This is not your mama’s way to create good habits, unless your mama was into having fun. If you’re like me, the idea of routines and habits is BORING! Cleaning? Ugh! Laundry? Double Ugh! I once read a horoscope that said my sign would rather lead a crusade than do housework, and I totally agreed. I thought housework was mundane and boring, so I avoided it as much as possible. The problem with that is my house was a wreck, and I ran around screaming at everyone whenever we invited company over.
Good Habits Became Necessary
When my youngest child was born with a life-threatening medical condition, having a clean and organized home became a necessity. He required daily medication, multiple times per day. He had a compromised immune system so keeping germs at bay was important. For a woman who was lucky to vacuum once per week and mop maybe once per month, that was scary. The trouble was, I didn’t have any good house cleaning habits.
How was I going to learn these elusive good habits?
My mom couldn’t teach me because was one of those people who was born knowing how to keep a house. I was not. She almost seemed to enjoy the cleaning process. I could hardly wait for it to be over, but when my son was born, I had to learn, and her way was not going to work for me. The thing is, my mom loves routine. She goes to the gym at the same time every day. She does her laundry on the same day of the week, every week. She has a specific grocery day, and all of that brings her comfort. I thrive on variety, and while I appreciate how her routines help her, I knew without variety, I would fail.
Enter my good habits mentors
As I struggled to find my way domestically, I found some mentors. FlyLady, aka Marla Cilley and her mentor Pam Young of the Sidetracked Home Executives came to my rescue. For the first time, I found women who understood my and how I felt about cleaning and housework in general, and they taught me to look at life differently. They taught me to appreciate my home, even the messy parts. They taught me that while some people love to detail clean, I could have a clean home without spending hours every day. Gone were the angry four-hour weekend cleaning sessions. You know, the one where you’re aggravated the minute someone messes up the house. Gone were the Saturdays spent muttering about how no one does anything around the house, and I’m not a maid and many other unpleasantries. Instead, I found a new way to keep my home clean in less time than I ever thought possible so I could have more fun in my life and boy did that feel good.
Can these good habits really be fun?
I think they can. One of my favorite habits is using my timer. You can read more about that in The Magic of Fifteen Minutes. My boys and I used this method every summer to have a clean home and a great time every summer and school break. Starting there, we finally learned that we spent more time avoiding some tasks than it took to do the task itself. I wrote about that in The Power of Your Routines. It was one of the most delightful revelations of my life. Thanks to my good habit mentors, I learned that creating good habits can be fun, valuable and take less time than you think to have a home you desire.
So how do I get started?
Here’s where things get interesting, and it may take a while to develop these habits. The first thing I suggest is Finding the Sweet Spot in your Home. Start there. Pick a time every day to work on keeping that spot beautiful. Below is mine, and I work on it daily, but just a few minutes per day keeps it mostly clear and helps the rest of the house stay that way too.
Did you notice that it isn’t perfectly clear? I hope so, because that’s what developing good habits is all about. I doesn’t have to be perfect. There’s almost always a bowl or basket of fruit on my table. The light is something I use in the winter months to keep my mood sunny. In that stack is one of the books I’m reading a some papers my husband and I will address this week. It looks good, and it’s clear enough to eat dinner each evening, and maybe make tapioca like my husband is right now as I finish writing.
Making it your own
The best part of creating good habits is embracing what works for you. I don’t clean, declutter or run my household like anyone else I know, but my way works for me and that’s thrilling. I’m still discovering in my 50’s that being your weird, wild, wonderful self is truly what makes you successful in life. Having good habits makes that easier, even if they’re weird too. If you want a more step by step approach to getting your life in order, grab your free copy of 6 Weird Ways to a Wonderful 2019. Not only will you get some fun and fabulous ideas, but you’ll also be signed up for our email community, and you’ll know when our Lenten Life Upgrade program begins. Then you will get a much more comprehensive way to upgrade every part of your life.
One of the things I love about life is that you get to choose how to live it. I choose to be kind as much as I can. I choose to love people, and I choose to have fun. Most of all, I embrace the days and focus on living my best life and letting the rest go. it that sounds like something you would like to do. Join in and let’s make 2019 our best year so far.