foundations

After all this habit talk, you might be thinking, "That's good for you, Jessica, but I don't even have time to sleep much less create a habit to help me do something better."

I would argue you don't have time not to do that, but let me help you make it easier on yourself: start with one foundational habit.

People who work on one positive habit often find it easier to improve in other areas . . . Self-command breeds self-command, and change fosters change.
— Better Than Before

Every year, I listen to Craig Groeschel's Small Things, Big Difference series to start my year with a word, a thought, a statement, and a discipline to develop something new in my life in the next year. It seems so simple--and it is!

This year, as I told my Impact Framily last month, my word is humility. That one word changes the way I approach people, tasks, and the way I approach life in general. I won't get into how difficult that word has been over the past six months in this post. Hopefully, I'll have some good stories to tell in December. But, for now, I'll keep allowing it to shape my day-to-day.

Although it's July, the middle of the year, you could still decide to choose one word or work on one foundational habit or choose one word to help you focus your energy over the next six months. Gretchen says the top four habits to work on have to do with sleep, movement, eating and drinking right, and uncluttering. And since foundation habits tend to reinforce each other, you might find yourself working on more than one habit accidentally.

Here's how I've worked on those four habits:

Sleep

I need 7 hours of sleep to feel totally rested and ready for the next day. I have lots of theories on sleep, and as I've tested them, I found if I get 7 hours of sleep, I wake up at the end of those 7 hours.

My bedtime alarm goes off at 10:30pm, which triggers me to start my wind down routine and gets me in bed and asleep by 11. Then, at 6am, without any prompting, I wake up feeling rested. 

Woe to my husband on the days he sets his alarm to go off before my seven-hour time limit.

I only take naps on the weekends, if I take any.

This is a priority to me; ask my friends and husband. I will leave a conversation in my living room--unless it's serious--in order to get my 7 hours because I know I can't fully function without them. How many hours do you need?

Movement

I'm committed to working out--running, cardio, strength or circuit training--4 days/week. Since I work from home, I'll often put on my workout clothes as my work clothes because I feel bad about sitting around in my yoga pants and not doing something in them. Also, sports bras are not comfortable, and I've committed to not changing until I've sweat.

I wasn't always this way, though. I had to fight for time to work out, and I still sometimes have to convince myself it's worth it. 

But it is worth it, every time.

If you have a hard time keeping a workout regimen and need/want some accountability, let me know! I love helping people put accountability in place, and I'm one of those weirdies who enjoys working out with others!

Eating & drinking right

My demise.

I love food, y'all. And I love sweet tea. And I love popcorn and chocolate. And I love making recipes that include butter.

But what I don't love is feeling lethargic. 

Every body is different, and I've found that eating around 50 grams of carbs is my sweet spot. If I can consume mostly fats and proteins and stay away from starches and breads--anything white--I have so much energy. It's taken me 27 years to find that sweet spot, though, so if you haven't found what works for you yet, start cutting out things:

I cut out sugar for the month of June two years ago, and it drastically changed the way I eat sugar.
Every January, Aaron and I only eat fruits and veggies as a part of our church's 21 day fast, which is quite the detox.
I count calories and manage my macros to see how I'm doing and keep track of how certain foods affect my emotions.

Here's what I know: when I eat too much sugar or flour, I'm an emotional basket case the next day. So, I just leave it out...most of the time.

Uncluttering

I grew up in a home of piles. Inside and outside, my grow-up space was full of piles that needed a place.I didn't think much of it until I got married.

Aaron grew up in a very tidy house. Not many piles in that place unless you count the pile of food on the island--those were just the overflow of the snack basket, though.

When we got together, he'd often remind me, "Everything has a place," and after almost five years, I agree.

I agree so much that I unclutter a different place every week. 

I'm not kidding. It's a bit of an addiction, really.

If you can commit to uncluttering one area of your life every week--it doesn't have to be physical; it can even be on your computer--you will start noticing that everything really can have a place, and soon, you will find that everything has found its place, and those piles have disappeared.


That's how I handle those foundational habits. And for me, it all started with movement. When I worked hard for a year to lose the 35 pounds I had gained in the two years I'd been married, my sleeping, eating, and uncluttering habits starting shifting.

Do you struggle with any of those foundation habits? Which one(s)?

Or, do you have a word for the year?

Leave a comment, and let's see if we can help one another!


This habit foundations wrap up the Better Than Before series, and I don't find it as a coincidence that my husband spoke on spiritual foundations yesterday. If you're interested, or if you missed it and wanna hear what he said, check it out! It's good.