Have you ever traveled and put your jewelry in a little bag? Inevitably the necklaces and bracelets become a messy ball of shiny chains. If we ever want to wear them again, we must painstakingly begin to pull apart the mess. We surely can’t afford to throw them away and buy the same pieces again.
I want you to keep this analogy in your head as we talk about the wreck you believe your life is in.
First of all, you cannot get all the knots out at the same time. You can’t just try to shake it hard and have it all work out. If you do that, something might even be damaged.
You have to go slow and target one tangle at a time.
This is exactly how it works when we feel like our life has gotten too chaotic to reign in. With school season starting, I know you are looking at all this and feel like you have a lot of irons in the fire. It might even seem like you would like to throw it all away and start over, but that is not really possible.
So, this is how and where you start.
Step 1: Write down all the problems or areas in your life that you feel you need to work on or sort out. Think about your relationships, your health, the physical condition of your home, your faith, your children, your mental health, your marriage, your job, and your finances. I know this might seem intimidating, but once ti is on paper it can be a relief to stare it all in the face. It becomes more tangible. You can look at it from different angles instead of all these issues bouncing around in your head like crazy worries. And some things you will even let go of.
Step 2: Divide them into tasks and habits. A task is something that simply needs to get done. Such as, buying the kids school supplies or writing thank you cards. A habit is something that needs to get done with ongoing consistency such as working out or going on date nights with your husband. Now, there will be a few things on your list that are both a task and a habit so you would list them in both areas. For example, you might need to reorganize your closets and then would need to develop the habit of maintaining that organization.
Step 3: Schedule out your tasks in a doable manner. If you are a working mom I would consider scheduling only a single task per week or even a couple a month. But, truly schedule them. Put it on the calendar the same way you would do any other event and then follow through.
Step 4: Pick one habit at a time to work on. I know we want to do all the right things right now and right away, we are more likely to be successful if you concentrate on one habit at a time and then build on them from there. Believe me, if you picked twelve new habits you wanted to install and said you wanted to start on all twelve tomorrow, you would most likely fail and be extremely frustrated in the process. But, if you concentrate on putting in place one habit a month, you can end the year with 12 new positive habits firmly installed into your routine of life.
Step 5: Monthly reassess. Each month get out your task and habit list. Schedule your tasks and begin work on a new habit.
This is how true and lasting change happens. Don’t be discouraged by the time it takes. That time is also a powerful blessing that shapes your character and develops your life.
I also want to pause and ask you that you lay down any shame or self-condemnation you might feel at this point. Things happen and we deal with them the way we know how in the moment. When Micaela was a year old I had to take a hard look at my life. I had spent the last two years in survival mode between pregnancies, moving homes, and parenting. I had spent the last nine months figuring out Micaela’s therapies, doctors, and daily care. My older daughter, Adela, had spent most of her time in front of the TV. I haven't exercised in forever and my eating and drinking felt out of control. It was a terrible situation to be in. My first steps forward were baby steps. They are actually why I call my work The Beautiful Day Project. I had to figure out how to have beautiful days even within the struggles and heartbreak that seemed to fill my life.
Okay, here is a little rehash of the steps.
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by Lora Armendariz
You Can Do It!
Do you want to fall out of love with a destructive habit? The first 42 episodes of this podcast are a resource for anyone who wants encouragement and information as they take a six week break from a habit in order to fall out of love with it.