3 Habits for Living Well This Year

I shared in my last post that I only gave myself three new habits to work on in 2019.

A few weeks before Christmas, I found a slip of paper tucked into a book with those three habits scribbled in list-form. Much to my surprise, I’d mastered those habits and had quite forgotten that they’d been my New Year’s goals eleven months earlier.

That, my friend, is the power of consistency:

making the same, small decisions over and over again in order to move toward a goal or end result.

This is why I’m sharing this post today:

—> I want to give you a peek at what worked for me last year, and ask you be my accountability partner for the goals I’m setting for myself in 2020.

—> I also hope to convince you that you don’t have to start a New Year’s revolution in your family, or upend every detail of your life in order to live well this year.

Start small and- most profoundly– start right where you’re at.

At the end of this post, I’m going to leave you with a challenge to set just three new goals for yourself in 2020.

I’d love to hear what those goals might be, so be thinking about it while you read this post!

Start small and- most profoundly- start right where you're at. | 3 Habits for Living Well This Year | Kristy's Cottage blog

Here’s a peak at what worked for me last year:

My 3 Habits in 2019:

Getting Up Early

I’ve never thought of myself as an early riser because, honestly, getting up “early” has always felt impossible.

Much to my surprise, last year I was able to consistently develop the habit of getting up at six o’clock on week-days. That extra time in the morning revolutionized my life as a full-time homeschooling mom of five, let me assure you!

Here are two major dynamics that made this habit attainable for me in this season of life (if either of the follow dynamics are issues for you, please don’t try this at home!):

  • I don’t have babies any more. During my twenties and early-to-mid thirties, I was either pregnant or had babies and/or toddlers who kept me up throughout the night. My youngest child is now six years old, and it’s rare that one of my kids wakes me up in the middle of the night these days. I’m not complaining!

I don’t struggle with insomnia like I used to. Sleeplessness has been a plague ever since my childhood. After years of problem-solving, addressing health and emotional issues, I find that I sleep well at night most of the time. It goes without saying that a restful night’s sleep surely helps one get an early start on the day.

The Productive Woman's Habits: Rest | 31 Days to a More Productive You, KristysCottage.com


This habit is one I’ve been working on since mid-2017, but I wrote it down as a goal in 2019 because I didn’t want to fall off the wagon due to neglect, distraction, or laziness!

Most of last year, I stuck with my Moms Into Fitness workout routines, although I used a fitness app for several months- mainly to give myself some variation.

Most recently, I’ve discovered that I enjoy running or jogging; but more on that in a minute!

How to Find Time to Exercise | 31 Days to a More Productive You, KristysCottage.com

Spending One-on-One Time With My Kids

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This is a biggie for me in the motherhood department.

As a mom of five and an introvert (INTJ on the Meyer’s Brigg’s personality profile), I have a huge need for alone time- and a terribly small capacity for slowing down enough to focus on the cacophony of noise and needs under my roof.

Quite specifically, I made it a goal last year to tuck my kids into bed every single night. If that sounds like an obvious bedtime routine to you, then you’re probably a lot more relational than I am.

I had to rearrange my priorities and expectations in order to make room for a bedtime routine that actually included my children. I booted my computer-and-blogging time out of the way (which is one of the reasons this blog stayed pretty quiet last year) and embraced the expectation that evening routines would be family-oriented.

The habit has paid huge dividends in our family dynamics. As much as I feel like I “need” my quiet, alone time in the evenings for writing or tackling other personal projects, I’m so glad I stuck with this new habit.

In the spirit of simplicity, I’m focusing on just three new habits this year as well.

3 New Habits for 2020:

Menu Planning

It’s true: I’ve completely fallen off the wagon with this trademark habit of mine.

I used to be a stellar menu-planner, but, in my youthful zeal as a young mom, I let my “tool” become a “taskmaster.”

Several years ago, I aborted all the menu planning software in my brain in an effort to move as far away from rigidity as I could get. And I’ve enjoyed the more gracious side of myself.

However! In my current season of life-

with five growing, always-hungry kids, our busy homeschool/ministry life and extra curricular activities several days a week

I felt like meal times were constantly taking me off guard.

When my husband starting joking that I wasn’t prepping for meals just so we could eat cereal for dinner (again), I decided I needed to find a happy balance between RIGID menu plans and NO menu plans.

If I’m honest, I’ll confess that I don’t really love to cook.

What I’m leaning into is my innate drive to plan and be prepared. (INTJ, remember?)

As much as I dislike cooking, I do love to make lists! So grocery lists and menu lists are the thing right now.

 3 Habits for Living Well This Year | Kristy's Cottage blog

Last autumn, I developed a really simple way to keep up with weekly menus and bi-weekly grocery shopping.

I’m going to tweak my system a bit and let you know how it’s working for our family in a few weeks.

(Because I’m sure you’re totally on pins and needles right now, wondering how in the world my INTJ-menu-planning is going to work out.)


I’m sort of an accidental runner.

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A few months ago, I decided to add one-mile walks into my weekly workouts (because I was getting bored with the routine workouts I was doing).

One morning, I decided to jog a bit (because I was getting bored with walking; do you detect a pattern here?).

I enjoyed the intensity of jogging and kept pushing myself every time I went out for a walk.

About a week ago, I worked up to running half-a-mile, which is a really huge deal for me!

This year, my goal is to work up to running one mile, three times a week.

 3 Habits for Living Well This Year | Kristy's Cottage blog

My kids enjoy going on runs with me- our three boys take their scooters along- so it’s turned into a family exercise.


Including My Kids in My Work

Definitely my Achille’s heel, right here.

I love working alone because I can keep my own pace (which is fast and furious) and I can get things done exactly how I want them done (I’m a perfectionist).

The bad news, I end up doing everything by myself because, frankly, I’ve done a really poor job at training my kids to help out.

One Sunday afternoon last spring, my mother-in-law had a heart-to-heart with me and encouraged me to include my kids- my teenage daughters, especially– in working around the house.

It was welcomed advice- my mother-in-law is my friend- and I’ve tried to work on this area in the past months.

However, as I was pondering what worked and didn’t work in our family last year, I realized that I’ve really made very little progress in this area.

I had to admit that I need help.

Of course, my preference would be hired help. *wink*

Since hiring a housekeeper just doesn’t quite fit the budget, I opted to work on my own lack of consistency in this area.

 3 Habits for Living Well This Year | Kristy's Cottage blog

I did spend a little money and purchased The Smart Kids Chore System, from Ashley Burro at Freedom Moms. It really should be called Smart Moms Chore System because, really, this stuff is brilliant!

My goal this year is to complete The Smart Kids Chore System courseI’m not quite half-way through- and implement the action points with my five kids.

I’ll keep you posted as we go. *wink*

Well, with all these goals-in-progress around here, I sincerely hope you’ll subscribe to this blog so you don’t miss out on any updates!

Did you think of those three goals yet?

What would make it to the TOP of your list?

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Would you like a free printable to use with today’s post? I love journaling my thoughts during my daily quiet time, so I created a printable worksheet for you to use along with today’s blog post.  You can download it right here.  Don’t forget to subscribe in order to receive each new post and download via email.  Thank you for reading here!


What habits/goals are you setting for 2020?

Here’s to living & loving well-



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