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What if I told you that you could implement 16 effective habits guaranteed to make you thrive? You totally can! I know you can, because I did, and I’m going to tell you how!
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Several months ago, I was in a rut. A bad one. Like, the king of ruts.
I’ve done this pattern for years where I do something for awhile, then I get bored. It doesn’t really matter what it is. If something doesn’t change every once in awhile, I start feeling complacent. Stuck. Like I’m not going anywhere or doing anything with my life. Or at worst, like my brain is turning into mashed potatoes.
It’s come in different degrees, but I’ve noticed a definite pattern. I’ve learned from one of my favorite people, Dave Hollis, that if you aren’t growing, you’re dying. And if you’re not bettering yourself and working on growth, you’re going to be complacent. If you aren’t growing, unfulfillment will creep in. And that’s no way to live.
Or it wasn’t to me, anyway. So when it hit a few months ago, I made some changes to my habits, and it has been the best thing I have done in years.
16 Habits Guaranteed To Help Busy Moms Thrive
1. Develop morning routine habits and do them before the kids get up.
This is one of the BEST habits I have implemented in a long time. Starting my day with intentionality has made who I am, and my patience, my mindset, and my productivity (most days, anyway), do an absolute 180.
My ideal start to the day goes like this:
- Get up before the kids.
- Yoga. Yoga with Adrienne on Youtube is the best!
- Read my Bible, pray, listen to worship music, and make time with Jesus a priority. The intentionality of starting my day with spending time with Jesus makes all the difference in how I approach my day. When I don’t know what to read in my Bible, I close it between my hands and pray, “Lord, show me something,” then start thumbing through; and He always gives me exactly what I need.
- I write in my Start Today journal. This thing is honestly one of my favorite things I OWN. More on this in a minute.
- Coffeeeee. Obviously.
- Crisp morning air when it’s nice out.
- Peace & solitude. If I wake up to the pandemonium of a baby crying and kids bouncing on my bed asking me about breakfast compared to having a little bit of peace, it drastically affects how the rest of my day goes probably more than anything else.
2. Have older kiddos stay in their room a little longer (on non-school days).
I started the habit of having my girls (the big two) stay in their room until 7:00am on days they don’t go to school.
I can hear the moms of early birds everywhere cheering on this one.
If your kids naturally sleep until 9:00am, know that you are the zebra in a field of horses. Mine are up around 5:20 almost every day (and no, it doesn’t matter what time they go to sleep). It’s terrible. By nature, I’m not a morning person, but my kids decided that I am now.
They go to the bathroom, have their water cups, and play quietly (at least it’s supposed to be quiet) until I come and get them.
I try to encourage them to do puzzles, coloring, or dress up, but who am I kidding; it usually ends up being smack down on their beds or climbing on the ceilings for fun. Thank God for video monitors!
3. If you drink energy drinks or pop, ditch ’em.
I broke a 13 year energy drink addiction. I also drank pop at the same time. There was a time where I could literally drink a 2 liter of Mountain Dew in 2 days.
I had a can in my hand for the better part of 14 years, excluding pregnancies; and no that is not an exaggeration. These were probably the two worst habits I’ve ever had in my life, and definitely the hardest habits I’ve ever been faced with breaking.
That’s more than half of my life. This king of bad habits started when I was 11 and had a strong hold on me for year.
The drinks changed a few times, but I always had one in my hand. For. Thir. Teen. Years. That’s more than half of my life.
Weird tip if you’re going through this too:
If you drink energy drinks or pop a lot, sometimes you go through lulls where they don’t taste as good as they usually do. I had such a lull and went cold turkey. Yes, I would have still drunk them; but this time, I didn’t cave. I purposed in my heart to give myself 30 days, and by then, it was a whole lot easier to keep going. Sometimes I still say out loud that I miss Red Bull, but I’m almost 6 months strong, and I’m not caving now.
Friend, if I can do it, so can you.
