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Posts Tagged ‘habits’

So, how’s everyone doing?  It seems this is where daily routines start to become habits, but some things are just plain hard to put into regular practice and to be honest, I’ve stumbled in a few areas.

1. Cultivate a daily prayer life.
My goal is to pour a cup of coffee, do my daily Bible reading and then spend time in prayer.  It’s putting “first things first.”  Is it a habit yet?  Nope. In fact, right now I’m a few days behind on my reading. Again. But I’m trying!

2. Read the Bible through in 2012.
Still (pretty much) on track. This month, I worked my way through Job, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther and most of Isaiah, plus Paul’s letters to the Corinthians and Galatians.  Both of these readings remind me that some things never change.

3. Exercise at least 4 days a week and drop the last 15 pounds I want to lose. 

  • Week one,  I managed a 3-mile run and yoga, and two brisk walks with the dog.
  • Week two was back to Pilates, plus some elliptical (knee is still iffy) and an hour of Body Pump on Friday
  • Weeks three and four both consisted of two hours of weights, plus an hour each Pilates and yoga
  • This week has seen me back in the gym early for elliptical work, then body pump and Pilates.

My goal weight is 110.   I’m at 123, which is up a couple of pounds from last month.  February is Girl Scout cookies month.  What else can I say?

4. Get my desk organized and keep it that way. 

Recipes are in my notebook; projects are in folders.  Tax docs go to Mr. Official and college info to Swimmer Girl.  We’re going to ignore the microbursts of mail sitting on the island and my sewing table (next to the desk.)  Organization is sadly still not a habit but it is getting better.

5. Cultivate the fruit of the spirit in my life.

I stumbled over a video imbedded in this entry at How to Live Richly on a Budget.  It’s 12 (highly entertaining) minutes so grab a cup of coffee and settle in.  The upshot is in the last couple of minutes where he describes a scientific “discovery” for success by doing the following daily activities for 21 days in a row.

  • find 3 new things you’re grateful for,
  • journal about something positive that occurred in the last 24 hours,
  • regular exercise,
  • meditate (an antidote to multi-tasking), and
  • commit a random, conscious act of kindness

Science and scripture are in sync; good things come from kindness, self-control, patience, love, etc.  So what would you like to change in your life? There’s no reason to wait for next January – I hope you’ll commit to it today.  And tell others what you’re trying to do so they – and we – can encourage you!

Happy resolving,

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“They” (you know, that anonymous group of people who say and do a lot of things), say it takes 21 days to make or break a habit.

I disagree.

Yes, it may take several weeks to develop a new habit. And some things will take a while to work out of our system. But some habits are altogether too easy to break.

I have been working out several times a week for more than two years. A few muscle pulls have sidelined me temporarily, but I fought my way back to 3-5 weekly workouts as soon as I could.

And then this summer hit. Moving into a new house and everything that went with it consumed most of May. Daily workouts became a question instead of a statement. Then school let out and mornings became unstructured and un-regimented. My five-morning-a-week workout routine became hit-or-miss (and that’s a charitable description.)

So I’m not sure “they” are right. It didn’t take 21 days to break me of daily workouts. In fact, it was really easy to let my routine slip away.

I’m determined to get back to working out several days a week, and get my running distances back to a respectable length. But I’m not sure this will ever become a true habit that I would have to work hard to break.

Happy habits,

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New year, new resolve

Like most people, I tend to make some resolutions each January 1. Some years, I do nothing more than make a casual mental list, and forget most of them as soon as the thought leaves my head.  Other years, I’m more formal in my approach, writing them down and trying really hard to to keep them. But either way, it’s unrealistic to expect to create new habits, drop bad ones and become more spiritual, better organized and physically healthier all at once.

This year, I’m approaching my resolutions a little differently.  Instead of writing out a list of things I want to stop doing, start doing, or do better, I’m going to tackle a particular aspect or area of my life each month, and focus on it for 30 days.  They (whoever “they” are) say it takes about a month to establish a new habit.  So over the course of 12 months, I can–at least theoretically–create 12 new habits by this time next year.

To kick things off, I’m starting with my spiritual life, and committing this month to daily Bible reading and more time each week in study and meditation.  I’m using an ESV Bible laid out to accommodate a year-long study.  I started it two years ago, and stalled out about half-way through.  I’ll pick up where I left off, and when I get to the end, I may simply start over.  Other monthly resolutions will delve into organizing, fitness, cooking and entertaining.

Be sure to eat some black-eyed peas for luck today (here’s my favorite recipe); and I wish for blessings on each of us who resolve to make the most of 2011.

Happy new year!

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Is any habit a good habit?

I woke up this morning when my husband returned from the YMCA. (Yes, he’s much more diligent about working out than I am. However, I am committed to getting in 10-12 miles of running each week, no matter what.)

As I scurried to get his breakfast and to-go lunch ready, I mused about my morning routine and ritual. Mine varies from day to day: if I work out, my day starts around 5:20. The entire routine involves running, followed by coffee, popping into work for a few minutes, cooking (or heating up) some breakfast and packing a lunch for my commuter counterpart, and grabbing a shower. Most of the year, I’m showered, dressed and ready to hit the carpool circuit by 8:00. Summers are a little less structured, but there’s still a definite routine (and it definitely involves coffee.)

Now, if I don’t work out, my day starts at 6:30, and by 8:00 I’m caffeinated, showered, dressed and ready…hmmm. A creature of habit? Definitely.

It made me wonder: are habits good? Or bad? Obviously, some habits are nasty (juvenile nosepicking, for instance) and some are risky and injurious to your health. So there are indeed “bad” habits.

Are there good habits? We often encourage our fellow Christians to “get in the habit” of attending worship, reading the Bible, praying, meditating, etc. And without a doubt, those activities exercise our spiritual muscles, and are good for us to do on a very regular basis. But…should attending worship be a habit? Something I do mechanically, without thinking twice about it? Don’t get me wrong – I don’t ever want to wrestle with the decision on whether or not to serve God this day or any other.

But I’m not sure it’s healthy to allow our spiritual life to become a matter of mindless routine (aka a “habit”). I want it to always be a conscious – and joyful – choice to put God first in my life, to look for ways to serve Him and others as I go about my day, to communicate with Him frequently in study, prayer and meditation. And most of all to to worship Him with my whole heart, mind, body, and soul. I don’t want that to become a ritual or a habit – I want to experience it fully every time. I think I’ll ask God to make me less a creature of habit. (Although the coffee is pretty important, maybe even non-negotiable.)

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