Help for Making Habits Stick

 Posted by on August 9, 2011  No Responses »
Aug 092011

Photo taken of Mary Engelbreit’s Silly Mother Goose board book.

One of our readers recently asked: How do you make habits stick? Or you might be thinking…

Are you kidding me? How can I accomplish that with all that is going on in my home?

Yes, we are a website devoted to Habits for a Happy Home. For me, over the years with babies, toddlers, stacks of school books, hungry mouths and now towering teens, these are the basic routes I’ve discovered for seeing results in building habits. The habits for building habits, if you will:

1. Pray – it is amazing how often I try to do things in my own power. Please friends, remember to turn to the source of strength. Ask. Bring it all  – everything – to Him.

2. Just Pick One Habit to Build – Chief habit builder, Flylady, works on one habit a month. Just adding one habit per month beats the overwhelm and makes it doable. Baby steps, as she says. Check out Flylady’s August habit, It hits home – Laundry!

3. Think practically. Be easy on yourself. Pick a habit that works into your day. Something you already do:

  • Prayer? Here’s how I learned to make it a habit, all day long, with a passel of children: Practical Prayer
  • Food? For me I decided to double up while I was making a mess anyway. I built a habit, most days, of: Making Supper at Lunch.
  • Homeschooling? Has the morning resulted in a disheveled room OR just how in the world can we accomplish it all? We can feel accomplished and do: One More Thing After Lunch.

4. Make it fun. Two of our longest running family habits were built around the supper table. We all have to eat, right? Celebrate Every Day and Mad, Sad, Glad.

Well, a coffee drink always helps motivate me too. How about you?

Jul 052011

Here I am, smack dab in the middle of an annual habit of purging. Since I find myself in the overwhelm of this task, I thought there might be some of you doing the same – and feeling the overwhelm too? The habits I’m sharing today from the archives not only help with clutter busting, they are the basic housekeeping ones for our Hodgepodge. The ones that rescue me when I’m surrounded. The ones that even bless children. (A five-minute room rescue sounds better to a child than ‘go pick up your room’).

These are the habits – with rewards – we turn to daily. Yes, we’ve tried other housekeeping, picking up and cleaning up strategies. But these are the ones that stick for us. What is expected by everyone. So here are links to what has worked for years:

1. Flylady- Tools Not Rules:
Are YOU living in CHAOS? (Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome) Do you feel overwhelmed, overextended, and overdrawn? Hopeless and you don’t know where to start? Don’t worry friend, we’ve been there, too. ~ Flylady

You knew it was coming. How could a blog be devoted to happy habits without a post on Flylady? Her tools are a chief resource on habit formation. Read more….

2. Jurisdictions:

“Time to pick up jurisdictions,” I call.

There is honestly no way I could possibly follow behind five children and keep our home straight. And homeschool. Since we are all part of a family, all should contribute. Carving the big job into smaller parts makes it easier for everyone. Read more… Continue reading »

Flylady – tools not rules

 Posted by on February 16, 2010  5 Responses »
Feb 162010

Are YOU living in CHAOS? (Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome) Do you feel overwhelmed, overextended, and overdrawn? Hopeless and you don’t know where to start? Don’t worry friend, we’ve been there, too. ~ Flylady

You knew it was coming. How could a blog be devoted to happy habits without a post on Flylady? Her tools are a chief resource on habit formation. Flylady has been known to provoke strong feelings at moms meetings I’ve attended. Some love her and hang on her every monthly habit. Some lament that her ways are just too much.

I say she’s a trusted mentor.

However you feel about her methods, I’m sharing what works best for us. For my Hodgepodge. And as with every habit, take it at your speed. Pick what will bless your life.

Take babysteps, as Flylady would say.

A bit of history. My friend, Shelley, introduced me to Flylady back in 1999. I had two children under the age of two. I couldn’t get anything done. “Honey, can you swing by the drive thru?” were my thoughts on supper several times a week. General mayhem reigned. Flylady became my inbox coach. “What’s for dinner?” her email would ask mid-morning. Even if I didn’t check my email until later in the day, that reminder waiting in my inbox still gave me time to figure it out.

Once the Flylady basics became habit, I unsubscribed to her emails. I’d just check her website. These days I follow Flylady on Twitter. If I happen to be scrolling updates, she may tweet “drink your water” or do a “hot spot fire drill.” Just the motivation I need.

You Can Do Anything For 15 Minutes

What makes Flylady’s habits a success in my life? Most can be accomplished in fifteen minutes or less. Those fifteen minutes can make the difference in how the house looks when your sweetie comes home. It can also do wonders for mom’s attitude.

So, once again, I find myself having a little pep talk. Not in the kitchen this time but in the family room or the classroom. “A little five minute rescue and this place will be spiffed up. Then I won’t want to put my head down and cry.”

Habits and Routines

Listed below are the Flylady habits that are part of our every day. Each bolded item is a link to Flylady’s explanation. Each are especially helpful when we’ve been doing school all morning and the resulting wreckage is “aw, MAN”.

Click here for Flylady’s explanation of each of the below terms. Her website is jam-packed and is info overload. I encourage you to start first with her babysteps.

  • Before Bed and Morning Routines – I find these essential for planning to be spontaneous.
  • Home Blessing Hour – Once a week. No detailed cleaning required; vacuum the middle of the floors only! FlyLady sets her timer for 10 minutes to work on each of 7 tasks. This is one of the ways our children earn Service Opportunities.

  • Five Minute Room Rescue – set the timer and pick up. We use this tool to do jurisdictions several times a day.
  • 27 Fling Boogie – A decluttering tool for your home. Do this assignment as fast as you can. Take a garbage bag and walk through your home and throw away 27 items. (We use this to pick up 27 tiny pieces of paper from the floor after school or to do an easy pick up of a child’s bedroom – good counting practice for little ones)
  • You Can Do Anything for 15 Minutes – this one is for me. When I walk into the kitchen and all the breakfast dishes are in the sink, the dishwasher still needs unloading and I know the laundry is backed up… I either grab some coffee and chocolate OR set the timer for 15 minutes. It’s amazing what you can do for 15 minutes – then stop. Usually I can do a whole lot more when the timer is running than any whining would accomplish. School work – The 15 minute timer is motivating for a frustrated student. We can set the timer and usually get that subject tackled.
  • Zone work – “FlyLady has divided the home up into 5 different zones. Her zones will hit on all the major living areas of your home. Each week, we work in a different zone. Each month, we repeat all the zones.”

When I get overwhelmed with housework, I fall back on Flylady. Her basic tools have helped me get going in the morning, tackle laundry, take care of myself and teach the children to help pick up. And teaching children to do these type of household tasks is an important life skill.

Fun extra Flylady resources:

Additional resources:

And remember “Philippians 4:13 for Pete’s sake!” – from Jan Karon’s Mitford series

Use what you need and make it your own! You’ll be flying in no time. What is your favorite Flylady tool?