A few weeks ago, I shared with you the list of things that I wanted to work on during the month of July. Today I want to share with you some things that I learned about making new positive habits and releasing negative habits.
Monthly Plan. A new month is like a mini New Years. It can be seen as a fresh start and a new beginning. I think using each month to start something new, or lay aside something old, is an excellent way to keep yourself motivated and on track. We tend to like the things in our lives to be tied up in nice, neat packages. And by using a particular month to work on a certain habit, it is a way to make these changes look more appealing and easier to swallow. If you are consistent with making a small, yet powerful change for an entire month, you will feel empowered to continue with that habit. The ultimate goal is to make new good habits, or lack of bad habits, so ingrained that we don’t think about them anymore. They just become second nature and not something we have to struggle with.
Daily reminders. Every morning, remind yourself of your goal. This will help keep it in the front of your mind throughout the day. You could also use sticky notes and place them in key places where you will see them to help motivate yourself.
Set yourself up for success. Try to find ways to “trick” yourself into following through. For example, if you want to exercise first thing in the morning, wear clothing to bed that could work well for both pajamas and workout clothes. Then when you get up, you don’t have to change clothes. Try to make it as simple as possible for yourself. If you have the opportunity to take your eyes off the task at hand, you will quickly run in the wrong direction, like Julia Roberts in Runaway Bride.
Accountability. It will help you to stay on track if you are held accountable. You can do this a number of ways. Either tell a trusted person (or several) about your plan. They can check in with you and help encourage you when you are slacking. Or you can hold yourself accountable. In your journal each evening, have a daily “check-in” by writing down how you did. Another option is to blast it on a blog or social media. When you tell the whole world what you are working on, you will not want to fail, and this will push you to keep going.
Don’t beat yourself up. If you fell off the horse, just get right back up and start again. We are human, which means we are not perfect. We simply have to try our best. This might mean some days are not our best days. But that’s okay. We can begin again.
Adjust. It’s okay to adjust and tweak as you go along. For example, perhaps you tried exercising in the evenings, but errands and daily life got in the way. Switch it up and try the mornings instead.
Reward yourself. If you were consistent with your habit, think of a way you can treat yourself. Examples could include going somewhere fun with your family, taking a bubble bath, or getting that new book you have been eyeing. Get creative and do something for yourself that will motivate you to keep going.
What will I be working on in September? My top goals are to clear the clutter in my head so that I can hear the voice of God and to be consistent and concrete with my prayers.
Since today is the 1st day of a new month, this is the perfect time to work on a change in your life too. Take a moment to give it some thought. What is one thing you would like to accomplish this month? As Christians, we have a responsibility to live our lives well. This flows into everything we think, say, and do. We are to be a shining light in this dark world. So living our lives well, will in turn help us to walk out the calling and purpose God has for us. With that being said, what change would you like to see? A better sleep pattern? Daily Bible reading? Praying every day? Exercising? A new hobby? Or you can also lay aside a bad habit, such as not spending so much time on your devices or quitting smoking. If you are stuck and don’t know what to do, ask God to show you something you can work on in your life. If you come up with something, I would love to hear what it is!
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do. – James 1:22-25
© 2020 Bridget A. Thomas