4. Eliminate or reduce caffeine intake.
I cut my caffeine intake by more than half. This varies by the day if I’m being honest, but I noticed I sleep better when I drink my caffeine earlier in the day and drink less of it.
Right now I drink less than 100mg a day, and I can function without it, and I don’t crash and feel like death warmed over which is a game changer!
This is the drink that replaced pop and energy drinks and helped me ditch these terrible habits completely! They have a caffeine free version which I also love!
5. Move your body more in celebration of the fact that you have that choice.
Heyyylllo can you say M I N D S E T? I used to work out because I hated my body. Now I work out because I love it and I have the choice to move it. Plus, now I’m all stiff and hurty when I don’t do my yoga for a few days and I’m here for it.
It’s like my body is screaming at me that I HAVE TO MOVE. And I feel 8,000x better after I do. Yoga is incredible, plus the benefits are through the roof!
I’m just talking habits like walking and yoga, not even anything extreme. Six thousand or more steps a day and a 20 minute yoga video on YouTube will revolutionize how your body feels.
Some of the benefits of yoga I’ve noticed in my body are:
- Improved sleep
- Lessened anxiety
- Higher patience
- Less back/body pain
- Improved flexibility
- Improved strength
- Better breathing
Yoga with Adriene on Youtube is my favorite!
Here are my favorite yoga products:
- Extra thick yoga mat. This one is my favorite because of it’s softness and thickness!
- Yoga blocks. These have helped me as I’ve worked to built flexibility and strength.
- Yoga strap.
Another great option, if you’re just starting with yoga, is to choose a great set that has everything you need!
6. Drink enough water.
Of all the habits you could have, this one is SO important!
Dehydration manifests in a whole host of weird ways. Last year, I had a bout with shortness of breath for about 8 months. I had tests done; nothing was wrong on paper.
It stopped when I got pregnant with Lexi, and, shocker… Started drinking more water. Every so often my chest might feel a tad tight, even now, but now I recognize that’s my body’s way of telling me it needs water.
Weird, huh? My body also yells at me to drink more water with fatigue and headaches. Your body will talk to you if you take the time to listen.
I don’t think I’d be able to drink enough water without my favorite Yeti cup and stainless steel straws! Having a nice cup with a straw always makes me drink more water! I also love them for my coffees.
7. Start writing down your dreams every day.
I LOVE my Start Today Journal (not an ad). It has honestly revolutionized my mindset.
It’s why I’m writing this post in a Starbucks on a nasty, cold, cloudy day when I would rather be home, cozy on my couch with my new blanket that I got from Sam’s Club Friday that’s actually softer than a cloud; because I’ve learned that my dreams matter more than what I want in this moment.
The basic idea is to envision your life. The big, the scary; all of it. Who do you want to be in 10 years? Where do you live? How do you feel? What brings you joy? Where do you go on vacation? As BIG as you can imagine. Don’t think about it too long (you’ll talk yourself out of it!), just go with whatever comes to mind.
Then you write 10 dreams you have AS IF they have ALREADY happened.
I’ve had goals for a long time, but the weight of it landed on me (like one of those revelations that’s so obvious you don’t really think about it) that they aren’t going to just fall in my lap. So I’ve been actively working on becoming who I want to be 10 years from today; firstly, by simply writing it down. Over and over and over and over.
I have them memorized now. I noticed that initially the dreams I’m writing down every day intimidated the water out of me. Almost in a, “Who the heck do I think I am?” Kind of way. But now, after a few months… They don’t feel so audacious. In fact, they feel doable. They feel like I’m capable of accomplishing them.
8. Get serious about your health.
I lost 120 pounds a few years ago after I had Ella. I’ve since had Lexi Lou in March, and I’m about 15 pounds from my goal weight again, but I had been dragging my feet, so I buckled down. This is not just weight centered, though; this includes moving my body, feeding it things it can convert into FUEL, and drinking my water.
Here me when I say this: This is not solely about what you weigh. It’s about the strength of your body and your ability to keep up with your kids.
