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12 Habits for 2012

Inspired by Gretchen Rubin from The Happiness Project and motivated by my own 21 Days to a More Disciplined Life series, I’m going to have one habit that I’m focusing on each month in 2012.

Some of these are things I already do with pretty regular consistency, but would like to make a very permanent habit. Some of them, I have somewhat of a handle on but still struggle with. Others, like getting places on time, I’m really, really bad at it and need to desperately work on.

12 Habits for 2012

January — Going to bed early

February — Getting up early

March — Implementing a morning routine

April — Implementing a evening routine

May — Children have a very consistent bedtime

June — Getting places on time

July — Getting things done early

August — Getting places early

September — Eating breakfast at same time every day

October — Eating lunch at same time every day

November — Eating dinner at the same time every day

December — Drinking 8-10 glasses of water daily

I’ll post an update near the end of each month to let you know how the habit is going, what struggles and victories I had, and what I learned along the way. I’d love for you to join me by creating your own list of 12 habits to focus on in 2012.

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  • Marie says:

    I love your posts like Books to read in 2012, D-I-Y projects for 2012, goal setting and habits for 2012!!!
    Here is my problem. How do I even find the time to make the lists and figure out what I want to do?
    Maybe my habit should be creating a system so I can create systems!! (ha-ha)
    Appreciate all you do!

    • Crystal says:

      Start small. Keep it simple. And just pick a few things to work on (or even just one thing). You might find this post helpful:

      I’ve spent the last few years trying to get some good systems in place so that I can be more intentional in how I live my life instead of just living in survival mode. It takes time, work, and diligence, but it does pay off!

    • Anna says:

      I thought I should have all my goals and resolutions posted for the year on January 1. The reality is I decided I needed to take the week to get reflect upon what I really want to happen for the next year. First I want to take better care of me and second I want to be content. My mother use to say “aim for life contentment not happiness.” I keep what does God want me to do with my life; what is the direction he is leading me. The answer seemed simple, be content. What makes me content? That is what I have been reflecting on the past few days and I want to more self satisfaction with myself. What brings me satisfaction, really just normal everyday things, crocheting, a clean home, rest, reading, productive at work, So I decided to focus my list for goals and habits on those things. I looked at my last year’s resolutions and was surprised by what I actually did accomplished. I did not get my resolutions completed in the way I would like but I did get them done for 2011. I fell and hurt my back in the spring. My resolution before the fall was to lose weight and after my fall I did over 50 lbs. I changed my eating habits and exercise routine. It took a “bad thing” to make me change but I did. I want to continue my personal growth that really got jumped started by an injury that left me partially immobile and impacted how I care for my family and home. Contentment is a wonderful thing and I think that is where I started in “figuring” out what I wanted to do AND following “Money Saving Mom”. I cheated a little and I cut and paste Crystal’s list of habits and changed them to things I wanted to do instead. I printed the list off and put it on my refrigerator. I love the idea of doing one habit a month. That simplified my plans for the new year. Now I am working on a reading list of books. 🙂

  • These are good resolutions! Specific and action-oriented. And since you’re not tackling too much at once, you’re likely to actually achieve them. This month, I’m focusing on getting into the habit of lifting weights (we got a dumbbell set for Christmas) and doing a few more strength exercises. Next month I hope to get better about cooking enough for leftovers, especially veggie-laden dishes. I haven’t really gotten beyond that.

  • Maria says:

    My husband introduced me to the Habit Factor app for my iPod Touch and I love it. You can set goals and habits and track how you are doing. I entered all my goals in for the year, then attached habits to the ones which were appropriate. I also decided to follow along with FlyLady’s habits of the month. Hopefully I’m not in over my head! Thanks for the inspiration, Crystal!

    • Kim says:

      I used FlyLady’s habits a few years ago and loved them. They made a huge difference for me. Then we moved and I got off-track. Started with them again for this year and already feel more in control of things.

