How to Make Your Desires Reality

By October 17, 2012Be Productive, General

I am so easily distracted! I know the things I want to do…

  • pray more diligently
  • play more with the kids
  • be more spontaneous and available for Chris
  • keep the house cleaner
  • exercise more regularly
  • …so much more

Yet, I waste time,and forget what it is I really want to do! Lord, help me stay on track!

I long for my moments to glorify you.

Above is a prayer journal entry of mine from a few weeks back. I’m sure you have your own “wish-I-could-be-better-at” list. I can easily become discouraged by all I am not doing well-enough, instead of focusing on where I am succeeding. Don’t you?

I so want this list to be realized in my life! I long for my family to always feel loved and cared for by me. I would love to be a size 6. I want to keep up with laundry, and have clean floors.

But these things are not consistently true in my life . . . so I need to ask myself, “Why?”.

My lack of results is not for lack of desire. The disparity between my desires and my reality is a lack of good habits and time to establish them.

Habits play a powerful role in our lives, as the formation of habits allow us to hit “auto pilot” when performing a task. But, there are a few practical things that will help us in our journey to realizing our goals.

Create Reminders

So we know it takes about a month of consistency to develop a new habit, right? Oftentimes, I set out to achieve a new goal and totally forget about it in a few days.

Ugh.

My current habits (good or bad) are my defaults—what I will do without thought or effort otherwise. I need to remember that each time I set out to improve an area of my life I will be fighting against the habits that are already created. Like the habit of getting on the computer after dinner, instead of vacuuming the floors, or the habit of checking my phone while the kids play, instead of choosing to engage with them.

If I am in a habit of staying up until midnight, I will automatically stay up that late without reminders. When I first started out getting up early before my family, I set an alarm on my phone to go off at 9:30 that said “Go To Bed!” This was my reminder to start heading toward my bedtime routine. This was extremely helpful for me when I was first setting the habit of getting up early.

Establish Partnerships

I have been (slowly) reading Laying Down Rails***, which is a treasure of helpful tips for how to establish habits in the life of your child. One of the key ideas that sticks out to me is the idea of partnering with your child, in order to remind them of the goal—the habit they are currently working on.

My role as a parent is to remind them of their goal, not nag them into a habit. We are helping establish the tracks for them to run on for the rest of their life. Over time, the habits we are trying to instill in them (brushing their teeth, having good manners, etc.) become something they just do—it is no longer something they have to think about.

There is much to be applied here for my own personal goals. Finding a person and/or community to partner with, as a source of encouragement and accountability toward the “rails” I am laying in my life, has been fruitful in my life. (The HelloMornings Challenge is a great example of this!)

So, what about you? What habits are you trying to establish in your life? Are you struggling with discouragement over your ever-growing “need-to-change-about-me” list? What reminders and partnerships have been helpful for you in your pursuits?

Let’s chat about it in the comments!

***I have really enjoyed reading Laying Down Rails. It is a great reference for the Christian parent, filled with practical tips, living examples, and Biblical wisdom to help you be intentional to build habits in the lives of your children. Though the book is written specifically to equip homeschooling mothers to train their children, there is much to be gained for your own personal habit development!

(I was given a review copy of Laying Down Rails. All opinions stated are my own.)

About Katie
Jesus-lover. Pastor’s wife. Mommy of three. Grace-clinger. Truth-speaker. Auburn fan. Longs to equip others to walk with the Lord for a lifetime. Co-author of Savoring Living Water: How to have an effective quiet time and author of Focused15 Bible studies. Creator of Do Not Depart where you can receive encouragement and tools to abide in God’s Word.

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6 Comments

  • Avatar Debbie. says:

    This was just what I needed to read this morning! It is SO important to teach the motivation part of the goal – healthy teeth, good habits, etc., but to enforce it with reminders instead of nagging: OUCH! Thank you for sharing this – I needed it!

  • Avatar Meg says:

    Thank you.

  • Avatar Joyce says:

    This is great!! I think some of it is also remember the why behind we are doing something. It helps me to keep going.

  • Avatar niki riat says:

    Loved this article The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg os a GREAT read along these same lines. I highly reccomend.

  • Avatar Shawna says:

    Ooohhh! I am so relating to this post….. There are so many changes I want to make in my life, but I can’t seem to make them happen….. I’ve tried to do one at a time and several together, but no avail…. Like getting up early to spend time with the Lord and to exercise a little….(In fact, everything you mentioned above is on my list) My main problem is I’m just so tired ALL THE TIME. It’s like a vicious cycle really… I know if I do certain things I will have more energy, but I can’t get the energy to do them…. sigh. I often say to myself “What’s wrong with you?! Get it together!” I feel little better knowing that I’m not the only person going through this…. Creating a partnership sounds like such a great idea, but I’m not sure who I can get to partner with…. I am a single mother of 3 and I know that my son (the oldest) won’t want to be the one who makes sure that I get up early…lol I tried to do the phone thing as well for my alarm (I even made the alarm a recording of my voice telling myself to get up) but I just turn it off and roll over…. It’s very discouraging and upsetting… especially with myself….