Get a Good Habit Going! Challenge

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Ever find yourself a day late and a dollar short? Ever wake up one morning to realize that bad habits have infiltrated the comfort of your home and life? Ever find that life is passing you by because you’re not on top of things like you wish you were?

Yeah, me, too.

This past 14 months since FishBaby was born have been some of the best, but some of the craziest months of my life. I seem to recollect that a year and a half ago, my life and my household acted like a well-oiled machine. I knew where things were; I had a regular schedule and routine; life seemed peaceful.

The wheels have since fallen off my machine!

But, then again, if I think back to the months and years that followed the birth of each of my children, I realize that it has always been kind of like that. It takes me awhile to get back up to speed.

This past week, though, I decided things needed to change. My bedroom had looked like this for far too long.

Just keeping it real, folks.

Friday morning I got to work and washed and folded two tons of laundry and have vowed not to get sucked under again. FishPapa and I also had some good conversations this weekend about opportunities and priorities for our family and what we should spend our time on.

So, for my benefit and yours, I’m starting a new feature here called “Get a Good Habit Going.” You know that life is going to get a little crazy come Christmas time. And I’m thinking I’d like to meet it a little better prepared than I am right now. So, I want to spend the month of November cultivating a new and good habit.

Yes, I could wait until January 1. But, that’s two months away. I’d like to enjoy a little less chaos between now and then. There’s no time like the present, right?

Get a Good Habit Going
So, I invite you to commit agree consider developing a new and good habit this month. It doesn’t have to be something crazy (or painful) like marathon running or anything. Just a little something that will improve your life and the lives of those you love.

Here are some ideas to get you thinking:

My New and Good Habit for November
As for me, I’m going to be working on fine tuning our daily and weekly routines. I used to have good ones, but I’m not sure where I lost them. They’re probably in a moving box somewhere, along with the girls’ extra bed sheets that I also haven’t seen in a year. I’m going to try to find them again.

The routines as well as the bedsheets.

So, I’m working on a daily schedule. Basically, I need all the help I can get. I’m not a schedule person by nature, so this rubs me the wrong way a little. Yet, there is so much to do in my day and often the important stuff gets left undone because I’m not paying attention. My husband says, “You can’t turn an aircraft carrier on a dime.” And, well, that’s a little bit like our life. I need to plan better and redeem the time.

In addition to getting a daily schedule going, I also want to focus on working hard during the week so that weekends can be family time instead of catch up. I’m not sure how this will pan out, but FishPapa and I did a little brainstorming today about our household’s infrastructure (meals, clothes, and other regular household tasks) and what I could do to make my “life as mom” a little happier and a little easier.

So this week, I’m going to start implementing some new sub-habits. (How do you like that for complicated?)

  • completing two loads of laundry per day M-F
  • planning and shopping for more than a week of meals at a time (see this month’s meal plan)
  • make meals ahead of time so that I can save time in the evenings (Baking/Freezer Cooking Day is this Tuesday and Wednesday. Stay tuned!)

Each week this month, I’ll post about my progress; I hope you’ll share yours. At the end of November, I’ll put up a Mr. Linky so that everyone can report in about their new and good habit.

But for now, tell us in the comments the one thing you’d like to do this month for the better.

It can be little. That’s okay. But, leave a cute, little comment because it’s a good way to help you commit to actually doing it! I know, ’cause I just did that.

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  1. Making a fresh start always feels good. I can't wait to hear how you come out on the end of this adventure!
    I'm going to work on meal planning. I've been winging it for too long now. Even though a lot of my wing it meals end up being some of our favorites! LOL

  2. I would like to work on meal planning for a month. I loved your idea of using a monthly calendar (I never thought of that) and writing it all out. I would like to have stress-free dinners. This should help. Thanks for the inspiration. I love your blog!

  3. Wow. This post is exactly what I needed. I too spent the weekend doing tons of laundry and cleaning out my closet. I had let it go since gaining so much weight after having my youngest.

    My goal this month is to work on cleaning out my house. I have let it "go" and cant stand it any longer. I know once I go thru everything, recycle, sell it, give it away to charity, etc I will feel so more RELAXED.

    So, here's to a good month and *hopefully* getting alot cleaned up and accomplished.

  4. FishMama,

    We are recently beginning our journey to becoming debt free. A couple of weeks ago, I sat down and put in all my receipts. I was devasted to find that we were going poor due to too many McDonald's $1 Sweet Teas. Therefore, over at my blog, I am taking a plunge into No Spend November! I would sure appreciate the support and love over there! I know that you too have done the debt free journey and I would love to hear more about it! Thanks so much for making this challenge! It's just what I needed to go hand and hand with my No Spend November!

  5. What a fantastic post!

    Since our baby #3 was born 2 months ago I have been flying by the seat of my pants with a daily/weekly schedule of chores, activities, and meal planning!

    How funny too – I am planning to 'tackle' this topic about my new household schedule tomorrow! I look forward to checking in with you!

