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In the Schoolroom

In the Schoolroom: One Small Change Can Change Everything


Develop these three new habits over the next three months and you are on track to be the person you want to be. Here’s how:

Are you the type of person who is naturally organized? Who is hard-working and focused? Who works first and plays later?

Me either. At least not by nature.

By nature, I’m a sleep late, slow start, read books, and snack all day person, but of course, that would not support my family in its homeschool mission, my work at Seton, or my parish volunteer positions. I’ve had to become the type of person who is an early-rising, organized, hard worker who plays when the work is finished. By play, I mean I read or embroider.

When I read James Clear’s book Atomic Habits, this quote really spoke to me:

“The ultimate form of intrinsic motivation is when a habit becomes part of your identity. It’s one thing to say I’m the type of person who wants this. It’s something very different to say I’m the type of person who is this.”

I strive to be the person who is a good homeschool mom, a clean housekeeping homeowner, and a loving and cheerful wife. I want to be those things, and some simple habits have made that possible.

Be the Person You Want to Be

January is a time to refresh and to reflect on how we want the coming year to go for ourselves and our families. Consider developing three new habits over the next three months to help you be the person who does (fill in the blank). Here’s how:

1. Start by getting up fifteen minutes earlier than you do now. Use the time to get a head start on the homeschool day, check the lesson plans, find the pencils, and set out the books.

2. Greet your spouse when he returns home with a smile and a hug. Just stop what you are doing for a minute and do this.

3. Put whatever you use in the kitchen away the moment you finish with it—dirty things right in the sink or dishwasher, food right back in the fridge/pantry.

Starting a new habit can seem overwhelming, so start small this January and see how little things really add up.

About Mary Ellen Barrett

Mother of seven children and two in heaven, Mary is wife to David and a lifelong New Yorker. She has homeschooled her children for eleven years using Seton and an enormous amount of books. She is a columnist for The Long Island Catholic and blogs here . Meet Mary Ellen.
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