30 days to a new habit

hab•it: (noun) An acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary.


Photo by in cherl pin

It is so very ironic that I am writing this post at 11:54 p.m. (and you’ll see why soon). I’m mulling over habits – habit changing, specifically – and what it means for us as moms.

What are our personal habits? What do we do without thinking about it – good or bad? Which habits of ours bless our family? Which habits hurt them? Which habits bless or hurt myself?

Brushing my teeth twice a day – good habit. Taking a shower – good habit. Choosing the stairs instead of the elevator – good habit. Hugging my daughter throughout the day and making a point to tell her I love her – good habit.

Then there are the obvious ones, the universal vices that get most of us – procrastination, not exercising, sleeping in.

But what about those little guys that sneak into our daily lives? Those unwanted habits that, because they are what they are, go unnoticed? Unbeknownst to us, they affect our personal well-being, our parenting, our marriage, our relationship with God, and maybe even our health.

They (whoever “they” are) say it takes 30 days of repeating a behavior over and over again in order for the behavior to effectively morph into a habit.

Conveniently, 30 days is more or less a month. I plan to focus on one habit a month through the rest of the year to see if this becomes true in my life. I want to bless those around me, I want to honor God and not my flesh, and I want to improve my health. I want to be an example for my children. And I want my habits to reflect that So without further adieu…

My NEW HABIT FOR MAY: Go to bed by 10:30 p.m. every night.

Would you like to join me? I’d love to be an encouragement to you for making healthy changes in your life. I could use some encouragement and accountability myself. If you’re so inspired, leave an idea for your “New Habit for May” in the comments, or e-mail me using the contact link if you’d like to keep it more personal. Let’s see if this works!

More to come soon on habit-changing, and how it can radically simplify our home management.

• Good Reading – posts tagged “habits” on Zen Habits

(A side note: I meant to start this little idea for myself on January 1, but my body decided to give birth on December 29 instead. The idea kinda moved to the backburner. Nonetheless, late is better than never.)

Tsh Oxenreider

Tsh is the founder of this blog and just finished traveling around the world with her husband and 3 kids. Her latest book is Notes From a Blue Bike, and believes a passport is one of the world's greatest textbooks.

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  1. My habit for May is going to be straightening up the house before turning in for the night. I know that the morning goes much more smoothly when I start the day with a neat home, yet I rarely tidy up at night.

    Lynnaes last blog post..I’m over at Obzokee today!

  2. Ensuring the kitchen is spotless before bed. I love waking up first thing in the morning to a fresh cup of coffee and a clean kitchen. I feel I can tackle the day and although most times it unravels fast atleast it starts out good.

  3. @Lynnae, Niki – I was just thinking of this idea this morning as I stumbled into the dirty kitchen. I think this will be mine for June. 🙂

  4. Still loving your blog — and by the way, I nominated you for the Arte y Pico award on my blog. You continue to inspire!

    Suzannes last blog post..Arte y Pico

  5. Thanks so much, Suzanne! That’s really sweet of you.

  6. I am going to go with your idea also. I really need to get to bed early. For a short time I was going to bed by 9pm and then getting up by 5am. This is before the kids and I can get some time for myself. I found I was much more centered and patient with my kids. Great idea!!

    Mom to 2 Boyss last blog post..What I Know NOW About Motherhood…

  7. Oh and I forgot to mention if you wanted to join my table in the “What I Know NOW…” I would love to have you. Check out my blog for more information!

    Mom to 2 Boyss last blog post..What I Know NOW About Motherhood…

  8. @Mom to 2 Boys – I love early mornings, too, and that’s a big reason I want to get to bed earlier. When I have a morning to myself, my day miraculously goes much more smoothly. I’d love to be able to get up at 5 a.m., but I won’t even try until my youngest is sleeping through the night. 🙂

  9. This is a great idea. Good luck to you!

    Clay Collins | The Growing Lifes last blog post..70 Simple Power Tao Secret Hacks to Writing the Perfect Productivity Article, Plus a Guide & System for Doing It

  10. My oldest ensured I made the switch from night owl to early bird. Ivy swears I’m wired this way, but it’s just habit by now. The peace of an hour in the morning sets the tone in my house for the day. If it is ruined by a child waking too early, I always feel I need to make up a lot of ground. Have you stuck to your habit so far this month?