  6. How'd you read my mind like that? 9 out of 11 of your goals are also on my mind very much this morning.
    Here's my new one that's not on your list already, or maybe it is and you just didn't write it down and now I'm reading your mind. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  7. Love it! Thanks–today is the first day of a new habit for me! Thanks for the inspiration.

  8. Hey…I only have 2 little ones around and my house has looked that every once in a while, too! We're human! We live in our house… not in a catalog, right? I'll be thinking of you, as we try to keep up with everything here, too. Holidays are coming, which means company, unexpected drop-ins, here at least, so that's what will be in the back of my mind to keep me accountable! If I get sucked in, I'll never get out!!

  9. I have three little steps.
    1. I need to spend more time off of my computer and tuned into my family.
    2. I have a baby blog that I would like to post more – 3-4 times a week.
    3. Stay on top of the laundry. – There are only three of us (soon to be 4), so it shouldn't take much, but I still get behind – maybe try a load every other day?! Thanks!

  10. We sound like kindred spirits! I am not much of a schedule person either but things have to change around here as well. We get caught up and then our problem is maintaining. There are several things you listed that my family needs to work on. Great post!
    God bless,

  11. WOW!! Sounds like a lot of people are in the same rut. After starting a new job this June life got a little crazy.
    I was just thinking of the same thing this week. My kids are older and can help w/the responsibility of keeping up w/the house.
    But I to need to make out charts. As my kids got older they like to know what is expected of them. This will be an interesting topic. After starting work outside the home blogging has taken a backseat. But I will sneak this in too.

  12. I'm sorry y'all are in a mess, but I'm so glad I'm not alone! Looks like we can be good encouragement to one another. Yeah!

  13. I'm working on getting caught up – I've been sick (terribly so) for the last 2 years and just had surgery that has corrected much of the problem. Now that I have energy again my goals for November are:
    * Finish all my half-completed sewing projects.
    * Finish cleaning out the boxes left over from moving in 10 years ago! (Ahem!) ๐Ÿ™‚ (There really aren't that many of them….)
    * Finish cleaning out our home office.

    I have lots of 'sub-goals' as well, but those are the biggies!

    Thanks for hosting this! (I do have a blog, but it's off line or I'd link to a post about this. Hopefully soon – I guess that's a fourth goal! ๐Ÿ™‚ )


  14. I have SO many habits that need to be changed. However, I'll start small. Instead of resorting to fast food on nights when there is little time to cook-I'll use my crockpot (at least once a week), and start the meal in the morning before work, or during my lunch break. (I work from home)

  15. I just recently found your blog, and have been finding it so helpful and inspiring! I am a homeschooling mom of 3, (hopefully more to come!) and love to see how other moms manage…thanks especially for this post because 1) it was encouraging to see that mine is not the only house that looks like that =) and 2) I really needed the challenge to get motivated in every one of those areas you listed… especially keeping on top of my cleaning/laundry… as a matter of fact I was just trying to put together a cleaning schedule right before I read your post… so, now if I can just stop reading your blog long enough, I might go get something done… =) (PS- also I love all the mexican recipes you post, can't wait to try them!)

  16. Emily, you're very sweet. Thanks for your kind words. I'm so glad this blog is helpful to you. Now, get off the computer! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  17. I need to focus on getting the basement and attic under control. I seem to get everyday housework done, and don't take time to organize and declutter the unused parts of the house.
    Thanks for starting this!

  18. i'm definitely going to work on tweaking priorities in the day and getting a schedule down!

  19. You were able to touch the heart of a lot of moms with this idea. My kids are going to join me in this as well. Thanks for the great encouragement toward joyful motherhood!

  20. I seem to fall short on a balancing my daily schedule and getting lost in time-wasting activities (Twitter and such…) No kids here so I don't have that excuse.

    My other downfall is trying to do too much – my expectations are massively unrealistic. And I get lost in the whirlwind of not finishing what I need to finish.

    My commitment to myself this month is to fine-tune a daily schedule, stay focused on the monthly goals I set, and to have a list of things I want to do – so I don't forget but don't feel like I need to do them right away.

    If you're a planning type of person like me, I love my Franklin Planner. I use the Julie Morgenstern planner and love it – there is ample room for everything and she has a fabulous tool to use for weekly scheduling. They also have a planner just for moms – which looked great to me but not being a mom I didn't need it.

    (I guess I could write my own post on this…)

  21. I'm a relatively new reader and this article came at the right time! I've been trying to motivate myself to get on a schedule but can't seem to. I'm a part time student (3 days/week) and my boy goes to daycare those days so if I'm not studying, I should have plenty of time to do the dishes or laundry or…
    Thanks for the post. I will have to sit down and try to work out some goals after my microbiology exam tomorrow!


  22. I love this idea!

    Something I've been struggling with is over-indulging and getting a little… er… pudgy … along the waistline. So I've been keeping track of my calories at (love that site – it's free!) and doing 10 minutes of Pilates every day (gotta start somewhere, right?). I've been taking it day by day so far, but I'll make it my goal to keep this up through November… already my clothes are fitting better, so here's to making it a habit!!

