With the recent popularity of books about habits, I wanted to share reasons and ways to create healthy habits in the home. God created marriage and family; it was part of His perfect plan.
When we strive to create a healthy home life for our family, I believe we are doing God’s will. A healthy home life just doesn’t happen by accident — we must cultivate healthy habits that can have lasting change.
God is First
For a healthy home, I believe God must be put first in our homes. He is our creator, savior and best friend. He wants us to succeed, thrive and live healthy lives for His glory and for our benefit too. How do we put Him first in our life? Pray, read our Bible, play Christian music, read Christian books and do these things together as a family. Let your kids see you putting God first.
Prov. 3:6 tells us, “In everything you do, put God first, and He will direct you and crown your efforts with success.”
Of course, as Christians, we all know the importance of putting God first. But, are we practicing it? Let’s be intentional each day of putting Him first — truly first. That’s how habits are made.
Maybe try a new habit to help you with this. I enjoy using the Bible app and doing Bible studies with friends. I also enjoy Bible journaling. Both of these habits help me keep God in the forefront of my life personally.
Create a Healthy Emotional Environment
Make a habit of being available to your family. I know that life can get busy. It’s overwhelming at times, but creating a healthy, emotional environment takes work — and this is the most important work you can do. Help your family feel safe to talk with you about anything.
Authentic communication is key. Do you feel safe talking about anything with your partner? Are you a safe person who listens without judgment and offers love? When we feel safe in our home, we can thrive.
Be quick to offer forgiveness. (This does not apply to abuse. If there is abuse in the home, please seek help immediately.) Col. 3:13 tells us, “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”
Forgiveness and reconciliation are difficult. In fact, I won’t lie, there are times I don’t want to make amends and offer or ask for forgiveness. But, with God’s help, we can create new habits of asking for and offering forgiveness readily in the home.
Manage stress in healthy ways. Practical ways to help could include prayer, meditation on His word, asking for help and practicing self-care — for me, that’s a long bath.
In my home, you’d see me take breaks and breathe deeply or even ask God out loud to help me. If you are having a continued difficult time at home with stress, anxiety or depression, get help. It’s okay to get medical help.
Creating boundaries in the home will help us all outside the home. Boundaries on behaviors, finances, emotions, verbal interactions, personal space and our bodies are all very important for creating a healthy home.
Make a habit of communicating your boundaries. For example, you’ll often hear me tell my kids, “We don’t use those words in our home. I can’t let you say that.” Or, “We don’t force people to do ____; they are allowed to say no.” I want my kids to have healthy boundaries and be able to communicate those boundaries.
Don’t Neglect Physical Health
How are your eating habits? Are you getting exercise? Are you sleeping enough? Physical health affects brain health, which affects our relationships. It’s all tied together.
Creating healthy habits includes healthy eating, sleep and exercise as well as emotional and spiritual habits. Working full time, being involved in a Christian school and a busy Pathfinder club, I tend to put exercise at the bottom of the list. I should not do this. This is one area of my life that I need to improve — pray for me?
Use a Habit Tracker
Habit trackers are very popular right now. You can use a physical or digital version. I currently use a digital tracker. I am tracking sleep, Bible reading and physical activity right now. But, I occasionally add things like taking breaks, breathing and water intake. Find a habit tracker, or create one with a paper and a pen. Be intentional about new habits.
Small habits done daily will compound into larger habits. Do these personally and together as a family. Pick just one good habit and start small today.
Remember, Jer. 29:11 tells us, "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" God wants us to prosper. Start creating habits together as a family to help.