Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Coaxing habits

Habit is habit, and not to be flung out of the window by any man, but coaxed downstairs a step at a time.  ~Mark Twain

I think Mr. Twain was referring to bad habits needing to be coaxed down the stairs, but if he had kids like mine, he might have been commiserating over the basic process of trying to help them decide on one cotton-pickin' habit to put down on their 100 Day form.  

See my last post for the great idea my BFF Ann(e) came up with. 

 The great idea that is taking the national Blog World by storm.

The great idea that is so simple, yet is making a positive impact on women and children far and wide.

The great idea I'm pretty sure I thought of before she was even born. 

Mine was exactly the same as hers, except I called mine an Encouragement Chart. And mine had a few more than 3 boxes to check. And mine was connected to an intricate system of rewards. And mine was written in fat, black Sharpie with no quotes or cool fonts. And mine had things like "Keep your fingers away from your nose" and "Sit like a lady" on the ones I made for my kids. And there were about 20 things for each child to work on each day - for a year.

Other than that, my idea was identical to Ann(e)'s. (I've always been a little before my time. It's a curse, really.)

But I'm super happy to have Ann(ie) take international credit, us bein' kindred spirits and all. 

 Personally, I had an enjoyable and easy time choosing which 3 habits I would work on for the next 100 days - my only problem was trying to narrow it down to 3.  Leaving so many areas off the list felt akin to saying that there were only 3 things about me that need improving. That seemed too proud for an exceptionally humble girl like myself. But I'm a rule-loving/form follower, so I did what Ann(e) told me to do.

And I had high hopes that my good example, coupled with the lengthy, eloquent instructions I gave, would make the process easier for my own, dear, badly-in-need-of-some-reformation children.

So, I optimistically sent them off to be alone with their form and their God. I patiently waited, with visions of post-100 day children who cleaned under their beds, no longer cracked their knuckles, and looked for ways to make life easier for others/me.

My boys eeked out a grand total of 1 each - and even that 1 seemed negotiable - since they weren't completely convinced it would take anywhere near 100 days to cement their new habit.

Such is the male ego.

I'm just sayin'.

(With threats of no lunch until I saw 3 Mom-Approved habits on the dang miracle form) We ended up each completing our assignments. 

Phew! Now the easy part.  Doing our three new habits each day for the next 100 days.

It is my intention not to check my children's progress daily. I really want them to take ownership and responsibility for this character-building project. (Plus, I don't have time to check on them each day, and it would make my #2 below a little harder.)

Here are my 100 Day Habits
  (1) Drink 6 glasses of water each day - preferably before dinner (for the sake of helping my husband sleep through the night...)
 (2) Publicly praise my husband and children - preferably heart-felt
 (3) Delete 10 emails a day - preferably read first

There were a few things in my top 10 that I easily eliminated because I knew I would have the motivation to do them without the form. Scripture memory - because we're doing it as a family (and the embarrassment when my kids pass me will be enough of a motivator...); exercise (jiggly fat and tight jeans make a form unnecessary) - and there were a few things I realized I wasn't ready to be committed to; daily journaling and no sugar. The beauty of 100 days is that when your 100 days is over, you can choose 3 more things....and then 3 more, all within 2011. That Ann, she is brilliant!

 I've heard from a few of you about things you're trying to put off/put on in this New Year. How's it going? Anyone else take Ann's (originally mine....) challenge? Did you find it easy or hard to limit yourself to 3?


Mama Weso said...

I've read both posts now and keep telling myself that this is a great idea and I really think I might be able to handle YOUR 3 ideas ... so I'm giving it some serious thought! Keep us posted on your progress and pray for those of us who are sluggards.

Cheaper by the Baker's Dozen said...

Mama Weso, if you're a sluggard then I'm a woman with ...leisure time. You could run circles around me with all your good deeds. You just don't write them all on a list and brag to the world about them!

As far as reporting back on how I'm doing...It all depends on how I do :)

Jax said...

No matter whose idea this was, I'm inspired to do it -- and even without the threat of no lunch!

Sarah said...

I wasn't going to do it but after I read your post I decided to go ahead. I even wrote a blog post on it and linked to you (hope that's ok. I'll take the links out if you would prefer, but think of it as a means to the end of blog traffic :). How's that for a nice comment? And it's all true, too.

Dayna said...

I really need to start taking my Juice Plus again. Maybe this'll help me.

Laura said...

I've already started on one new habit, well, make that two. Working out and consistent devotional time. Don't know about number 3 yet. I'm blogging the workout journey.

Corrin said...

Wanted to let you know that the 4th set of prompts for January Reflections is ready. If you'd like to get these via email every Mon. and Wed. visit the www.thegloriousimpossible.com and scroll to the bottom of the page. Under "Subscribe" click on "Subscribe by email." You'll then get an email every time I post to my blog. Blessings, Corrin

Cheaper by the Baker's Dozen said...

Dayna, Why oh Why didn't I put something like 'taking JP' on my list?! (Maybe because I already do that fairly faithfully since I feel so much better when I do...)
I feel like I'm drowning over here -in my 6 glasses of water a day. And I'm not getting much done, unless you count the exercise I'm getting from going back and forth to the bathroom.

Anonymous said...

I only have one item, too. (I feel pretty safe in sharing this, as my lunch is secure several states away from Mrs. Pittman. Not that I'm happy about that, but one does like to eat.) I've decided to work on looking directly into people's eyes when I talk to them. That really gets me two items, because to accomplish number one, you have to actually talk to someone, which I could also work on. But, just so I
don't get overwhelmed, I'm sticking with one.

Cheaper by the Baker's Dozen said...

My dearest Leah,
How I wish you lived closer to me! Not so I could deprive you of lunch, but so I could treat you as one of my own dear ones....Forcing you to look into my eyes while I lectured you on the virtues of attentiveness :)

Seriously, several of my children also struggle to look others in the eye while conversing (and yes, I have one who struggles to converse at all...). One idea I read is to try to notice all the colors and nuances of people's eyes - but this can quickly turn creepy and cause others to avoid you, so I'm looking for another idea. :)

Kathryn said...

You are brilliant! Or... Ann is brilliant?? Or... you both are?!?! Love this idea, thank you!

Cheaper by the Baker's Dozen said...

Awww, Kathryn - Ann and I thank you~

Davene Grace said...

Good for you! I like your list, and although I'm not officially doing it, I *should* do your #3. Why can't I stay on top of my email inbox???

It's always a pleasure to visit your blog; thanks for sharing a ray of sunshine!

Germs said...

Just found your blog and I love it. Maybe because it reminds me of home. :-) I think you and my mom would get along great. Shoot, I think you and I would get along great! I am after all, very much like my Mother-Praise the Lord!
Def. need to work on 3 habits. I'm still in the newborn and preschool life with my 'littles' but surely I could find a way to do the same 3 things every day. I know- Kiss a sweet baby face, and share my bathroom time with a 3 year old. See, 2 already...