February’s Habit: How Did you Do?

(taking a break from our “No More Student Loans!” Giveaways, for our One Habit a Month check-in! Be sure to enter the giveaways for Money Saving Mom’s Budget, Vintage Handmade Soaps and Tell Your Time…. more coming soon!)

————————————————

“Habits are safer than rules; you don’t have to watch them. And you don’t have to keep them, either. They keep you,” said Frank Crane.

Habits create a rhythm in our days, whether good or bad.

Establish a lunch routine

photo credit

February’s habit: how did you do?

Establishing a lunch routine was my new habit for February.

With the many variables each day with little ones holds, strict schedules haven’t worked for me. But, as Amy writes in Tell Your Time (enter to win one of 3 copies!), you must order your day to make time for the things that are important.

Intentional routines ensure that the important things are worked into the fabric of your day.

For months I wanted to start reading chapter books consistently to the kids. It kept on not happening.

Now that reading a chapter to the children is worked into my lunch routine, it’s happened. (We’re finishing up In Grandma’s Attic–and the kids are loving it!)

Here’s a peak at the lunch routine that has worked for us:

  • Tidy home
  • Fold laundry (if there’s any dry!)
  • Eat lunch (good part of a lunch routine, don’t you think?)
  • Clean up kitchen, while kids finish eating
  • Do any necessary dinner prep
  • Lay kids down for nap
  • Read a chapter from a children’s book while kids lay in bed and listen

We’re reading together, but the lunch routine has helped my day in other ways too. Spending a few minutes tidying up and planning ahead has made such a big difference. My afternoons are more productive since I’m not dealing with morning clutter and dinner doesn’t sneak up on me quite as easily.

What about you? Have you been working on a new habit? If so, how have you done? Link up or join in the comments!

Join us tomorrow for the March Habit link-up, Thrifty Thursday Blog Hop (with The Purposeful Mom) and more giveaways!

Linked up at Encourage One AnotherHomemaking Linkup, Wise WomenWomen Living Well & Provebs 31 Thursdays

 

(Full Disclosure: Links to products in this post are my referral links.)

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!]

January’s Habit: How Did you Do?

Rather than start 2012 with Grand Resolutions that (despite good intentions) would soon be broken, this year my challenge is to implement one new habit a month.

When there are so many areas that you want to change, it is hard to limit yourself to just one at a time. But  seeking perfectionism often paralyzes any action. Choosing one habit, committing to it, and actually doing it, will pay much better dividends in the end. (At least so I hope!)

photo credit

My habit for January was simple: get dressed before breakfast. January is already at an end. Can you believe it? It’s time to check in with a progress report.

With a few exceptions, I have actually carried through on the habit. (It’s quite the difficult task, don’t you think? Haha!) Only twice (on weekends) did I really lounge around in my pajamas and both days felt so much less productive. In fact, not being disciplined to get dressed those two days was incredible motivation for the rest of the month.

This one habit has made such a difference! I have been shocked at how much more productive my day feels when I simply spend two minutes to get dressed before the morning rush begins.

As Crystal, from Money Saving Mom, said, discipline begets discipline. The benefits of choosing to not procrastinate (even on something as simple as getting dressed) have spilled over to the rest of the day.

  • My children appreciate the fact that I look nice (my toddler comments daily, “you earrings pitty, Mama!”)
  • My morning are more productive
  • My brain feels less cluttered
  • And, if the UPS guy happens to deliver a package at 9, I can actually answer the door!
What about you? Have you been working on a new habit? If so, how have you done? Link up or join in the comments! (And don’t forget to join February’s challenge!)

One Habit a Month: Get Dressed Before Breakfast

As I mentioned yesterday, there are many areas in my life that need to be more disciplined. Though I’d like to jump in and change them all, that inevitably leads to failure. So, instead, I plan to work on one habit each month in 2012.

My habit for January? Get dressed before breakfast. (Lofty, huh?)

photo credit

Somedays I honestly dont’ know what happens. There’s always one excuse or another. Before I know it it’s 10:00 and though the kiddos are dressed, I’m still walking around in my pajamas.

This month I plan to change that.

What about you? Is there a new habit, even if it’s small (like mine) that you are going to create this month? If so, I’l love it if you linked up or left a comment so we can encourage one another to become more disciplined women.

One Habit a Month [12 Habits 2012]

I was planning to post this before the dawn of 2012. My computer died and it just didn’t happen. Even though it’s late, I’d better practice what I preach and not let perfectionism paralyze my plans. 

I have this image in my mind of an “ideal me.” A me that always gets up early to read my Bible and exercise, gets dressed long before 11 am, never runs late, spends hours each week just reading and treasuring my kids, has a nourishing and yummy dinner ready to pull out of the oven when my husband gets home, and, well, the list goes on and on.

I am miles from my own ideal.

On time? Those words are hardly even in my vocabulary.

On the one hand it is okay. The highest calling of a Christian is to love and worship our King. You can worship in your pajamas while stepping over loads of laundry to get dinner in the oven.

But each of us has an earthly calling too. As a wife and mother I am called to wisely build my home.

I wish I could have rolled out of bed January 1st, turned over a new leaf and been an “ideal me.”

I’ve tried.

It works for about 24 hours. (Actually, make that 24 minutes.)

Trying to tackle a hundred habits all at once almost certainly will fail. Crystal, in her excellent series 21 Days to a More Disciplined Life challenges us instead to implement one habit at a time. That is what I plan to do in 2012.

Building new habits takes time. Lots of time. Research shows that it takes about 21 days to develop a new habit. I’m going to give myself a month.

Each month in 2012 I will choose one habit that would help me carry out my calling better and prayerfully seek to cultivate that habit.

Would you care to join me?

Of course our habits will look different. Each home has its own unique culture and that’s a glorious thing! Each of us have our own strengths and weaknesses.

A habit that would really benefit my family might not be good for yours. But we could all encourage one another as we seek to become more disciplined women of God.

The first weekday of each month (or tomorrow, in this case!), I’ll list the habit I will be working on with a linky for those that want to join me. On the last weekday of the month, I’ll post my progress (hopefully!) and what I’ve learned, with a linky for you to join me. Don’t have a blog? We’d love to have you join us in the comments.