I had found extra motivation by keeping track of the books I read in 2020 through the Goodreads Reading Challenge, so I was interested to see how this might transfer over to my other desired habits.
I decided to start tracking all of the goals I was working towards and see if I made more progress when I was monitoring.
Sure enough, Gretchen Rubin was right.
I started to track everything using a simple app called Done.
In the last few weeks, when I haven't felt like walking or drinking all of my water, this app has kept me on track.
Checkmarks on a scratch piece of paper could do the job, too.
The point isn't the WAY you're tracking, it's that you make the effort to track.
Tracking every day leads to streaks in certain habits.
Streaks in certain habits leads to extra motivation to keep that streak going.
I'm adding a new habit to my tracking list today -- blogging once a week.
One week down. ✅
Monitoring my habits here in the farmhouse,
Over the last few years, I have tried to focus on building habits, so I don't have to make decisions throughout every single day of my life.
I've worked on building habits in all areas of life: home, health, physical wellness, career, and spiritual growth.
Admittedly, my prayer habit has really changed over the years.
After reading the book Fervent by Priscilla Shirer and watching The War Room, I began to be more intentional in my prayer life, thinking about my prayers as a strategy against the enemy. At that time, I began to write out prayers about specific subjects -- our marriage, our children, our siblings, the rest of our family, our church, our minister & his family, our careers, health needs, struggling friends, and so many other topics. When something came up that someone needed prayer for, I wrote out a prayer for them and began praying it out loud.
This method was very effective. However, it also became difficult to manage when I had hundreds of notecards with prayers written out on them. I wanted to have an effective prayer strategy, but I felt like I was missing important topics and I felt like I was missing out on some of the "relationship" part of my prayer time.
I started to research what other people were doing in their prayer lives.
I talked to friends, surfed the internet, and of course, prayed.
I have learned a few things about myself over the years:
I'm going to be brutally honest here, this month has been extremely overwhelming for me. As a school administrator, dealing with the end of the school year amid COVID-19 concerns and regulations has brought on unprecedented decision-making requirements for school districts. On May 4th, like I talked about in my last blog post, we had straight-line winds that destroyed our barn and damaged our roof & two other buildings. We've been cooped up (like the rest of our country) with almost no outside contact for the girls with friends and family.
So many of my prayers during May have been spontaneous whispers for peace and calm and protection.
I have no doubt that these prayers were effective and heard and appreciated, but I feel like this time we have spent in the valley has been "survival mode".
As the school year has come to an end, I'm ready to get back to growing and thriving in my prayer life, not just surviving alongside Jesus.
So for June, I've created a prayer template for each day of the month. This will hopefully keep me grounded and focused, as well as help me to rebuild my morning prayer habit.
I have created this two-page template for every day of June.
I'm going to take this weekend to add in daily scriptures for each day and to write down my "specific daily prayers" that I pray about each morning.
I've outlined these prayer topics below, if you're interested in doing something similar.
Specific Daily Prayers
Each day, I have specific topics that I cover. This is something I started a few years ago when I was trying to come up with an effective method of covering all of the "regular" topics I wanted to be in prayer about.
Here is my schedule for my daily prayer topics.
So that's what I'm going to do to strengthen my prayer habit this next month.
This might not be the right prayer method for you, and that's okay.
I would encourage you, however, to find a method that works for you. Schedule in some prayer time and be intentional with how you use that time.
Making prayer a priority here at the farmhouse,
You may remember at the end of 2018 when I shared about my morning routine on the blog.
Although I knew how important a morning routine was, it wasn't until I read The Power of Habit last year that I learned how beautifully automatic mornings could become.
Another example might be reaching for your house keys to unlock the door as you walk to the house when you get home.
ââThese sequences of events are automatic.
You don't even think about them.
There's practically no thought necessary to get the mail from the mailbox or unlock your house.
Did you know that humans are wired to make a specific amount of decisions each day?
We each have a certain decision-making capacity and we often use a lot of our decisions on meaningless activities.
(Sidenote: This is often why people make poor food choices late at night. They've hit their decision quota for the day, so they're unable to effectively decide "no ice cream" is the correct option.)
By creating healthy habits in our morning routines (and in other areas of our lives), we create automatic sequences and cut out decisions.
Make your morning routine a habit.
Here is my morning routine:
Now...in all honesty, over the last few months, my third and fourth steps have gone away.
I injured my hip while training for a half-marathon back in the fall and I wasn't able to workout for several months.
