I choose Happy, I choose Healthy, I choose Whole.
I will be Better Today than yesterday,
and I have the Power to Live Above my circumstances.
I will choose to Heal, Not Harm, my temple, and I choose Courage over Comfort
with my thoughts, my words, and my actions.
Every day, we make choices. For a couple of years now, this mantra is what I write in my journal or say to myself every morning. Most days, I do not successfully live up to it 100%, but I keep it there to remind myself of my power to choose. If I choose the comfortable path when I am having a bad day, I must own it. When I am in a better place emotionally, I find more courage to face the problems within myself that made me choose the easy path. I cannot, however, run from the fact that it was MY CHOICE that got me there.
“You can choose courage, or you can choose comfort. You cannot have both.” Brene Brown’s quote was the inspiration for part of this morning ritual, and it grew and personalized from there. I write it or say it before I read my daily Scripture reading, before I do my daily “learn something new” habit, or before I drink my first sip of coffee. When my emotions and rationality are in a healthy place, it drives me to do things that would otherwise terrify – like starting a blog where anyone can read what I put out into the world. When my emotions or rationality need to be adjusted, it reigns me in from what I tend to call “big feelings” and helps me realign myself to a more reasonable, mature course of action.
The thing about choice is, I can only make a choice for myself. Each individual has the same right of choice as the next, and that is a right given to us by our Creator at the beginning.
My morning routine looks a little like this:
Stumble blindly out of bed and head straight for the coffee pot
The time frame has changed a little since the kids and I are all home now, but I still intentionally wake before everyone else. It is better for all concerned, trust me.
My devotional habits begin with writing or saying my “Choose Happy, Healthy, Whole” intentions, then I move to daily Scripture. This year, I am following along with the Historical reading plan in the Bible Gateway app, and I am reading the Lexham English Bible. After completing the day’s reading, my next goal is to learn something new every day. It may be by reading chapter in an educational book, a video about how to care for an animal we want on the homestead, or a tutorial on how to cook something; I vary it immensely from day to day. Sometimes, I will focus on one aspect of learning for a long time, such as focusing on financial education for the month of January. Other times, I literally bounce from one thing to another each day. Most of the time, I take notes in my journal about whatever it is I am learning that day, but if I am feeling hurried, I will listen to whatever it is while preparing to get the household going for the day. I actively seek out things to learn from people with different lifestyles and backgrounds than me. (I have found this to be one of the most powerful ways to have empathy for other people’s situations.)
The longer I keep this morning habit, the better it becomes ingrained into my natural process of thinking. At first, it was all I could do to not hit the snooze button. Even now, if I give myself too many days of a break, those first few days of getting up immediately when all is still dark and cold becoming challenging. The more I share about our family’s habits, the more I realize how much I fall back to the concept of flexibility. Until I started sharing my meal planning process or my devotion routine, I had not thought through exactly why these routines succeeded for me when previous attempts in younger years had not. It was absolutely the flexibility aspect. I would read of all these wonderful ideas for benefits to include into daily routines and about how vital it was to do them every single day without wavering. I would try and get frustrated when I had a rotten day that threw me off plan, and the perfectionist in me would think, “Why continue if I’m just going to mess up again?!” At some point, I read the most genius tool to help. I cannot remember how the author termed it or who he/she even was, so I will just call it the Don’t Skip Two rule. The rule is that, if while building a new positive habit you miss a day, just make sure you do not miss two days in a row. This gives the flexibility to mess up without feeling that “just throw in the towel” vibe that follows. It all comes down to choices, which is why I choose to tell myself every morning, “I will be better today than yesterday.” I cannot expect of myself to become the ideal human I would prefer to be in a minute, but I can expect of myself to be better today than the day before. I can expect of myself to make the choices in these twenty-four hours that will eventually lead me to the goals I have mapped out for myself and my family. It is all about Choices.