The Christmas gifts have been put away or returned. Taking down the decorations and putting the house back in order has begun. Before long the children will be back in school and the work routine has started. Routine is quickly becoming the order of the day. Late last fall when we were hip deep in routine, we longed for a break. A break from our schedule, a vacation, a holiday time away. Now we have hosted and attended parties, visited with relatives and overeaten. After a few days of this behavior, we long for the routine, the normal and even the ordinary. As we get around today and get dressed and commute to work, the memories of the holiday season are receding and now we have to put feet to our resolutions. Am I going to lose weight, eat correctly, save money, pay off debt, be kinder, be a better spouse, parent, sibling, child etc.? Our resolutions and goals are about ready to be swallowed up into our habits and routines! If we want things to be different, we will have to act differently. How do I start today making the changes that need to be made to accomplish things and make the changes I must make in my life? I am about to read the book “Atomic Habits” by James Clear. This book has received rave reviews and just yesterday I heard someone list this as one of his three books you should read in 2019. The premise as I understand it is that, rather than changing behavior today, Start small. Do something simple to do and do it knowing these small changes can lead to big results. I will let you know what I think of the book after I have read it and I will report back to you. Today is the day we must act on the change we want to see in our lives. If I will spend time in the Word of God this year, let me start today. If you have never read the Bible very much, perhaps an “atomic” habit for you would be to read a few verses. May I suggest you start with the gospel of John? If you will eat healthily. Start small and enjoy a healthy breakfast? If you will keep a journal. Do not become intimidated by all the artsy people on the internet who make their journals works of art. Just writing and if you can only write three or four sentences that is fine. As you start the new year remember your new habits are like going to the gym. The habit muscles have not been exercised for some time, go slow and work yourself into a good habit shape! There are three words I am repeating often to myself as I begin a New Year with its joys and challenges: Purpose, Patience, Persistence!
Purpose. What is the purpose of your new habit or resolution or goal? Why are you attempting this now? Write it down and store it somewhere and read it every single day. If your purpose is strong and important, you will be much more likely to stay on task.
Patience. Be patient with yourself! You will not perform perfectly. You will mess up, more than once! It is okay, just keep plugging away. Keep trying and go back and reread your purpose and get back on track. Do not give up and become discouraged. Everyone has a bad day, pick yourself up and keep moving.
Persistence. Forget perfection aim for consistency! Just keep chipping away, make the decisions that you believe moves you forward and just keep going.
Oh…and Happy New Year!