Now I'm healthy again and will need to re-train myself to include that working out habit in the mornings. For now, it's a daily decision.
The beauty of the habit cue is that we have the power to change our habits.
Last summer, I started experimented with habit loops.
When my feet hit the floor every morning, I would turn around and make the bed.
Within two minutes of my alarm going off, I have already accomplished something and now every time I walk by the bedroom through the day, I will remember that accomplishment.
As part of my bedtime routine, I've laid out my workout clothes and my clothes for the day.
Once the bed is made, I put on my workout clothes and head outside to run, to the basement to the treadmill, or to the living room to workout with a video.
It is automatic and once those clothes & tennis shoes are on, it sure is easier to get that movement taken care of first thing in the morning instead of having to decide to fit it in later in the evening.
After my workout, I start the coffee pot as I walk to the shower.
When I'm out of the shower and ready for the day, I make coffee and do my Bible study.
Cue (feet hit the floor)
Enjoying my mornings at the farmhouse,
Four whole months.
That's how long it's been since I posted over here on the blog.
It's like spring break got over and all the sudden, we were flying 80-mph in a 55-mph speed limit zone to the end of the school year.
Today is my first official day of summer break.
Sure, I'll be back at work once a week or so to tie up some loose ends and to do some preparation for next school year, but officially, I can stay home if I want to.
I'm reading a book called The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.
It's all about doing little things each day to contribute to happiness.
Inspired by Rubin's book, I've decided to embark on my own "Mini Happiness Project".
I'll chronicle my plan and progress here to share, starting today.
So let's just jump right in.
Rubin's happiness project was a 12-month endeavor.
I'd like to start TODAY and have my first little leg of my happiness project go through September 30th.
I'll do some of the prep-work right now in June to allow me to be prepared to do a 3-month focus with my Farmhouse654 friends from July through September.
My Daily Focuses for the Rest of June will be:
Secondly, we have dirty clothes strewn throughout the house. It's like the children get dressed in every corner of the house. And of course, Mr. Farmhouse sometimes drops his dirty clothes DIRECTLY beside the hamper.
And finally...we haven't built a laundry habit that includes at least one load a day.
As part of the 12-week challenge, I chose my January daily habit to be one load of laundry a day...from start to finish.
Through the washer, through the dryer, folded, AND put away.
Last fall, I started to make my bed every single morning. Even if I got nothing else accomplished during the time I had before leaving for work, I still made my bed.
And now...I don't even have to think about it.
Since starting the "one load a day" laundry habit, although I can't say I'm to the point where I'm doing laundry automatically, I can definitely notice a huge difference.
In fact, I only have one load that could even be done right now because we're all caught up on the rest of our clothes.
These daily routines are so important to help keep the house manageable.
And when I started following the FlyLady 10-15 years ago, I learned how important cleaning zones in our homes can be too for those "deep-cleaning" tasks.
The basic concept is for you to divide your home into various zones.
I used to try and make sure I was getting through every single zone every single month.
However, starting this next week, I think I'll put my house on an eight-week zone rotation.
Today, and for the rest of this week, I'll be focusing on deep-cleaning the front porch, the living room, and our deck.
I make a list of tasks to get these three areas "all spiffied up" and I work on that list for 15-30 minutes a day (depending on each night's activities).
So...your task for today is to divide your home into zones.
You can decide how many.
You can decide what types of tasks to put on your zone lists.
The important part is to start to develop some habits for deep-cleaning a little at a time, instead of just constantly being stuck in the cycle of having a BIG cleaning day every few weeks.
Working my zones at the farmhouse this morning!
We made it.
It sounds crazy to say that. I just keep thinking, "Wasn't 1996 like a few years ago?"
Anyway, for so many of us, waking up on January 1st brings a renewed sense of motivation and excitement for what can happen in this fresh new year.
Over 2018, I read several books to work towards becoming the best version of myself that I can be.
Almost every single one of them spoke in the beginning about the importance of having a vision for your life.
"Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others." ~ Jonathan Swift
Your vision has to be yours alone.
Picture the life you want and decide TODAY to take steps to get there.
I'm hosting a "Twelve-Week Challenge" group here on the blog and over on Facebook.
So that's my one non-negotiable daily habit.
However, I have some other habits that will definitely help our days run more smoothly, so I have listed nine other daily habits that I would like to track each day.
I love using a habit-tracker for things like this, so I created one on Google Docs to track my progress.
You can view MY January habit-tracker HERE and follow along, if you'd like.
If you would like a printable BLANK copy of my habit-tracker, click the image below.