“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?
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