I often hear that it takes twenty-one days to develop a new habit… Sometimes, however, when learning that new skill, we forget to pair it with developing the discipline needed to continue to take action. Consistency helps to develop our self-discipline ‘muscle.’
Although people have a variety of work styles, there are chores and activities that need to be accomplished every single day, not just once in a while. Your dentist probably wouldn’t be happy if you ‘saved up’ and did all of your brushing and flossing just before one of your office visits!
Activities that may not be daily can still follow consistent patterns. Take a look at the patterns and rhythms of life in your family. What routines do you have for things like homework, spiritual practice, independent reading, or family meals? What structure or habits do you for saving money, grocery shopping or vacation planning?
Children can learn about consistency in a variety of ways, ranging from “we always take our shoes off when we come into the house,” to “When Grandma sends a gift you write a ‘thank you’ note before you get to use it.”
They also learn from our example. What are you teaching in this new year? Are you teaching your kids that they should ‘crash diet’ for a couple of weeks and then quit? Or, does your example show them that with consistency and self-discipline, small changes over time can yield big results?