      Between FlyLady and Crystal, and the grace of God, life is going more smoothly!

    • Stephanie says:

      I just checked out Habit Factor and I am super impressed!! Wow! Thanks for sharing. I notice a free and a paid version but cannot tell what the differences are between the two. Which one did you go with?

      • Maria says:

        Stephanie, I went with the paid version which was $3.99 and may have been a sale price. The Lite version, which is the free one, limits you to one goal and 3 habits and I wanted to have more than that. You could do the Lite version if you just wanted to try it out though. Good luck with your goals!

  • Kristen@DSG says:

    I like the idea of working on individual habits, one at a time. As always, thanks for sharing and inspiring!

  • Thanks for sharing! You’ve got me thinking now! 😉

  • Brooke says:

    Going to bed earlier is first on my habit list as well- and I think it will honestly be the hardest to master! I know your husband also works quite a bit, how do you deal on days where he’s not home until later in the evening? On the days where my husband isn’t home until later I tend to want to stay up later to spend more time with him. I’m hoping that more regular date nights will squash that craving!

    • Catherine says:

      I have the same problem. Hubby doesn’t get home until 8:30pm. By the time he eats dinner and puts our toddler to bed it’s close to ten. We usually stay up until around 11 just so we can have some time to hang out and relax.

  • Crystal! I just love your site. I’d been planning for several months on tackling 12 Habits in 2012 and your series was such an inspiration. My new habit this month is simply to lay out clothes to wear the night before and get dresses first thing in the morning.

    I’m hoping it will help me get places on time more easily, since I’ll already be dressed and just have to worry about getting three little ones ready and out the door. 🙂

  • Kim says:

    I’m not sure yet if I’m making an actual habit list, but for this month I am getting up earlier and exercising for 20 – 40 minutes before work. I need to get this one area as a steadfast habit before I commit to others.

    I am still setting goals though and I am so grateful for your link to the Colossians memory work. I am doing the book of James in conjunction with Beth Moore’s bible study, but that gave me the extra push and advice I needed. Thanks again for ALL you do.

    • Nancy says:

      Our church gave any youth who memorized the book of James a free scholarship to a summer camp they hold! It was amazing all the kids who did it!

  • Brandee says:

    I laughed out loud at your June hope to create habit. Going from a family of three to a family, that it was thing I will happily give up trying to accomplish for a very long time! : )

  • I’ve been thinking about my habits, because those are the things I “resolve” to do better at the New Year. It’s a totally different list than my New Year’s goals.

    Love yours–we share quite a few in common 🙂

  • Jenny says:

    I love this! Thank you for sharing! You are a great encourager for me! 🙂

  • Right now I’m working on my cardio plan. Run 7 miles a week and walk 2 miles a day.

    In the past I would be guilty of running 4 miles and then not at all for the next week. So I’m working on doing something consistently everyday to make it a habit.

  • Lora says:

    I am with you on going to bed early, but with teens and college-aged young adults, their activities, love lives, and just the best time to talk to them is at night! Needless to say, we’re tired parents. 🙂

    • Courtney says:

      I agree! My kids are 9, 11, and 13 and it is so much harder to get to bed early than it was when they were smaller. I find that life gets much busier as they get older.

    • Lana says:

      and even if you do go to bed while they are still up the house is still loud and rocking!

  • Crystal says:

    One habit that I am trying to establish is eating breakfast. It seems like I rush around getting everyone else ready and never eat breakfast. I KNOW my metabolism speeds up when I eat breakfast and that I would be better off health wise if I would do it. I bought 3 boxes of Special K during Super Doubles at HT today just for that purpose!

    • Marie says:

      I hear you!! I always manage to make sure everyone has eaten but me! The problem for me was when I’d be feeding my twins 4 1/2 yr. I’d have to feed the baby and I couldn’t feed the baby and myself at the same time and by time we were done then it was time to head out the door.
      There are many days it’s like 2 or 3’oclock and I realize I haven’t eaten anything.
      I’d love to make eating breakfast my first habit to establish now that the baby is eating real food.