It’s about your self confidence!
You need to have the ability to chase your dreams, love your family well, and fulfill what you want to fulfill because you have the strength, the fuel, and the energy within your body to do so. Your strength, energy, and ability stem from your body. When it suffers, everything else will, too.
9. Lessen your external stimulation.
This has had way deeper of an effect than I expected it to, honestly. We used to have the TV on constantly just as background noise, but we don’t do that anymore. I also made an effort to not stare at my phone for big chunks of time when anybody is around me.
I’ve become so aware of how we use our time, and scrolling through social media or binge watching TV just came to feel so wasteful of the only resource we have that we can’t create more of. When it comes to time, we have what we have, and whatever we do with it is either wasted or invested.
But as much as it affected me and Joey, we noticed a big difference in the impact breaking the external stimulation habits have had on our kids. Their imaginations are HUGE because they don’t sit and stare at screens. They come up with stuff to play I never would have thought of.
And it’s so nice that now, if I really need them to sit and be quiet for awhile, I can put on a movie and they’ll actually watch it because they don’t get to watch much TV!
10. Be more intentionally present with your kids.
Not just beside them, but really WITH them. Active listening, looking in their eyes, asking them questions about what they’re doing or what’s on their mind, and leaving your phone in the other room (I’m talking to myself here, too).
This is one of the best habits I can recommend to any mom, because it will make your kids feel loved, heard, respected, and like they can approach you. When they feel seen by you, really seen, I have found that mine are more willing to obey quickly, less argumentative, and more engaged with each other.
Start with this list of activities to do with kids at home, designed to engage kids, promote learning, and encourage family bonding!
11. Read more.
Even if it’s a few minutes a day, I try to read something every day. And I feel like I learn more and spend my time better when I do.
If you need some new ideas to add to your reading list, start here!
12. Eat less sugar.
Sugar is weird. The more you have it, the more you want it; and the less you have it, the less you want it! But I feel better when I have less of it. I don’t feel as sluggish and crappy and my body doesn’t hurt as much.
13. Make an effort to look presentable most of the time.
I started doing my hair and make up and wearing pants that button more.
I started making a real effort to lose the notorious “mom bun”. Of course it still happens and I still use dry shampoo like I’m getting paid to, but I try to actually fix my hair and put on eyeliner and eye shadow most days, because I noticed that when I feel like I look better, I feel better.
Same for jeans. I don’t know why, because I love the comfort of my yoga jeans as much as the next girl. But I feel more productive and like I look better in jeans.
14. Practice intentional thankfulness.
Real thankfulness. Actively. Like, looking for it in everyday life.
Small things like Lexi’s gummy smile with her chunky little delicious cheeks, Ella waking up this morning and saying, “It’s a prettyful day!”, Joey putting up the dishes, hearing my girls laughing in the other room, or Sophia telling me I’m her favorite person in the world.
If you’re always looking for red cars, you’ll always see red cars.
Mindset is everything. Mindsets are habits, too.
15. Give the opinions of others less weight in your life.
This is absolutely hard, but it’s necessary, because nobody else is living your life but you, and I’ll just leave this at that.
16. Challenge yourself daily.
This is one of those habits that take effort, but I have found when I challenge myself, I grow.
Most of the things on this list will at least start as a challenge. But if you aren’t challenging yourself and bettering yourself, you’re going to become complacent, and slowly that will turn to unfulfillment.
There is an amazing high and sense of pride that comes with achievement. It builds your strength and stamina. It makes you less willing to relent next time. And there’s something about knowing that if you can do ____________, you can do this.
Easy Ways To Make Self Care One of Your Daily Habits
I would be lying if I said I haven’t grappled with this concept a little bit, because it’s so easy for self care to feel selfish. Which honestly, it’s a fine line. BUT, I think God wants us to see ourselves how He sees us: loved, valued, important, wanted, and cherished! On that token, I don’t think it’s important to care for ourselves at all; I think it’s necessary.