  11. I remember visiting your site long time back – 🙂

    Glad that you are using thesis here. Our kitchen looks like the picture you have shown here, even worse actually !

    10 more years and I will be married – thats the point where I would need to keep things clean 😀

    • Hi
      As a male in the crowd, being clear is a given! Please do not wait for that special someone to come along. I judge people by what I see and if I am visiting your place it had to be clean. A little untidy on an unexpected visit is OK! Why not start mow! Those around you do notice! A good way to start the day is to always make the bed and pickup you cloths.


  12. @Heather – This habit is definitely a challenge for me, that’s for sure! I’ll be writing more about my progress this week, so stay tuned.

    For a great laugh, click on Clay’s most recent post up there.

  13. Great incentive to develop some new, good habits. My habit for May is to keep on top of the ironing. It seems that I’m spending a good part of each weekend at the ironing boards, when I’d much rather be spending some quality time with my family.

    Journeyers last blog post..Keeping track of goals

  14. @Journeyer – Wow, I’m impressed you actually iron. 😉 I’m glad my hubby doesn’t work where he needs ironed clothes, because I am SO not good at staying on top of that. Good for you – maybe if you set aside designated time exclusively for ironing, then it won’t be overwhelming.

  15. So far repeated attempts to change my late night habit have not succeeded, but I have never lasted 30 days. Perhaps trying it with group support will make a difference. I’m on board!

  16. I started walking to get fit last night with my friends (other Mum’s) so Iam going to tell them all about this in about 15 minutes and see how long we will walk for!!! I hope I can do another 29 days!!!It is a great post and hugely inspiring, Thanks!

    almostabrides last blog post..

  17. @almostabride – Awesome! Let me know how it goes with your friends.

  18. We walked and talked and it was fab! Although Today is raining it is defo going to be harder to motivate tonight!!! I just need to work to unbreak the other habits…i.e sitting on my butt all morning on line!!!!

    almostabrides last blog post..Ideas!

  19. Stephanie says:

    I just found this blog last week and I am enjoying it very much. I have been working on the same goal – going to sleep at 10 pm. I find that I often go to bed before 10, but that doesn’t mean I am starting the sleep process at 10. Sometimes it is much later due to the interesting book I’m reading or the brain enhancing activities I’m playing on the Nintendo DS Lite.

    Thank you for this great topic of habits!

  20. @Stephanie – Glad you’re enjoying it. I so know what you mean, although you’re one step ahead of me by doing those “brain enhancing activities” in bed. I’m usually still at the desk. 😉

  21. Hi Simple Mom- I’m linking to your post on morning routines today on Ohdeedoh.com at 1 pm.

    I’m glad I stumbled upon your site!

    Julias last blog post..Puj Baby Sling

  22. Hi Simple Mom!

    I’m a first time reader, and commenter on your fantastic blog.

    I love the idea of creating a new habit in 30 days. I’ve decided that I’m not breaking an old habit, as that sounds so negative for something that has such a positive outcome – hopefully!

    Anyway, since I’ve jumped on this particular band wagon a little late, June is going to be my starting month. With it comes a new city and my new found Stay At Home Mum status.

    And my habit to change? Well, our dining room table is never ever clear and it drives me nuts having to move stuff off the table each night to eat our dinner together as a family. The worst of this is, if I just can’t be bothered cleaning it off for the night, we end up eating on the couch, still together, but it’s just not as social.

    So, there’s my commitment to a new habit. Good luck with the rest of your May challenge and I look forward to hearing about your success!

  23. @Meegan – I love it! I could use that one, too, actually. But June 1, we’ll have a new post to commit our habits for that month, so you could post again, if you want!

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