Life

Developing good habits

Are your first morning habits helping you grow or hindering you?

I did some serious reflecting on this last night after I ran across this image saved in my phone’s photo gallery. I have to admit that I have a bad habit of picking up my phone first thing when I wake up in the morning. It has become so easy to get sucked into scrolling social media aimlessly because it just so happens that I use my phone as my alarm each morning, so logically after finally waking up I tell myself I’m just going to check Instagram “real quick”. But what I have found is that it has actually become a huge time drain.

Fast forward then to what most of my nights look like…I think back on the day and feel frustrated that I didn’t get to read or write or spend some time reading from the Bible or in prayer connecting with God. And what instantly pops in my head was the time I wasted on social media. Time I could have used for many of these same things I wish I had made time to do.

Yesterday I also happened to stumble on an Instagram story that talked about goals/habits and how important it is to break our goals down to its smallest attainable form in order to actually get to the larger goal. For example, the speaker explained that she wants to increase her creative time sketching and lower her time on social media. But rather than set herself up for failure by saying she must sketch for 30 minutes before going on social media – which can be unrealistic for her in a house with 3 young kids. She instead broke her goal down to something simple, that before she hopped onto social media she needed to spend a minimum of 5 minutes sketching.

This morning I decided to begin this new habit for myself too. I told myself that before I even reached for my phone, I needed to spend a few minutes with my Bible/prayer, journal, and read at least for 5 minutes from my book. Small steps to get to the greater goal. What I love about my journal is that it’s broken down into 3 parts, Goals – Gratitude – Remember and this setup gets me thinking about the day and my mind focused on the good.

Here’s why I chose those three things as my top priority. For starters, it’s what I wish I did more of and regretted most not getting time with by the end of the day. Connection and a deepened relationship with God is something big for me and that I want to intentionally do. Writing is like breathing for me, so when I can journal at the beginning of the day and get my thoughts down on paper and focus my attention on the good, it helps get me in the right frame of mind for the day. If writing is my exhale, reading is my inhale for sure. But I’ve developed a very bad habit that I didn’t have before having kids – not that I’m blaming them. This bad habit is that I pickup a book but then I don’t finish it, and not for a lack of interest. It’s because I am not putting the intentional time to read and that’s something that I never had a problem with before. Even if I just allotted 5 minutes to read, it’s better than nothing.

Today was day 1. Since it’s Saturday, I didn’t even set an alarm – less of a temptation. I woke up at 7am and the girls were still asleep. Any other day I would reach for my phone and scroll. Instead, I got up and eventually made my way to my desk in the living room. An hour and a half later, I had read a whole section of my book, written in my journal, and spent some time reading from James in the Bible and praying. In the middle of that time I did have one slight interruption from my youngest, she woke up and wanted me to lay down next to her. I kept her company until she fell asleep again and then resumed with what I was doing. Not once did I go for my phone. 🙂

The entire day I carried with me such a feeling of satisfaction and joy knowing that I had been able to spend some quality time doing three of the things I love most.

Are there some better habits that you can develop? I hope this will inspire you to reflect and maybe give this a chance. I’ll let you know how things are going for me, if not throughout the month, definitely by the end of January.

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