I’m still learning, so much as a mom, but practicing self care is important to me because I have to remind myself that I matter, too. As much as I love a good pedicure, this list is much more frugal than that, because self care isn’t about spending money; it’s about simply remembering yourself.
Making habits that give you the time to recharge, will help you can be the best version of yourself you can be!
Take a hot shower or bath.
Bath salts, a candle, or some essential oils can go a long way.
Light a candle.
Fall candles are my favorite! Yankee Candles will always be my favorite.
Put on some new fuzzy socks.
Bath and Body Works’ are the best!
Make a cup of tea or hot chocolate.
Have you had the Ghirardelli hot chocolate?? Oh my worddddd. This helps with munchies, too.
Pray without stopping. <3 My favorite places to pray are actually in the car and in the shower.
Declutter your mind by writing things down.
Even if it’s just in a note in your phone.
Make time to do a hobby you enjoy.
Don’t have a hobby yet? You need to check this out!
Color or draw.
I can’t draw to save my life. I can’t even draw a half way decent circle. But I can fill in the lines, and it can be kind of fun.
Learn to say “no”.
Resisting the urge to overstretch yourself is huge.
The air is always better outside and something about the sunshine always makes me feel better.
Slow down & give yourself permission to simply “be”.
Just sitting in stillness for a few minutes can be huge.
Change your sheets often.
What is it about fresh sheets that’s so glorious?
Put the kids to bed earlier.
Kiddos need their rest!
Put you to bed earlier.
So do you, Mama.
Get up earlier.
It’s SO much easier to get up early when you went to bed earlier!
Take a walk.
Do some breathing exercises.
I know it sounds cheesy, but it really does help.
Do some yoga.
Every. Day. Bonus: this has rippled out into Joey and the kids doing it, too. Double win!
Get rid of a clutter.
If your space is cluttered, your mind is cluttered.
I don’t know what it is about painting that’s therapeutic to me.
Some of my favorite
Have goals, have dreams, and practice thankfulness for the little things.
Banish guilt for small things.
If it won’t matter in a year, let it go. If you’re struggling with mom guilt, you need to read this.
Pick your battles.
It really does save your sanity to choose what matters to fight over. Again, if it won’t matter in a year, let it go, Elsa!
Whether they know it or not; whether they deserve it or not. We forgive not because they deserve it, but because it’ll destroy us if we don’t.
Do a random act of kindness.
Brighten your day by brightening someone else’s first.
As a relax. Get in the habit. Smiling tricks your brain into releasing endorphins that make you happy. It helps!
Soak in nature.
Feel the sunshine on your face. Listen to the way the rain falling sounds. Breathe in deep before it rains. Watch the wind rustle through the trees. Hear the birds. If you take the time to appreciate God’s creation, it’s amazingly rejuvenating.
Read a good book.
In a cozy place.
Don’t jam pack your schedule every week.
Allow “scheduled time” to play with your kids, or watch a movie, play a game, catch up on stuff around the house. You don’t have to always be on the move, Mama; sometimes it serves you to simply be.
With your kids or your husband. Cuddling releases lovey hormones and makes you feel good. Soak it in.
Give a good hug.
Same as the cuddling! Lean into it. Absorb the moment.
Pet a dog.
Really love on them.
Put on some good worship music and spend some time with Jesus.
In your bedroom, in your car, in your kitchen; it doesn’t matter. Just be with Him for awhile.
Go get a coffee… By yourself.
I saved the best for last! This one is my absolute favorite… I would literally do it daily, if I could. Nothing beats quiet time in a coffee shop where the air is all caffeinated and glorious.
I usually bring my laptop and work when I can break away, but every so often, I like to just go with a book. A good book and a pumpkin cream cold brew or makes for a very happy mama… Bonus points for dark chocolate covered espresso beans.
How do you practice self care? What habits have helped you? Tell me about how you live your best life in the comments! Remember to share and pin for later!