Why We Fall Out of Good Habits (and How to Start Practicing Them Again)

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Practicing good habits is the key to personal and spiritual growth. What we do day after day reflects our values and shapes our character. It’s no overstatement to say habits define us. Good habits make us godlier, healthier people.

They say it takes 21 days to form a new habit. That might be true. With some minor adjustments and a little discipline, you can start almost any habit. But that’s the easy part. The hard part is practicing that habit day after day over the long haul!

Things happen almost daily that interrupt our routine. A child not sleeping through the night will throw off your entire morning! Usually we can rebound and get back into our habits the next day.

But sometimes life interrupts our routine in a major way. The last two years were a period of massive change for me. That turbulence made me fall out of my good habits, some of which I’d practiced over 10 years!

Major events will happen in your life too. Whether it’s getting married, moving, changing jobs, having a baby, getting divorced, or a death in the family, your life will undergo significant changes that throw off your routine.

But don’t worry! The change won’t last forever. My life eventually settled down, and yours will too. Now I’m in a period of rebuilding. I’m starting to practice good habits again, and so can you. Here’s how:

  1. Be patient. It’s easy to get frustrated when life feels out of sync. Give yourself some grace. The situation is only temporary. Eventually the dust will settle and you can rebuild good habits.
  2. Find your new normal. Look for times in your new routine to practice good habits. And don’t expect them to be the same as before! You might need to switch from mornings to evenings (or vice versa), repurpose your commute, or even use your lunch break. 
  3. Take baby steps. Don’t expect yourself to pick up where you left off. Treat your habits like they’re brand new. Start small by setting easy, achievable goals (5 minutes a day, once a week, etc.).
  4. Remember why. Remember why you used to practice this habit. Realize what’s been missing since you stopped. Rediscover your motivation. Then keep your eyes on the prize and rebuild!

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