

Each evening I follow a basic routine: tidy home, prepare dinner, eat dinner together, wash dishes (while my four-year-old dries, the two-year-old clears the table, Josh holds the baby and the kids and I sing or work on poetry together) and sweep the floor, get children ready for bed, spend family time with children and put them in bed.

Turning one horrible habit into a good rhythm has made a humungous difference in how my home runs (and in my attitude!)

One Habit a Month Challenge: February

After last month’s simple habit (that has also made a profound effect on my days!), I decided to tackle a slightly more challenging habit this month. Since our family has benefited from a basic morning and evening routine, my goal for February is to establish a lunch routine. The pattern will probably fluctuate the first few days as I try to figure out what works best for my household, but here are the things that I want to fit into it:

  • Eat lunch (good part of a lunch routine, don’t you think?)
  • Read a chapter from a children’s chapter book
  • Clean up kitchen
  • Do any necessary dinner prep
  • Tidy home
  • Lay kids down for nap
What about you? Are there areas in your life that could use fine-tuning? Want to join the One Habit a Month Challenge? Link up or leave a comment below so we can hold one another accountable. [I am having trouble with my link up. If you want to link to a post, leave the link in the comments and I will add it later. Thanks!]
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  1. Jenni / Life from the Roof says

    The post-evening internet surfing habit is one I can relate to as well. Sometimes I am just so exhausted after dinner, and feel like I’ve spent half my day in the kitchen already. Sometimes my husband helps with the dishes while I take a break, but I think it wouldn’t feel so hard if I got into the habit, or had something to listen to while I did the dishes.

    • anna says

      So sorry! I know the feeling completely. Once I started just doing them first thing, it really was amazing how little time it took to get the kitchen whipped into shape. (And I enjoy my browsing after the kids are in bed so much more!) If you’re looking for good listening material, has numerous free classics.

  2. says

    My habit for February is a little more challengeing, or will be some days. 😉 I am going to clean my desk and hope chest off every morning, right after breakfast. I’ve a really bad habit of just piling things both places throughout the day and then leaving them there for days. (Even when it would take only a minute or two to put most things away. 😛 ) This month looks like it is going to be crazy, so we’ll see how I do.

    • anna says

      What a great goal! It’s amazing how having a “pile-free” working area makes such a difference. Wishing you success. 🙂

  3. Kasey says

    I’m joining you! My habit for this month will be to be consistent with menu planning and then to actually USE the plan!

    Loved this…”Routines are like gentle rhythms that ensure you fulfill basic priorities, without locking you into a strict regimen.” This is so me. I can’t function on a strict schedule. I do much better just trying to order the flow of my days!

  4. says

    I began a new habit with my kids after feeling resentment building up and then realizing, “Hey! This isn’t fair to anybody! I need to set some boundaries and make some more rules!” So now I’m getting up at about 6am so I can be ready before most of the kids get up, and the kids can’t have breakfast until they’re dressed, their room is clean (all 4 share), a load of laundry is started and the dishwasher is unloaded from the night before. We’ve been at it for about 2 weeks now – it has been SO awesome!! =)

  5. says

    Ha! I fell into exactly the same bad habit. My excuse was pregnancy at first (evenings were the time I felt the worst and I’d used up all my energy cooking supper in the first place), and then newborn daze. Now, if I get to that point, I just remember I’ll feel much better in the morning and I let the dishes wait until then. No guilt! I love your routine, though, and I’m slowly doing the same thing–love coming out to a clean kitchen 🙂

    • anna says

      “No guilt!” –so true. Each home has different needs and doing what’s best for our families without guilt is so important!

      We live in the South with lots of ivy around our house. Leaving dishes out over night is an invitation to roaches. Ick!

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