Are you making a habit of traveling the same path and getting the same results? What can you do to make 2016 your best year ever? Establishing or breaking a habit may be your answer.
Make space for some new habits in your routine.
It seems to me that we are victims of our habits. We know we should make changes. We just don’t know how, or we can’t make the commitment to change. As a single parent I found it more difficult than ever to be self-disciplined. I formed habits before I realized what was happening.
A habit is a regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up. People often make New Year’s resolutions to change a habit. This is usually much easier said than done because we are creatures of habit. We tend to continue in the ruts we’ve created.
One of the most significant things you can do for yourself as a single parent and for your children, as their example, is to establish good, healthy habits. To make 2016 your best year ever, begin by identifying the habits you want to stop or the new ones you want to start. And be SMART.
Be SMART when approaching your habits, or lack of.
S – Specific. Be clear and specific when defining the habit.
M – Measurable. Determine how you can measure your success.
A – Achievable. Choose a habit you can achieve.
R – Realistic. Be realistic about the habit you are trying to break or create.
T – Time-bound. Set a date when you intend to have established or broken the habit.
Begin with a simple and realistic habit.
- Change what you have for breakfast.
- Start eating breakfast.
- Pray for three minutes before you get out of bed.
- One day a week, eliminate sugar in your diet.
- Limit the time (specifically) you spend on Facebook.
Give yourself at least two months before evaluating your new behavior. It takes at least that long for a habit to be formed or to be broken.
Remember what Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do.” As I write this I feel like a hypocrite because I know I need to exercise and I can’t seem to make it a habit. I know now that I must be SMART about it. I will make my goal achievable and realistic.
Make a habit of self-talk for your advantage.
A habit many of us have is negative self-talk. We can fill our heads with negative words about ourselves so often that we don’t realize we are doing it. Maybe you have a mental “voice” that reminds you of how you can’t succeed or that you are not worthy in some way. This may be such a regular occurrence that you do not think it is a problem. Let this be the first habit you break. If this is a habit for you, stop it in 2016.
You may think you don’t have this problem. I encourage you to reconsider and listen to your thoughts, even your comments, for a day or two. Notice:
- Are you in the habit of making cute or sarcastic remarks about yourself?
- When you look in the mirror, are you overly critical of what you see?
- Do you find yourself resisting any positive dream or possibility with a put-down?
You can ask in prayer to be made aware if you have this habit. Identifying negative self-talk is the first step.
I genuinely believe that if you ask in prayer for guidance about your habits, the Holy Spirit will guide you.
Let’s make 2016 our best ever by identifying and empowering new habits!