Get a Good Habit Going Challenge: Baby Steps Toward the Goal

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This is the second week of the “Get a Good Habit Going” Challenge. We’re working together to offer support and encouragement to change some bad habits and start some new and good practices.

Why not wait for January when everyone gets a fresh start?

Because life is happening today! Life is passing by. And it’s too precious to waste. So, let’s redeem the time and make the most of these days with our families and friends. Good habits generally do help us enjoy those more and more.

Last week I was blown away by all the creative ideas and good intentions that y’all expressed. Readers’ ideas included but are not limited to:

  • meal planning
  • cleaning
  • not spending money/paying down debt
  • getting a household routine going
  • spending intentional time with God
  • making soup to fight off the cooties
  • limiting computer time
  • improving eating habits
  • joining the 30Day Giving Challenge
  • finishing up unfinished projects
  • using the crockpot more
  • dejunking

These are all things that I would like to improve. I could drive myself absolutely bonkers if I tried to tackle them all at one time. If I came anywhere near success, my family would probably hate me when I was done. Something would probably give along the way and that “something” would most likely be my cheerful disposition.

That’s a problem, isn’t it?

We want to improve ourselves and our homes for the benefit of our families, but we don’t want to do it at the expense of ourselves, homes, or families. So, what do we do?

Take baby steps.

  1. Choose 1 (ONE) habit to change this month.
  2. Break down your good habit into do-able pieces. Figure out what stages you’d need to go through in order to reach your goal or new habit. And then determine how to approach them.
  3. Make a list and systematically work at those little steps.
  4. Go back and tweak what doesn’t work.

For instance, I’m working on daily and weekly routines for our household. Part of establishing a working routine for the day involves establishing the parameters of the day. When does “the day” begin and end? What are the things that need to fit into the day? How can I arrange the pieces of that puzzle so that everything fits? Will there be pieces leftover that don’t fit the puzzle? Once I have a workable model, I can test it. If it doesn’t work, I can go back and make more changes until I find the routine that works best for my family at this season of life.

So, did I get a SuperWoman schedule put together last week and implement it perfectly each day? Far from it. It was tempting to get discouraged. And I must confess, there were moments when I felt like a huge FAIL.

But, I made some baby steps.

One small step to this establishing routine thing has been for me to go to bed at a decent hour (I’m shooting for 9 pm) so that I can get up early enough to have a head start on the day before the patter of little feet starts down the stairs. While I didn’t get to bed by 9 every night this past week, it did happen a few times. And I think that there were only 1 or 2 nights where I was up past 10. This is huge progress for someone who’s been up long past midnight for weeks yet awaking by 6:30 most mornings – and nursing a baby in the middle of it. Those extra hours of sleep are helping, slowly, but surely. And if that’s the only good habit I get going this month, that will be good for me and for our family.

But, you know, I’m dreaming bigger than that. I want to figure out how to make the whole day go more smoothly. This week, I’m continuing my bedtime/wake-up times and going to work in a few more baby steps, like

  • find a good pocket of time for computer work each day that doesn’t interrupt school or detract from family time
  • determine a good day of the week to go grocery shopping

I’ll report back next Monday. Can’t wait to see how it goes for each of you. Don’t feel dejected if this week doesn’t find you exactly where you want to be. If you’ve made some baby steps, then that is good.

Today is a new day.

Thank the Lord, it is. So, think back to your good habit that you want to cultivate this month and give us a progress report.

What are some baby steps you took last week that got you closer to your goal. What can you do this week toward getting your good habit going? Tell us in the comments so we can encourage you.

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  1. To help me be accountable – I blogged about my new habit! I am also working on a new household schedule! Monday went well, Tuesday was ok, and Wed-Fri kinda went out the window… sigh…

    BUT – Today starts a new week! I plan on printing out my schedule and hanging it somewhere – like by the coffee maker so I start my day thinking about it!

    Great job going to bed early! I find reserving that early morning time for email/computer helps me… it also serves as a "optional sleep-in time" if the night nursing schedule is crazy! 🙂 Keep up the great work!

