Building Family Culture Through Routines, Rhythms, And Habits


January is the time of the year when most of us start thinking about change and a fresh start. Each year I take a look at where I have been and start dreaming about where I would like to go in my business, personal life, and family.

Some years I’ve been better than others when it comes to achieving my goals. Through all the ups and downs of goal setting, I’ve discovered that focusing on the routines, rhythms, and habits is the best way to make changes that last, especially in your family.  

Just like in an organization, culture is not created by a one-off team-building exercise and a good orientation day, but in the routines, rhythms, and habits that are practiced by its people. Small steps over time.

Your family culture is a product of your routines and rhythms in our home.

What is a routine?

Routines are the things that you do on a regular basis. They are a flexible form of time management that will move you towards the life you want and will help you meet your goals. I guarantee that you have routines and rhythms that are working for you and yes, even against you.

Over time the routines and rhythms we have will become habits.

Why are routines, rhythms, and habits important?

Family life runs smoother when routines and rhythms are in place. The sometimes dreaded morning routine comes to mind. When it’s haphazard, when we get up at different times, only have our lunch pre-packed occasionally, and aren’t sure when breakfast is we’re miserable and rarely on time. However when we know what to expect and when there’s less commotion and arguing, and we are mentally prepared for the day.

Routines also let your children know what’s important to your family. You can say something is meaningful, but if it doesn't show up in your schedule or done on purpose, it’s a clear sign that it isn’t. Kids and other people can see right through that.

Routines and rhythms give family members a sense of belonging. Our actions often affect others, especially those we live with. When our routines are interconnected, we gain a greater understanding of this and reaffirms the part we play in our family.

Here are a few things that you can do to start creating routines, rhythms, and habits that matter.

  • Get clarity. It’s important to know why you are you doing this. It will give you the motivation you need to get started. And when you are discouraged, you can keep referring back to why what you do matters. It will continue to propel you forward even when it’s not easy. Try imagining what it will be like once these routines, rhythms, or habit is apart of your life. What will it change, how will you act? How will it feel?

  • Attach it to something you are already doing. For example on the card ride to school, I have the kids take turns reading our Read it Pray it cards. Honestly, we weren't getting to them any other way, but now they are a part of our every day… at least Monday through Friday.

  • Remind yourself. Use technology and set a reminder on your phone or digital calendar. Or write it down as a daily, weekly, or monthly commitment in your planner or Powersheets.

  • Enlist a buddy. - Find a family member or friend who is working on the same thing and hold each other accountable. What about your spouse or children? My kids love when I ask them to make sure I do something.

  • Start simple. Don’t try to start too many routines, rhythms, and habits all at once. Choose to implement or change one or two new things at a time. This also applies to the amount of your new practice. For example walking 10 minutes a day is better than trying to do 30 every day, not being able to do it and then getting discouraged.

  • Identify what’s already in place and do it better. I naturally had a rhythm of slowing some on Friday afternoons. When I decided that I wanted to incorporate a Sabbath practice into my week intentionally, I tried a bunch of different days until I realized Friday was perfect for it.

  • Make it accessible and or visible. Do you want to drink more water put a jug out on the counter every day? Would you like to read a devotional with your kids in the morning? Set the table for breakfast with plates, flatware, napkins, glasses, and your favorite kid’s devotional.

You don’t have to wait until a New Year of even Monday to start making small changes that will change your life or your family culture. Today is the days to start!

You don’t even have to design a big campaign to kick start change… start now. Imagine the life you want and figure out the small steps consistent steps to get you there.

Additional Note:

Creating new habits can be hard. But if we understand how we are wired, it becomes much easier. Gretchen Rubin's book Better Than Before helped me figure out my tendencies, and now everything makes sense.

Prefer the ease of listening to reading? No Problem!

Just click to play to hear this episode of The Family Culture Project. Carl and I share a few of our family’s routines, rhythms, and habits how we got them to work for us on the podcast.

Be sure to subscribe to the show in iTunes or your favorite podcast app so you never miss an episode.

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