Three Ways to Fall into New Habits

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Like many, I’m terrible at New Year’s resolutions. I’m great for a day, a week, and sometimes even two weeks, but then life gets busy and everything I’ve resolved to do just falls by the wayside. The older I get the more my resolutions revolve around eating healthier, exercising, and of course, losing weight (by the way, two thumbs down for those slower metabolisms that age brings us). I’m not making excuses (okay, maybe I am), but one of the biggest things that derails me is that January is basically the worst month of the year for feeling your best. In Birmingham it’s cold, dreary, sometimes icy, and who wants to start Couch to 5K when the weather is so yucky?
 
But, fall. Oh, glorious fall. Birmingham has the best fall season. I grew up in Florida where fall is basically summer with a breeze every once in a while. But when I moved to Birmingham for college a decade ago (how?!), the fall became my absolute favorite. 
 
I always take a picture in my front yard whenever I notice the first leaves falling off of the trees.
A lot of people associate springtime with newness, and truly that makes a lot of sense with flowers and such. But for me, fall represents a season of new beginnings. You see, my husband and I started dating in the fall of 2010. Then, two years later, on the very same date that he’d asked me to be his girlfriend, we got married. A year after that, we bought our first home in the fall, and then, on our fourth wedding anniversary (sixth dating anniversary), our daughter was born. 
 
This was what we posted to announce that our daughter had been born on the same date we started dating and got married 🙂
You can see why I just get giddy over this season and why it’s historically meant new beginnings for me … in life, in love, and in family. So, given how much I love this time of year, I’ve decided to trade my failed attempts at New Year’s resolutions for creating new habits in the fall.
 
Here are three guidelines that I’ve used in this endeavor:
  1. KISS. Keep It Simple, Stupid Silly, is the name of the game when it comes to creating new habits. For me, this is synonymous with Keep It Attainable, but KIA is a car brand and I didn’t want to confuse anyone. I’ve started small with the new habits I want to build, like making my bed in the morning and working out before I start my day. Another little one is that I’m trying to drink green smoothies when I’m at home during lunch to add more veggies into my diet. Will any of these new habits completely alter the trajectory of my life? Probably not. But that’s okay because they’re each small, reasonable things that I can actually do regularly. And let’s face it, getting disciplined about a few small habits never hurt anyone.
  2. Just do it. Okay, I’m really into the slogans right now. But seriously, just start somewhere. I love a clean slate, so I love the beginning of the week or the first of the month, but if I’m always waiting for Monday to come around, I’m missing six great opportunities to begin making new habits. When I think of something that I want to start doing consistently, like making my bed in the morning, I’ve vowed to just start doing it right then and go from there. 
  3. Just keep doing it. Experts say that it takes roughly 21-66 days to form a new habit, depending on the intensity of the habit. That means that if I want to get into the habit of making my bed everyday, I basically need to do it for the rest of the year to really, truly make it stick. In the big scheme of life, what is two months? I’ve done a lot of weird stuff like give up soda for far longer than that. And 21 days is nothing. So basically, if I put in a few months worth of work, I’ll have created some really awesome habits that add to the efficiency and cleanliness of my life and my family. 
It’s all a lot easier said than done, I’m sure, but I think that I have a much greater chance of success conquering these little habits on this side of Christmas while things aren’t as crazy. Plus, who doesn’t love tackling a to-do list when the weather feels fantastic, football season is in full swing, and everyone’s pulling out their cutest boots? Count me in, I’m ready.
 

What has helped you successfully form new habits? Share your tips in the comments!

 

 
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Jessica was born and raised along the white sands and teal waters of Destin, FL right in the heart of the Emerald Coast. Even though she's from "paradise," she wouldn't trade her life in Birmingham for anything. She and her husband, Jason, daughter, Brighten (1), six pound morkie, Swanson live in the Crestwood North neighborhood of Birmingham. Coincidentally, Jessica and Jason are both Floridians and were brought to Birmingham by Samford University. Once they met, began dating, and got married, they decided to make this wonderful city their home. Jessica graduated from Samford with a degree in journalism and mass communication. She's always loved to write and has spent the last several years working for several local nonprofits doing fundraising and marketing. When her daughter was a few months old, Jessica decided to leave the nonprofit she was working for and start a business of her own consulting with nonprofits and small businesses in the community. She is now the proud owner of The Storie Co. and co-owner of A Morales Production, she and Jason’s videography company. Jessica loves that she gets to continue doing things she's passionate about while also spending time at home with her baby girl. Jessica is an adoptive mom and loves writing and talking about her family's journey through their almost four year adoption process over at her personal blog, mrsblogbacktome.com. She is a serve team leader at her church, Immanuel, which serves the downtown area. Jessica is the epitome of an oldest child, which is appropriate since she has two younger sisters who are also both Samford grads and have both settled in Birmingham. Jessica loves coffee more than almost anything, takes frequent trips home to Destin, and relaxes by watching videos of adorable puppies.