  2. I think this is a great idea. I am constantly trying to stick to a schedule with being a stay at home mom also. With two boys, one in elementary school and one in pre school, im here there and everywhere all day. So I get an hour here and an hour there at home. I find that if I write out my schedule of what needs to be done the night before, Im more likely to stick to it. If I do it that morning, then Im sleepy and dont want to write anything down. Plus, I write my schedule down to the snallest thing like workout, shower, p/u kids, laundry, wash dishes, ect. Hope this helps some!

  3. Last week I really bit the bullet and wrote out a list for each day. I did *pretty good* – not everything got done each day, but by Friday night my house was cleaner and I felt like I had been successful overall. This week I want to continue working on that, going to bed earlier, and working on next week's menu so that when I go grocery shopping I can pick up what I need to fill in the cracks.

  4. I just started reading your blog, and so my change hasn't started yet. I am hoping to get started this week. I want to get a cleaning routine, time alone with God, exercise, and eating right. I feel that the first step would be to make time for God, and then other things will fall into place. I have plenty of Bible studies and a prayer box (already started, but I need to get back to it), I just need to do them again. Thanks for the inspiration.

  5. I definitely have a lot of goals, but I'll start off with meal planning. I've been working on doing this, and though I did make a meal plan last week, I faltered on sticking to it. My goal this week is not only to make the meal plan–but to STICK to it!

  6. I started my workout routine again. This week, I am going to get back on track with reducing portion sizes.

  7. scheduling my day and sticking to it was a pain last week. hopefully, I will be better this week!

  8. I did make some progress this last week on my unfinished projects:

    * I finished 2 sewing projects that have been on my to-do list for over 2 years!
    * I also finished one thing I needed to catch up for my graduate program!
    * I cleaned out one box and one pile of papers in my stuff that's been sitting around since we moved into the house 10 years ago!

    I'm feeling energized and ready to go this week. Of course, I had great plans to get more than that done, but life happens and I'll take this much abbreviated list.

    I'm also working on getting my blog "public" so I have some accountability!

    Thanks again for this series!

  9. I really enjoy your blog! This post in particular has come at the perfect time. This weekend I crafted a "cleaning schedule" to hopefully help me at least enter each room in my house weekly and maybe (I said MAYBE) dust every once in awhile. I am also hoping to get a good daily routine going with my two girls- ages 2 years and 10 weeks.

    Thanks for the encouragement!

  10. Keely, remember that the meal plan is to serve you. Don't become its slave. If you want to make something different, you can. The plan is there for when you don't know what to make!

  11. Unfortunately, I didn't get around to actually putting my list "on paper" until later last week. So, I didn't get a whole lot accomplished toward the goals last week.

    I did get a book checked out from the library to work on my goal to read more AND I checked out a few exercise DVDs to try, too!

    This week, though, I plan to do my best to get to bed at a reasonable hour in order to get up by 7 each morning!

    I also have a different area of the house to organize after our move for each day of the week.

    Thanks for the great reminder that baby steps ARE steps toward the goal!

  12. Sigh…I had big plans last week – menu planning, more routines…then 6 wk old Zoey ran a high fever and we spent 3 1/2 days in the hospital!
    So, this week my menu plan consists of dinner provided by friends, and for that I am thankful. Thankful to be home, and getting some semblance of normalcy around here!

  13. I love this idea! I think it's perfect to start it now and not just wait until January, as most do. We need the good habits during the busy holiday season when it's all too tempting to "be bad."

    I'm with you in wanting to do WAY TOO MANY things at once. I want to rise early again, exercise daily, cut out most sweets, go to bed earlier, get an earlier start to homeschooling, encourage my hubby more, set up a more rigid cleaning schedule, etc. but I realize I need to just do one thing at a time. I am doing the giving challenge, but my main good habit I'm working on is exercise. I'm trying to lose 10 pounds in the 10 weeks before Christmas. So far, I've lost 3# in 3 weeks. I am drinking "magical juice" but I don't think it is helping me much anymore. The exercise is what is doing it and though it's hard to find the time, I have to e-mail a friend every Sunday and tell her my weight and my successes and struggles for the week. As I exercise more, I notice I eat less too and crave less sweets. Once I get a good exercise routine going and it's a habit, I want to kick the going to bed really late like you are working on!

  14. Well, I didn't do too good working in the basement or attic. But I did get my blogging schedule figured out and with that in place, I'm hoping to have more time to work in the house.