It takes 21 days to form a habit. Webster’s Dictionary defines a habit as “a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up.” After three weeks, what once took a lot of effort and determination will begin to be routine. So how do we begin and maintain habits that help us become better and more fulfilled?
Habits can be good, bad, or sexy (just ask Whoopi Goldberg). Good habits take intentionality, bad habits seem to come natural to us. My bad habits are (or have been) as follows (but not limited to):
Um, let’s skip this list. We’ll just focus on the positive.
In my quest to be the best Angela I can (to use my life well and be a blessing to others), I have had to intentionally create habits which will help me reach my goals. I had to give myself some written directions for the month, because planning ahead is a habit I sorely need to develop. By doing this, I had clear goals for each day of January, and this helped me stick to creating other beneficial habits. I worked out 23 out of 24 scheduled days this month ( big goal being work out five times a week). I did 200 jumping jacks yesterday. 200!!! One for each pound I need to lose. I am also making a habit of saving money and not spending it! By creating and sticking to a budget, my goal of becoming debt free doesn’t seem quite so out of reach anymore. I am consistently seeking knowledge and wisdom from people I admire. I have read or listened to no less than 7 books or audio books in the past month trying to gain insight from the greats in finance, Christian living, thriftiness, motivation, and human relations. I have made it a habit to pray each morning with the expectation and confirmation that God hears my prayers.
The positive results I get from staying on track are huge. Spiritually, I’m in a better place than I have been for years. I’m seeing God answer prayer, and desiring to live in the safety and blessings of his guidelines. Financially, I have been very disciplined but definitely not perfect. I cut out my gym membership because I don’t really go and was averaging about $10.00 per visit. I have also been trusting God to provide by being obedient to tithe at church. I sadly did NOT order a margarita at Nacho Mama’s and Ash Cap and I split a burrito. I sold an old textbook on Amazon. I made my own laundry soap, people.
These small sacrifices are eventually going to add up to financial freedom. Physically, I have lost a solid 6 pounds, which is not exactly something to shout from the rooftops, but I also have been doing lot of squats and lunges so I should be gaining some muscle. Somewhere.
Next month is going to be a tough one because it’s kinda hard to stay on budget when you’re GOING TO AFRICA. Uganda, specifically. It is actually always been a goal/dream of mine to see Africa and I absolutely cannot wait to be there! I even get to go with three amazing women who I love spending time with. Look out, Kampala! I will have to give myself some Vacation Grace (kind of like traveling mercies) and get right back on track when we return. Hakuna Matata, right? We will be going on a three day, two-night safari in Jinja (autocorrect, Ninja. Lol), Uganda and hanging with awesome kids at the Uganda School for the Deaf (or Dead. If you’re Ash Cap), and the Watoto (means Children) orphanage. If you live in the Richmond area and would like to donate any clothes or school supplies for the kids, or would like to send a monetary donation just let me know! It will go straight to the kids!
As a girl who knows how easy it is to binge watch “Sister Wives”, Facebook, and play Tetris for hours on end, I need to be on guard against the bad habits that will undoubtedly try to creep back in once I get knocked off my routine for a couple weeks. If I am not mindful, and continually reminding myself WHY I need to keep up all the good habits, before long all the muscles I am building will return to useless flab. This goes for physical, spiritual, financial, emotional; all of it. Doggone sin nature. I will need to have a plan in place so that I have a clear road map of where I want to go and how I’m going to get there.
This month has been great, and I am excited to keep going strong, day by day, towards my dreams. How’s your January going? Are you excited and motivated to make 2015 amazing?