Sunday, April 24, 2016

Developing Good Habits, Accomplishing Goals

Goal Setting

Many of us set goals at the beginning of the year and often times by the end of January, we've failed. Perhaps the goal was unrealistic, or perhaps we did not take the necessary steps to achieving that goal. For example, I've made a goal to always have a clean house. Have I met that goal? Of course not! Why? Because I did not properly develop the habits I needed to clean my house regularly.

Developing Good Habits

The key to accomplishing goals is to build good habits that will assist me in doing just that. If I want to have a clean house, I should develop the habits of making my bed each morning, tidying the kitchen at the end of each day, making sure all of my dirty clothes are placed in the dirty laundry bin, ensuring that every toy and book has a spot to be returned to, and so on.

In the October 1974 General Conference, Elder Delbert L. Stapley's gave a talk titled "Good Habits Develop Good Character". In it, he states,

"Good habits are not acquired simply by making good resolves, though the thought must precede the action. Good habits are developed in the workshop of our daily lives. It is not in the great moments of test and trial that character is built. That is only when it is displayed. The habits that direct our lives and form our character are fashioned in the often uneventful, commonplace routine of life. They are acquired by practice."

The habits that we develop should be life-long changes we make to our daily routine. It would be a very large and difficult undertaking to assume that these habits may be developed all at once. Instead, we should take a select few and work on them for a week or a month before we attempt to develop another good habit.

Two years ago, I was sitting in a women's meeting at church and one woman stated that she makes simple goals each year, like remembering to make her bed or to sweep her kitchen floor. She said that she had always hated these tasks and very seldom ever did them, but one year she made the goal to make her bed every morning, and it has worked for her. Guilty of this same offense, I went home from the meeting and resolved to include this as a goal for myself as well. Now I make my bed about 95% of the time, though I admit that it is often not made until the early afternoon.

A habit that we developed as a family was to kneel down in prayer each night in our living room before sending the children off to bed. It ended our day on a good note and the children expect this as part of their nightly routines. I cannot tell you how good it feels to announce that it is time for family prayers only to have the children run to gather in the middle of our living room, on their knees, and arms folded. This includes my one-year-old. It is a simple habit that we developed that has made a huge difference for our family. (This is not a substitute for personal bedtime prayers; the children still say their own prayers on their beds.)

"Maintaining good personal habits which are pleasing to our Heavenly Father will strengthen our character, increase our influence for good, improve our example, bless our loved ones and friends, enrich our lives, and enable us to accomplish those things that yield true personal satisfaction and build peace and happiness in our hearts." - Elder Stapley

Now the question is, what habits should I develop to reach my goal?


This is where I announce to the blog world what my intentions are. I have chosen to start very simple. Before moving on to develop a new habit, I feel that my current habits need some fine-tuning. This week I am focusing on three habits. I have more goals than having a tidy home. I have a desire to be physically healthy, to keep my mind active through reading and constant learning, to stay organized, and last but not least, to improve my relationship with my Heavenly Father through prayer and scripture study. Doing these things, I hope to become a better example for my children and to feel the sense of accomplishment and peace that comes from doing what I should.

Habits for Week One

1. Make my bed each morning
2. Clean the kitchen before going to bed
3. Drink 100 ounces of water daily

Again, these habits are fairly simple for me. I already make my bed most of the time, but I do want it to be something that is done first thing in the morning. I drink a lot of water, but there are days that I'll forget until later at night when I realize how thirsty I am. The most difficult habit for this week is to clean my kitchen each night before bed. At the end of the day I am tired. I am guilty of leaving dirty dishes on my counter over night only to have them staring at me first thing in the morning. That is no way to begin a cheerful and productive day. 

I hope that we can all find something to improve of ourselves and to develop good habits (while hopefully breaking bad ones) so that we may achieve all that we hope for.

“Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.”
― Mahatma Gandhi


  1. I absolutely love making my bed first thing in the morning. For me, it's the best way to motivate myself to be productive because you start your day off being productive. Also, I am right there with you on the kitchen thing. If I don't get it cleaned up while making and serving dinner, it generally doesn't happen till morning. Good luck with your goals!

    1. Thank you! I am more happier and motivated on the mornings when I do make my bed. Next step is to get the kids to habitually make theirs!

  2. I also have to remind myself throughout the day to drink water! My goal is not 100 oz, but 80 oz a day. At the beginning of the year, I resolved to wake up before the kids and read my Bible each morning. If I don't do it, I don't have any quiet time during the day! I have not missed a day this year. In fact, I look forward to my time with God each morning!

    1. It's amazing how something as simple as drinking water can be so difficult for many of us. I am in desperate need of "me" time and have plans to work that in to one of my goals in the future. I just wish I were more of a morning person.


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