Back in 2018 I realized I needed some help starting my new year goals. After many years of failure on habit goals (reading the Bible, praying, tracking spending, etc) that I needed to work on the habit of developing habits. I couldn’t keep doing what I have always been doing (or not doing) in my ordinary days and expect to grow different habits.
Five years later, I still need to develop and practice mini-habits each December to start the habit of doing new habits. I haven’t written down any goals yet (but will soon) but I already know at least one habit I need to develop. How about you? Do you want to join me in building mini-habits for December?
If so, think about something that has been bugging you or hindering you from doing what you should do. Is it dirty dishes habitually filling the sink so it’s a grind to prepare any meals? Maybe it’s that you know you need to be reading your Bible more consistently. Is it having extra weight and your pants are uncomfortable? Is it running out of money before the next paycheck? Is it not having a stocked pantry so you end up ordering out? Maybe you have a stack of books you want to read but end up wasting all that reading time on your phone unintentionally. Take a minute to brainstorm something that is consistently a bother in your life (big or small).
Next, brainstorm three micro-habits could build. Aim for simple habits that don’t require a complete revamp of your life to implement. Tiny. Small. Do-able. This is how that might look:
If I want to lose weight this year:
- Dec 1-3, Go for a 15 minute walk each day this week.
- Dec 4-10, Go for a walk three days this week and make a big pan of roasted veggies for side dishes and have raw, sliced veggies on hand for snacks.
- Dec 11-17, Continue walking, prep more veggies, and plan your meals for the next week.
- Dec 18-31, Continue working the plan. You get two more weeks of practice. Change, tweak, keep trying.
Or, maybe you want to get your finances in order?
- Dec 1-3, write down everything you spend.
- Dec 4-10, Continue writing down all purchases and cut out one thing that you know drains the budget (coffee, meals out, Door Dash, online shopping, etc).
- Dec 11-17, Continue writing down your spending, cutting out the money drains, and make a written budget for the next paycheck, spending every cent on paper before you spend it in real life.
- Dec 18-31, Continue working the plan. The good thing here is, you can be really nice to yourself. You’re learning new habits. No reason to beat yourself up, this is practice month. Just keep going.
Or maybe you want to be deliberate about daily time reading the Bible?
- Dec 1-3 , set a “head to bed” time in the evening. This isn’t necessarily where you are IN BED by this time, but a time when you start the things that you need to do before bed (brush teeth, jammies, etc). Maybe make part of that plan laying out your Bible to where you’ll see it.
- Dec 4-10, practice getting up earlier than usual and read one section in the Bible. Maybe that’s one Psalm, one page, one chapter. (I encourage you to make a plan, rather than just randomly reading wherever. We’re adults, right? We can read with some sort of order. If you have no idea, start with reading one chapter or one page of a short book like Philippians or Ephesians.)
- Dec 11-17, Continue as above, but add in writing down a verse that stood out to you to think on through out the day.
You get the idea. Now, take a minute to write down your micro-habits. Then start practicing! Practice means you are nice to you. You don’t get to beat yourself down for not doing everything perfectly. Write what you’ll do in the comments below, then write them down in your planner or calendar so you don’t forget!
Some habits readers have done in the past:
- Wash dishes and clean sink every evening
- Wash dishes and dry dishes and put away every evening
- Wash dishes, dry and put away, set up coffee maker every evening
- Drink 4 glasses of water every day
- Drink 6 glasses of water every day
- Drink 8 glasses of water every day
- no sugar
- no sugar, no fast food
- no sugar, no fast food, plan meals and snacks ahead of time.
- Read Bible 10 minutes every morning
- Read Bible 10 minutes and journal something to remember
- Read Bible 10 minutes and journal something to remember, Journal 10 minutes at end of day
My mini-habits for December
I need to focus on prayer. I’ve been really bad about not having a focused time for prayer and it shows. It’s going to take me building up my stamina again. Here’s my plan.
- Dec 1-3, pray for 5 minutes each morning
- Dec 4-10, pray for 10 minutes each morning
- Dec 11-17, pray for 15 minutes each morning
- Dec 18-31, continue praying for 15 minutes each morning
What about you? Share what you’ll be doing with me in the comments below!