Thursday, March 16, 2017

Building Habits

I’m reading Ruth Soukup’s book Unstuffed right now and she said some things about habits that really intrigued me. She talked about habits being actually pretty simple—a cue, an action, and a reward. Her example was of brushing your teeth… My mouth feels gross (cue), I brush my teeth (action), my mouth feels good (reward).

So it led me to think about some of my own habits, both good and bad.

I’m starting to think about tomorrow since my night is coming to a close, so I quickly run through my planner and figure out my day tomorrow, so I feel at peace and wake up with no anxiety.
I’m overcome with sad memories, so I eat something sweet, so I feel “happy” for a few minutes.
I’m annoyed with my kids and I don’t want them to know it, so I step into the backyard for a minute of fresh air and deep breathing, so I feel fine again and don’t have any guilt over showing a snappy attitude.

There are a few habits I’d like to start working on building for myself—going to bed with all the dishes washed, filing or recycling mail right away instead of putting it in the little slot by the door, and doing an entire load of laundry from start to finish every other day instead of my current system which is to be like, “Whoa… there is only one pair of underwear in your drawer?! I’d better do four loads of laundry today and then be overwhelmed by the magnitude of our towering laundry basket pile and then do every stupid thing on my to-do list instead of putting the stuff away because yikes.”—and there are also of course some habits I’d love to break!

I was thinking about how there are certain routines (habits) that have accompanied me since childhood. Eating something sweet when I’m sad has been around for my entire life. Stepping away when I’m frustrated is probably from taking a hall pass to the bathroom/nurse’s office in elementary school. 

Plus there are little habits I probably have but don’t realize… the side I start with when I brush my teeth, the order in which I put on my clothes, etc.

I wonder, moms, if we have a little power of our children’s success in this area. Can we help enforce healthy habits now that will last a lifetime?

I think so.

We teach them to brush their teeth and bathe, right? To say please and thank you, to buckle up their seatbelts, to put their Kleenex in the garbage can.

I’m going to be brainstorming some habits I think will be beneficial for my kids and help them work on them. The neat thing is that they’re all either habits I already have or habits I want to have myself, so preparing a brighter future for them also means preparing a brighter future for myself, and the family as a whole. A few of my thoughts so far…

-daily devotionals. I do this myself and find it incredibly beneficial so I don’t think it would at all be a stretch to instill this.
-some kind of physical activity each day
-at least one vegetable with every meal
-reading before bed instead of something with a screen
-putting clothes away or in the hamper as soon as they take them off

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