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Confessions of a Past Teenager

May 13, 2020

BY ROBYN BAILEY
Regional Youth Ministry Coordinator

 

I’ve never admitted this out loud before but, I used to have extremely bad and unhealthy habits. For breakfast, I would drink a bottle of soft drink and have a cookie when I got to school. Sometimes I’d go weeks on end without brushing or washing my hair. And, I would almost never make my bed – which drove my parents nuts! People would often say something to me about these decisions but I would just get angry. I never said I was proud of these decisions. Quite frankly, I love my parents for having patience and not shaving off my hair during these times!

One of the first things I heard when self-isolation became a necessity was: form a routine and create healthy habits. Instead of proclaiming to the world, “It’s my life, and I’ll live how I want to,” the first action I did was make my bed. Was it because I could hear my father’s thundering voice down the hallway telling me to do so? Partially, yeah. However, it was more than that. Making my bed allowed me to take responsibility for my actions. That responsibility started a change in my everyday life even if I felt disappointed or worried. For me, I decided that I was going to form healthy habits slowly and steadily.

There is so much more to do in isolation then Tik Tok and cookies. We were made for more and now we have the ability to go beyond our comfort zone! Now is the time to unleash your creativity, learn a new skill or practice on building a habit that you wish to form. My advice: think big and start small.

We are all guilty of losing sight of our goals, even if it was only temporary. We may start with high amounts of motivation, and this may eventually fade. This is where we need to start small. A suggestion that might help you is from BJ Fogg, a Director at Stanford University. He suggests that habits rely on triggers rather than motivation. The formula looks like this:

  • After ___, I will ____.

Many examples include:

  • After I wake up, I will make my bed.
  • After I drink my morning coffee, I will brush my teeth.
  • After cleaning up from dinner, I will knit one row of my project.
  • After I turn my light off at night in bed, I will tell God one thing I am grateful for.

It’s easy to set a goal. The real test is undertaking the steps to achieve it, and make a habit of it. Over time, even small habits will have a big impact on our lives. While social distancing and isolation is hard for all of us, we’re able to utilise the time to transform how we live. How can you create and enrich positive changes in your life?

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