  23. I've had major problems getting the laundry done lately. I have a 3 month old, so things have changed a lot in the last few months. It can get frustrating, but I'm trying to give myself a break. So your post was very timely–I am starting a new laundry system where I do one room of the house each day. I'm looking forward to tracking my progress. I'll post about your challenge soon–great idea!

  24. I so appreciate you showing a โ€œrealโ€ photo of a mess; it helps to know other people have that โ€œlived inโ€ look too.

  25. I, too, have MUCH to work on, but I'm going to start with spending more focused, quality time with God. My health (spiritually, mentally, even physically) seems to be a direct correlation with how much time I'm spending (or not spending!) with the Lord.

    And, I'm expecting baby #3 in just a few weeks with an absent husband (he's deployed until the end of March 2010), so I'm setting the bar reeaaallly low throughout the rest of this year. I'll be in survival mode! ๐Ÿ™‚

  26. One challenge for me is that though I love to cook and bake, when it comes to the weekend I'd much rather hang out with my husband and babies…he's in school full time AND working full time, so weekends are golden. Cooking doesn't happen, or if it does it's last minute and frustrating, so what I've started doing is making a big pot of something on Friday or Saturday morning, and then we eat that over the weekend, adding other things as necessary. Two weeks ago it was a huge pot of spaghetti sauce and 2 lbs of spaghetti, and this weekend it was a big pot of bean soup and rye bread. Usually there's enough left to send with dh to work, so then Monday's lunch plan is saved, too. That's my resolution…to keep up with that. Makes weekends stress-free!

  27. Ah, I love when you read my mind.
    The baby is 6wks old, I know, I have to relax my expectations, but I feel like I can't see what the next thing is.
    So, I'd like to get my daily groove back. Meal planning, laundry, cleaning, all that.
    Hopefully this will help my mood!
    Thanks (as always) for being real.

  28. My quiet time has really suffered of late. Getting up a half hour early hasn't helped much because my youngest is up and at'em as soon as he hears me tip-toe past his bedroom. My goal is to find a regular time to make this happen, somehow. I know that I can't be the wife or mom that I should if I am running on empty spiritually.

  29. I am committing to start reading five verses a day. I have slacked on spedning daily time in the Word and know that if I start small I can do it. Thanks for doing this. It's inspiring!

  30. Very timely post for me. I meal plan weekly, but I'd like to take the leap and plan for the whole month (but I'll take 2 weeks even).

    I'd also like to get a schedule going for cleaning and laundry around here. We are doing way too much on the weekends!

  31. I have to laugh…I just did a post about my November goal being to find a new daily routine. As in, I hit publish and then moved over here to see what was going on today!
    The good habit I really want to get going is to incorporate some regular exercise into my week. One more thing to work into that new routine. I'll be checking in on you to see what tips I can pick up!
    Thanks for the motivation!

  32. Wonderful post. We all need a little kick in the pants sometimes. My goal for the month is to **purge something** everyday (or at least several days per week.) I actually got a pretty good start the last week in October.

    It's so easy to get bogged down, isn't it!

  33. sounds like our house. We just had the same sit down and prioritize kind of talk and I set some goals and did great until I got sick and now and in survival mode until I get caught up. It would be great to have someone along on the ride!

  34. We're just getting settled into a new house and in the process of unpacking boxes. The last several months have been ones of transition for us with our baby girl being born and her health problems and then moving. I feel like I've really dropped the ball on a lot of things through all this. Finding your post was timely for me as I've been thinking I really need to get back into the groove of things again!

    I plan to blog about my hopeful journey back to "normal life" on my blog.

  35. I need to stop wasting time and be more organized. Specifically, I want to work on organization with staying on top of cleaning. Also, I want to make one of those vision boards so I can have right in front of me all the time a visual interpretation of what's important to me, as a reminder.

  36. Love this idea, I have two things I want to do this month, exercise consistently and play with my children more!

  37. With a very possible short term, over the border move within the month there feels like very little I can control!

    So the habit I am cultivating this month is the 30 Day Shred with more veggies & more water.

    Not only will this help my waist line & over all health, but it should help me keep my sanity by burning off some of the stress!

  38. A very small but helpful thing that I've started doing lately is choosing and laying out my clothes for the next day before I go to bed. I noticed I was spending way too much time staring blankly into my closet in the morning, thus having to rush in order to be ready for work on time. This has really helped!

  39. I need to get a regular daily/weekly schedule going. Time slips by too quickly and I waste too much of it. I want to be more productive and a better steward of my time and resources.

  40. So I know I am seeing this entry almost a year later – I am so happy to have found it! I am in desperate need of organizing my house and staying on top of it so I can have people over unexpected and it not be stressful. Thanks for this post… I am going to give it a shot and have the whole house in shape by this October!