Are you a naturally disciplined person? I’m not. I’d rather sit in my recliner, reading a book, and drinking coffee than just about anything else. I’m naturally lazy. I procrastinate. I delegate (the real reason I teach my children chores at a young age). If it weren’t for God’s command to honor my husband, and therefore keep the house clean and kids happy, I would hang out in my pajamas all day and do nothing.
Why am I sharing my flaws with you? Well, it’s because as much as I enjoy being lazy and doing nothing, I don’t like the end result. I’m all too happy to hang out on the couch reading with the kids until 4 pm until I realize the time. And then, crap, I’ve got to get the house clean, supper made, and the kids at least looking presentable before my husband gets home.
*Let me stop right here and say that my husband does not require dinner on the table or a supremely clean home, BUT I always feel bad when my hubby gets home from working all day and the home he returns to is a mess.*
My point is that it took some major discipline on my part before I was finally able to nail down what I needed to do- create a new habit (or six). Just like we crucify the old man and put on the new, I needed to kick my lazy habits to the curb and take up some new ones.
So, let’s talk about forming new habits. We all have times in our lives where we intentionally want to change our behavior for the better and create new habits for ourselves, and our family. It could be getting in the habit of making healthier meals for our families and learning to cook from scratch instead of reaching for quick processed foods. Or it could be that you need to spend more time with the Lord, but have a hard time finding opportunities. Or it could be work-related, or housekeeping, or . . . There are so many areas in our lives that could be improved and made easier if we created some new habits.
Create New Habits
Getting into the habit of doing something is often easier said than done. We seem to acquire bad habits without any effort, but getting into a good habit can be a little more challenging. Am I right?
Let’s break it down into a three step process that makes it easy to follow until we’ve internalized the new behavior and made it a true habit – something we do automatically without having to think about, like brushing our teeth.
Decide What You Want To Do
The first step is to decide what you want that new habit to be. Be as specific as possible. Seriously. Don’t just tell yourself you want to have a cleaner house. That will get you nowhere. Instead, say something like, I will create a doable house cleaning schedule. Deciding what your new habit will be and committing to when and how you’re going to do it, is half the battle.
And don’t just say it in your head. Write it down. Put it on the fridge or bathroom mirror. Tell a friend. And then make a plan.
Remind Yourself To Get It Done
Once you’ve got your reminders in place, and hopefully someone to keep you accountable, the next few days should be smooth sailing, right? You’re motivated and excited to get this done. You want to see results. Sticking to your new habit isn’t an issue.
But a few days in you’ll notice that it’s easy to slip back into old habits. Maybe it’s getting late in the afternoon and you really don’t feel like making dinner. Or maybe your day just gets away from you. This is when it’s important to have a daily reminder. Set an alert on your phone or add the new habit to your daily to-do list for a while. Check out my daily to-do list below for an example.
Make It Part Of Your Routine Until It Becomes A Habit
Which brings us to the last step. It takes some time before a new behavior becomes a true habit. Until then, a routine will work to your best advantage. Even before the new behavior becomes automatic, a routine will help you get it done without having to spend a lot of willpower or relying on daily reminders.
Make it part of your routine to check your meal plan and pull out whatever you need for supper that night in the morning. Create new habits by doing things in the same order each day (as much as possible). Living life on a routine makes it so much easier to get the important things done.
Decide to create the new habit, practice the routine until it’s second nature and you’ll be well on your way to forming a new good habit.
My Weekday Routine Worksheet
Below you’ll find the routine page that I created for myself many months ago. I’ve tweaked it here and there, and this is the final result. I tend to plan things in two-week increments, so that’s why you’ll see ten check off squares next to each to-do item and four next to each meal idea.
I use the meal ideas to know what I have planned for the next week or two and therefore what is available. We often have the same meal two or three times (especially for lunch) in two week’s time, so that’s why there are four squares next to each meal.
I’m going to get a video up here in the next couple of days showing you exactly how I use the Weekday Routine Worksheet.
Want my super helpful (seriously, this thing has consistently helped me be more productive) Routine Worksheet? Just enter your email below!