Over the years of self development and both formal and informal education pursuits I have come to really recognise the scientific fact that there is true and lasting power in developing habits. They are key to success in any and every area of life and there are dozens studies and research proving this statement. If you’re interested in the full details of how powerful they truly are then I recommend “The Power of Habit” written by Charles Duhig and really go from there. I can site dozens of scientific articles about the topic also - but for the purpose of this post I will keep it simple. Just take my word for it. It’s fact. Because. Science. (I will link to a few videos on the topic on my YT Video.)
I’ve been experimenting with the theories and facts though - because that’s what I do - I seem to have this belief that some facts don’t apply to me. lol. But -of course they do. And they apply to you too. So… the key to keeping a tidy home, gaining balance in relationships, getting fit and taking care of your health and wellbeing all comes down to developing habits.
I have tried to develop “routines” - but I just don’t stick to them. I tend to rebel against the rules - as a rule follower this is as rebellious as I get… but it has pretty dire consequences in terms of how I feel on any given day. So I have begun to change the way I approach things - instead of calling it “routine” I call it “habits”… routines tell me they change… habits just happen sort of mindlessly. They’re not a conscious decision as such - just something you do. The benefits of good habits mean that you don’t have “decide” if you feel like doing a step in a series of steps. There’s a cue and a response. Simple as that. The response is potentially the cue for the next action and so on and so forth.
They also help to conserve the “decision muscle” and prevent decision fatigue. Basically, as we go through our day we make decisions and as time goes on - our decision making muscle just gets over it. Sometimes - as a busy mum - I feel like this happens by school drop off for me. By the time I’ve decided on who needs attention first and for what, what will they wear, what will they eat, what will I wear, what do they need today, will I have tea or coffee? They might seem like minor decisions and hardly demanding - but they compound. As parents we hold a “mental load” of “all the things” and it just increases as the day goes on. Sometimes it just a series of small decisions that just leave us mentally drained by the end of the day and I know I often just want to hide out away from everyone in an effort to regroup.
But with habits and rituals there’s no need to make decisions. The dishwasher is emptied while the kettle is boiled and the kids follow a checklist to get themselves organised. On a perfect day we’ve gotten up well before them and conducted a series of rituals that set ourselves up to facing them - but that’s something I’ll talk about later in the challenge. (Or check out my “SUNRISE STARTS” video). My goal is to follow a series of habits that keeps my brain clear and ready to tackle the real decisions….like latte or chai? 😉
So that’s what we’ll focus on this week. Creating little habits in our HOME, HEART, BODY and SOUL. I will share mine for this week - to serve to inspire your own thoughts about the habits you’d like to form. It’s essential that you keep them simple and super small. We want wins this first week. And in reality habits take ON AVERAGE 21 days to truly form…. Which means they can take less time for some - and more time for others. You also don’t want them to be too much of a stretch from what you do now… so - if you decide your body habit to form is to “start running daily” then I would suggest - unless you’re currently walking daily and have a schedule for it to happen in place - that it’s too big. You need to step it down to a tiny tiny step. Like “put my joggers on at 4pm every day”. Once you have that habit in place then you “habit stack” and add the next step. Keep it suuuuper simple. Plus we want instant payoffs to maintain motivation. 😉
HOME HABIT #1 - make your bed every morning. I’ll talk more about the importance of this in later posts - but I have found that making my bed daily is life changing. My room is instantly tidy - and if you’re having days like me where you feel like you have achieved “zero” then this is instantly debunked when you think “oh but I made my bed”… so you always achieve more than zero! Plus it instantly makes a room appear tidier.
Cue: Get out of Bed. Action: Make Bed Pay-off: Instantly tidy space.
HEART HABIT #1 - connect with family more. In my overwhelm I genuinely feel like I just go through the motions of taking care of my family. I provide physically for them - but on more days than I care to admit - I don’t really “connect” with them. I discipline, I provide, I “care” - but I don’t connect. So the Heart habit for me will be to connect with each of my family members in a meaningful way. Now… the thing is - I could guilt myself out about having to do this - or I can just do it. I could do the whole - why does a mother need a cue to connect with her child? But - this is a no judgement space - I am breaking that habit! So. I will acknowledge I’m trying to do better. And soon it will be habit. So…
Cue: Serving Dinner Action: Ask a meaningful open-ended question about how their day has been. (Open ended means any question that needs more than a yes/no answer eg; “Who did you play with at lunch” instead of “Did you play with your friends at lunch?” ) Pay-Off: I connect with each member and potentially learn more about their day but ultimately keep communication lines open!
BODY HABIT #1 - track my water intake. I generally only drink water, coffee or tea throughout the day. If I’m out I might have a soft drink (soda) - but very rarely - and on occasion in the evening I might have a wine or a beer… but irregularly. Still… I can (like right as I’m writing this) forget to drink enough water to keep myself hydrated. I have ample water bottles, but like cold water so if they aren’t filled up I won’t drink. So…
Cue: Timer set hourly to check water consumption and fill water bottle as necessary. Action: drink and re-fill water bottle if needed. Pay-off - there’s so many physical and mental benefits to a well hydrated body… just google it. 😉
SOUL HABIT #1 - every night gratitude. I keep two journals beside my bed - a morning pages journal (again something I’ll talk about later) and a gratitude journal. Long term I want to develop a bedtime ritual like my morning ritual - but I’ll keep it small for now. Cue: Before I turn my light out. Action: Write a minimum of three things I’m grateful for that day. Keep it simple. May just be a list of three words. Some days are just like that. Pay-Off… again loads of studies around the power of gratitude and the effect it has on your wellbeing. Again, something I’ll talk about more later.
I’d love it if you’d pop into my Facebook Group and connect with other For The Love Of Sorted (FTLOS) Lovelies and share the habits you’ll be forming this week and over the coming weeks. Particularly if you’re like me and occasionally pick HUGE habits to form (swim the Atlantic anyone? lol) and need help to break it down. If you haven’t already, be sure to sign up for my newsletter and check out all my socials to keep posted on what’s coming and next. I look forward to getting to know you and sharing this journey with you. Xo