20 New Habits for the New Year

January 1 is my favorite day of the year. Endless possibilities. A clean slate. Twelve months to reach those goals. I always enthusiastically make a list of resolutions, drive my family crazy trying to implement a new routine, and then after about two weeks…bleh. Mission abandoned. Something goes awry, and I can’t get back on track.

Today is January 25. Guess what? All those promises I made to myself, the new habits and routine I fleshed out?

It’s still on, baby.

I know part of the reason for this is that my kids are older now and mostly self-sufficient. I have more time for myself now than I’ve ever had in my adult life. But the other part is that I’ve finally chosen goals/habits/whatever you want to call them that are doable and are showing immediate benefits – which reinforces my motivation to do them. And let’s face it: I’m getting older, and time seems to run faster every year. I don’t want to waste a single minute.

So here are all the habits and daily tasks I’m doing right now. I hope they can provide some inspiration for you.

  1. A kiss and a cuddle with my husband. Maybe more. 🙂 Sometimes our inclination is to just drag ourselves from bed and let the other person sleep, but this is a great way to wake up.
  2. 5 minutes of prayer or gratitude. Whether you have faith or not, the key to happiness is being grateful for what you have. Thanking God or just reminding yourself how blessed you are puts you in a positive frame of mind for the day.
  3. Coffee and news with my husband. The sun’s not up. We’re in our robes. We just sit and talk about our upcoming day and the dreams we had last night. We make plans, give each other reminders, and catch up on the news. Even if we don’t see each other the rest of the day, we get this bit of time to connect.
  4. A walk. On weekdays, I walk our youngest son to school. On Saturdays, I walk with a friend. The biggest benefit is the time with my walking buddy, but I also enjoy the air and the connection with our neighborhood, and it gets the blood flowing.
  5. Eat breakfast. Most of my life, I did not eat breakfast. Even as a kid, I didn’t get hungry until about 10 AM. But I’ve been forcing myself to eat something small at 8:30, the time I get home from my walk. Oatmeal. A banana. Eggs scrambled with veggies. I like not being hungry again until lunch time, and I seem to have more energy.
  6. Take my meds (Claritin and calcium). I have terrible allergies, and I’m getting old, hence the calcium. I always feel better when I take Claritin, but for some reason, I couldn’t make myself take it on a regular basis. But I realized that even if I just had a sinus headache, was that fair to my family? If I could have avoided that headache? And the calcium has been a pain because I need to take it with food, and I never ate breakfast, so the pills got missed. Not anymore.
  7. Use my “Life Apps.” I spent a lot of time last year searching for the perfect apps that would help me with different aspects of my life, and I finally found them. I use Productive on my iPhone for tracking my habits. Teamwork Projects is absolutely brilliant, and I use it both for my businesses and my family organization and communication. More info on that in an upcoming post.
  8. Review upcoming tasks and events of the day.
  9. Exercise. 45 minutes on the stationary bike, 15 minutes on the balance board. And I just added 20 minutes with a weighted hula hoop to see if it has any effect on my waistline. 🙂 The key to keeping up with this is that it has to be every day. If you only plan to work out three days a week, it’s easy to skip a day, thinking, “I’ll do it tomorrow. Plenty of time left to do my 3x/week.” But if you have to do it every day, you can’t miss.
  10. Keep my inbox as clean as possible. Try to respond to email the same day. Over the holidays, I got to the point where I had 3000 emails unopened, just in one account. That’s crazy. I made myself wade through the mess and address everything. Now I just have to stay on top of it. 🙂
  11. Limit my social media to 30 minutes.
  12. Smile.
  13. Write. I have word counts depending on deadlines I’m trying to hit, but as long as I do a little bit every day, I’m good.
  14. Hold kids accountable for their responsibilities. Do you know how many chore charts we’ve created and abandoned? Actually, my kids are decent at staying on top of their chores, but they’ll slide if they can. No more. I simply can’t do everything myself, and they need to learn that wearing five outfits in one day results in a LOT of work. I put their chores in Teamwork, and the app reminds them of each chore via SMS. So far, it’s working.
  15. Listen and be present. This is such an overused platitude, but it’s important. I’m always thinking about the next thing I have to do, the next place I have to be, the next instruction or reminder I have to give. And that’s no way to live, ’cause I’m missing the things going on right in front of me.
  16. Plan meals, cook dinner most nights, and eat as a family. I use Paprika to manage my recipes and plan the meals, and it’s great. I can save any recipe I find on the web, and then I just drag and drop my meals onto a calendar, and Paprika creates a shopping list.
  17. Review monthly, quarterly, and yearly goals every morning. Just a quick peek. Helps you keep the goals in mind.
  18. Express appreciation and gratitude to my loved ones. Yeah, they know I love them. I tell them that 20 times a day. But being appreciative is different.
  19. Clean out my purse and my car.
  20. Do “5 for 5” 3x/day. That’s five chores for five minutes each. The house will be spotless if you actually do this. I usually choose five different songs, and I do one chore for the length of each song.

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