Friday, January 3, 2020

Goals and Routines: What Works for Sheila

I'm eager to share some of the thoughts on goals that friends shared with me. I'll start with Sheila.

I don’t have any original thoughts on the subject, but it’s something I’ve often considered. (Obese people always know more about diets than skinny people.) We face this routine change biannually when school lets out and again when it starts. I can imagine how things would go around here if we didn’t have a school schedule to keep us on track for at least nine months of every year. I use a week-long grid with the sections of the day on it, and each child has a different color for their name. I’ve a schedule for summer and one for the school year, and at each season change, I adjust my template for growing abilities.

Companions printed a story recently about establishing good habits, and one thing it mentioned particularly was that you shouldn’t try to change everything at once. So focus on one thing. The good news is, when I am more disciplined in my eating habits, I am more disciplined in my Bible reading—the muscle I develop in one place benefits other places, so when I have my “one thing” under control, the next things are slightly less of a challenge.

Keep accountable to yourself or another. I write goals on a paper and mark them with whether I met them.

It works best to involve the children in our changes: Here is how we feel about how things are going, and here is what we want to change. They feel less slammed-out-of-nowhere by these Suddenly Strict Parents. Incentives are good, too—larger incentives, that take a while to achieve, work better for us than a lot of tiny incentives every day. One incentive is flexibility. Once we have a schedule established, we get a time when we can relax from the schedule. (e.g. Saturday evening supper, we can read at the table.)

Doesn’t culture make some difference? Some areas are different and what feels like chaos to you may appear very structured to another part of the country. Don’t feel as though you have to meet your particular culture’s unrealistic standards—so long as you’re teaching godliness line upon line.
- Sheila J. Petre -Pennsylvania

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