I first recognized this power when I was in college. I really wanted to establish a regular Bible reading time in the mornings. I was in a discipleship group that used the Navigator’s material called, The Colossians 2:7 series which emphasized the importance of the spiritual disciplines. Throughout the course we were challenged to accomplish various “feats” of discipline. One of them was 30 consecutive days of Bible reading. I would do great for a few days, but miss one. That led to missing two or three. At some point, I realized that historically, this is where I lost hope and jumped off the wagon of establishing the discipline of reading. This would never lead to a new habit. So, I did something different. Regardless of how many days, or even weeks I fell off of the daily Bible reading wagon, I got back up again and started fresh. And you know what happened? The gaps became fewer. The stretches of reading daily became longer. And with the help of an accountability group through the Col. 2:7 series, I eventually read the Bible for 30 days consecutively. And it’s true that once you start a habit, it’s more uncomfortable not to do it than to do it. That habit (for the most part) is still in place 20+ years later.
I am once again faced with this power of getting back up. There are so many areas in which I want to establish a habit or a routine but keep falling off.
My diet. Two months of depriving myself of one of life’s pleasures: sugar! I only lost 5 or so pounds and it was soooooo hard! So, I gave up. The sacrifice simply didn’t seem worth it. But now those 5 lbs are back and I have to do something about it because I’d rather be losing just a few pounds here and there rather than let it become 30 through neglect of diet. (I hate this aspect of aging!!!)
My blog. I really want to be consistent to write each day. I can never seem to get into a routine of writing. Life gets busy and the blog goes by the wayside, which is appropriate, but once I stop it’s soooooo hard to get back into writing. So I have a series going right now, which should make the process easier since I’ve thought through this material before, but once I miss the little window in the morning, my opportunity is gone!
Exercise. My new friends are an amazing group of gals who are serious about fitness. All of them exercise regularly, most of them via running. They inspire me. I have always wanted to be a runner. It seems like a very efficient form of exercise and very practical. So, I downloaded an app called Get Running. It is a form of the couch to 5k program. I started it enthusiastically. But again, good intentions succumbed to laziness, apathy, and a busy schedule. Buh-bye running.
There are tons of categories where I have plans that are so hard to stick to. A housework routine. Homeschool schedule. Family night. Dinner menu plan. I seem to get a good start, but can’t make it long enough to have that ingrained habit. I hate this about myself, really, I do.
Why am I saying all of this? Well, first of all I’d love to hear any helpful processes you use to establish good habits in your life, and maybe how to break bad ones. But I want to state the obvious just in case anyone out there is like me and has a hard time sustaining new habits. There is power in trying again. In falling off the bandwagon of diet, exercise, reading, whatever…get back up. I know myself. I’m not going to be able to establish 10 new habits at a time…but oh how I want to. I so want instant, painless, flawless success. But hat’s just not me. I’m a fall and get up again girl.
I did something pretty amazing today. Rather than throw up my hands in disgust over my lack of diligence and discipline, I went outside and used my little Get Running App. I pulled up this blog…fully knowing I’m supposed to be in the middle of a Mommy Series, but wrote something anyway. I hope it lasts a few days in a row, but even if it doesn’t, I want to keep trying. You only really fail if you give up completely, right?
Now, I’m serious here… what do you do to establish new habits? What are you success stories? What makes you fail? Share away!
I still plan to get back to my blog series. Mostly because I’ve fallen off that bandwagon too… I need to remind myself more than anyone else that children are a blessing and a reward! Thanks for hanging in there with me, friends.