Habits are central to the idea of a productive day. A habit is something that you do over and over and over so much so that it becomes a natural part of your life.
 
You can build habits in every part of your life:
 
  • Physical habits – looking after your body (or not)
  • Spiritual habits – looking after your relationship with God
  • Habits of the heart – how you think (attitude)
  • Relational habits – how you speak and react to people
  • Emotional habits – how you let your emotions show
 

Habits are the formation of character

Here are some quotes on habits that I’ve been pondering:
 
“First we form habits, then they form us. Conquer your bad habits or they will conquer you.” Rob Gilbert
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” Aristotle
“It seems, in fact, as though the second half of a man’s life is made up of nothing but the habits he has accumulated during the first half.” Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky
 
There are many habits in my life that I am not happy with and – I’m working on those.  There are habits in my life, and in my family’s life that I am happy with.  I can see the fruit of those habits – we all reap the benefits of those habits.
 
Some habits that I am working on:
  • Exercise daily
  • Eat less processed food, eat more raw food
  • Read before I go to bed (even if it is 5 minutes)
  • Stick to my admin work at admin work times (blogging doesn’t count!)
  • Read a whole book, stop dipping!  And don’t settle for internet reading
  • Think before I say yes!
 
 

Routines Establish Habits

 
Routine has been the biggest tool in establishing habits in my life and in my family life.  A routine in itself is a habit so many people baulk at this first step but I have found that when I look at mini routines then habits can start to form.
 
A mini routine is a sequence of activity for a short period of time.  E.g.  One of my children has difficulty sleeping so we are establishing mini routines – going to bed routines and waking up routines.  These routines don’’t cover our whole day, they just come into affect for a small amount of time each day.  This is a mini routine.
 
We have mini routines after our meals – the table gets cleared off, and chores are done, then teeth are done.  This routine doesn’’t control our whole day, but it does help us form habits at particular times of the day.  A mini routine can help us focus on a short period of time as we train our children in a new habit but it will then continue as the norm once the  habit takes hold.
 
 

One Habit at a Time

The other thing that I have found helpful is to not take on too many challenges in one day.  We can be so overwhelmed with all the changes that need to take place in our own life (or in our children’’s lives) that we baulk at doing anything; the task is simply too overwhelming.  But as we all know, we eat an elephant one mouthful at a time. So too do we gain habits one day at a time. 
 
Choosing one habit to focus on can benefit the whole family.  We are working on the habit of accountability: accepting responsibility for a task, and reporting back when it is completed.  This looks different for the different people in our family but the habit is a good one for all of us.  When we have a concentrated effort like this it is easier to keep tabs on where everyone is at.  When I’’m not trying to keep tabs on 5 different training fields I can maintain my focus and consistency.
 
 
 

Establishing Habits takes Discipline

The bottom line is though that establishing a habit takes discipline.  It is something you have to do yourself – not to say, that you have to do it by yourself.  One of the fruit of the spirit is self-control – the ability to stop doing what we know we don’’t want to do (or we know the Holy Spirit doesn’t want us to do!)  and it comes by relying on the Holy Spirit.  So though gaining habits need to be a work done within ones self it cannot always be done by your own strength.
 
 

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