Obviously we moved into our house a little later than I expected. Which means that we started school a little later than we expected. Therefore, we had about ten and half minutes in the new house before I was full blast trying to homeschool my kids.
A forced settling? Can that even be a thing?
However, those extra weeks in the camper left me with a little time to prepare. Not curriculum, or meal plans. I mostly already had that done.
Nope, I’m talking a little bit more big picture planning. To be specific, I wanted to address habits. Our family habits, my kids’ habits, and my personal habits.
“They” tell us that almost half of any given day is run completely off of habit, I guess that means if you can manage some good habits, you can make your day 50% better.
But of course, for us, I had just noticed that we had often gotten in the habit of taking the low road in hopes of a shortcut, only to find that on down the road of our days we were a bit of a train wreck.
We would yell instead of discussing. Ignore when we should have engaged. We managed when we should have surrendered. From the top to the bottom we found ourselves frustrated, frantic, and drifting through our days.
Not worth it.
Most of the books I read mentioned this: The best time to change a habit is when something in your life is already changing.
Thus, we will shake things up to get ourselves settled in.
It doesn’t have to be a move. A change of season will do. (Hello Fall!)
The other best piece of advice I found on building good habits? Anchor them. Attach them to something you are already doing.
It was like the heavens open and angels burst into chorus. I thought for a minute that I was having a revelation and then it occurred to me that I have known this. I was taught by the master of the anchors.
We eat our bread and drink our wine (Or grape juice, whatever your flavor) and we reflect. We fast and it reminds us to pray. We dunk ourselves in water and we celebrate grace.
So, of course.
We anchor our days. We anchor our habits.
Some, if we were in church, might call it faithfulness.
For this flaky girl, I call it a lifesaver.
So how to get more good in your day?
Find your essentials.
What must you do? Brush your teeth. Bath. Eat. Sleep. Cook. What do you do on the holidays when you don’t actually have to do anything. Those are the essentials. Now, pick one habit you want to pick up and add it to one essential. Tack reading time onto your bedtime routine. Add praying for your kids while you’re brushing your teeth. Maybe make your podcast time your cooking time.
Add to the Eating.
I once heard Ann Voskamp say they don’t do bread without the Bread and I found it to be revolutionary. Turns out breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacktime (if you’re into that sort of thing, and we certainly are) is a great time to add a little something. For us? It’s always reading. We do Bible at breakfast. Main lesson at morning snack. A novel at lunch. Poetry at afternoon snack. But maybe it’s something else for you. Maybe you sit at a desk all day and need to use mealtimes as a reminder that it’s time for some movement. Maybe food needs to be your call to prayer or a reminder to call you grandma. Most of us aren’t going to let ourselves go hungry so using food as an anchor for a good habit works like a charm.
I had already been thinking about the things I wanted (or desperately needed) to change in our home before we got all shook up. So when things didn’t go as expected I took that opportunity to take inventory. What could we anchor and where? I wanted more writing time, I wanted the kids to take more ownership over their chores, I was desperately hoping to get more reading in. So before we moved in, I wrote it all down. What anchors I could use and what habits I could attach. I put notes all over the place so I could remember what my aim was. For the most part? It’s worked.
Of course, I’m an idealist, so mine were a bit overreaching. But we are reading more. I’m writing more. The kids are getting their chores done. (Now, thus far my plans for weekly homemade bread haven’t worked out, but a girl can dream right?)
Have you cultivated any good habits lately? What has worked for you in building better days?