What’s the first thing you do when you get up in the morning? Do you eat the same breakfast each day? What do your children’s morning routines look like? Do you always eat the same lunch? How often do you check email throughout the day? Do you exercise each day? What do you spend money on daily? What about the end of the day—what are the steps to bedtime at your house? How do you spend your evening hours after the kids go to bed?
All of these small, seemingly insignificant actions we perform almost automatically make up a surprising percentage of our time and have an enormous long-term impact on our lives and that of our family.
Charles Duhigg wrote the book on habits with “The Power of Habit, Why We Do What We Do in Life and in Business.” In it he outlines the research and stories illustrating how both individuals and organizations establish and can potentially alter habits.
Duhigg’s book points to a Duke University study which found that “more than 40 percent of the actions people performed each day weren’t actual decisions, but habits.”
While this book has become a popular read for business leaders and those interested in the self-help genre, it may also prove beneficial to parents.
In aiming for a positive family life, the habits of the family become an important component. Many of the case-studies of organizations outlined in “The Power of Habit” can provide inspiration to parents managing a family.
Further, in teaching our children, allowing them to understand the importance of developing healthy habits, whether we’re talking about hygiene, nutrition, work ethic, screen time, or a million other aspects of life, we are providing them with valuable tools for life.
Of course, as individuals, there is hardly a parent around who couldn’t use some improvement in their own habits as well, whether we need to break bad habits like snacking at night or procrastinating or establish better habits like exercising more or even spending more time with our kids.
A profound read, “The Power of Habit” makes a strong case for giving greater attention to the seemingly mindless minutiae we engage in as individuals and as families. These elements of life that operate on autopilot can, in fact, have a powerful influence on our lives. If we learn to manage them with intention, we can become more effective in accomplishing our goals and providing an enjoyable life for our families.