Changing Habits

Sign in kitchen reminding family to put dishes in the dishwasher, a strategy for creating new habits.

We’re working on some new habits in the Guzman household. Putting dishes directly into the dishwasher is a hot button for me. No one seems to do it. It drives me nuts! I was struck with a bit of inspiration on Thursday that I’ll share, all about creating new habits.

I decided to clean the downstairs in preparation for the early weekend. Husband and son have Friday off, plus the usual Saturday and Sunday. We spend a lot of time at home, and the kitchen has been known to become a total disaster. My menfolk don’t seem to care, but I sure do. Especially when my office is adjacent to it. The picture below is the view from desk.

Anyhow, I cleaned the downstairs and ran 2 loads of dishes before everyone got home. Normally, within minutes, the sink has dishes in it, but not this time. THIS time I made a sign and stuck it in the sink:

View of kitchen sink with a visible sign promoting clean sink habits for better organization.

This simple reminder not only prompted my menfolk to put dishes in the dishwasher straight away, but myself as well. I am just as bad as they are.

Two days into our 3 day weekend and the kitchen is still clean. Even after making all meals. It’s delightful!

Now… I know come Monday, this will change. Everyone will have their morning sprint to get out the door on time, but I can enjoy this now. I can plant the seeds of change in us all, and recognize the efforts being made. When I can focus on what is going right, I feel better and I encourage others and myself to keep trying.

This time, I’m just happy my menfolk are making the effort. In the past they didn’t. Do I think the sign makes a difference? Yes, this time it did, along with having ALL of the dishes cleaned in the house before having this expectation. I set us all up for success.

Starting a new habit or routine takes time, and I’ve found it’s best to begin on a weekend when I’ve got more time to spend on it. I know that when the regular routine of the week begins again, I may not have the follow through from the weekend, but what I will have is knowledge of what it can be like, and what actions I took to make it happen. From there I can reflect on how to streamline it, ask for help and continually work on improvement.

Things I did to support my changes:

  1. I am realistic. I’m not expecting perfection.
  2. I took action to prepare – I cleaned every dish in the house before anyone was home to dirty them.
  3. I am kind in my reminders. 🙂
  4. I learn from what hasn’t worked in the past (starting off with a dirty kitchen and a bad attitude).
  5. I keep trying.

What new habits are you looking to start? You can start today. Every day is a new chance to begin!

Happy Saturday Y’all!