  • We are doing this as a family this year!

    I did an intro post here with the 12 habits we are focusing on;

    And this week I shared this months day-by-day plan for our first habit, cultivating thankfulness;

    The habits we’ve chosen are arguably virtues by nature, but habits we hope become a natural part of our sons {and our!} lives!

  • Katie says:

    thanks for your post! I like the idea of setting monthly goals. breaks them down into manageable pieces. i have similar goals….getting up earlier, drinking more water, eating breakfast, etc. need some accountability to keep me motivated 🙂 thanks again for all you do!

  • Sarah says:

    Drinking more water was the habit I worked on in Dec. I used a liter water bottle and poured it into my glass – 2 liters is about 8 glasses. That made it much easier to keep track and I didn’t need to wash the bottle often. 🙂

  • Crystal, you crack me up. Lately we’ve been posting things at just about the same time, or at least thinking about the same things! I had a list of habits in my home management book I wanted to develop in 2012, and had started to formulate a blog post when I logged on to your site and saw this post. If you’re ever in St. Louis, I think we should meet up. We seem to have many similar interests. 🙂

  • My habit to develop this month is 5 minute showers. It will save on our water bill and my skin. 😉 I enjoy a looonnnggg, h-o-t shower, so this will be tough. I am determined to stick with it, though. Thank you for posting!

  • I was just thinking about your December goal (drinking 8-10 glasses of water) today! I always forget to drink enough water throughout the day, and as a breast-feeding mommy, that can really wear me out! I was thinking maybe I should just make that my goal for a month….so I thought it was funny when you posted it too! I probably won’t wait until December though. 🙂

  • Denise says:

    I read somewhere lately — can’t remember if it was your site, Crystal, or Good Housekeeping — about a woman who was constantly late for everything, because she planned EXACTLY how much time it took to get someplace and left herself only that much time. With kids it turns into a nightmare.

    Her solution? Not a “leave” time, but a “load” time. “This is the time I will begin loading the family into the car.” And set it 10-15 minutes earlier than you’re supposed to leave. That way, if there’s a meltdown, you’re OK. If you forgot something in the house, you’re OK. If someone needs to potty at the last minute. . .you get the idea. I’m trying to retrain myself to think this way: what time do I want to start putting everyone in the car, as opposed to what time I expect to pull out of the driveway. Hope this helps!

    • Carrie says:

      This is genius and I’m stealing it. I don’t know why, having been a mom for nearly 8 years now, I haven’t figured that out yet and it comes as a surprise to me every time!

    • Amy says:

      I remember reading that article in a waiting room magazine, and helped me tremendously.

    • Paige says:

      I used to be late all the time, especially when going somewhere with the kids. My youngest ALWAYS had a meltdown or would undress before time to go. I’d be scrambling to get the laundry into the dryer before I left the house. The biggest change I have made is that I wake up before my girls to get myself ready as much as I can BEFORE they wake up. If I don’t do this I risk them stopping me and needing something every 2 minutes. I also get things ready to go really early. Even if I have more on my to do list for the day I will put that on hold about an hour before we have to leave and start getting ready what I can…..for instance if we’re going to my oldest’s dance class I get out her dance clothes, I offer her a snack, I make her use the bathroom, I help get her changed and put her bag by the door, I check the diaper bag for my youngest and make sure she has a snack. Basically I do whatever I can for us to be ready early. Yes we are still sometimes late (like when I wake up my youngest from her nap and she evidently changed into her swimsuit before falling asleep), but most of time we are on time.

    • Lana says:

      My kids are all grown but I have to remember this now when my elderly parents visit. They take longer to get out the door than my children ever did!

  • Emily says:


    As I sat down to come up with my 2012 goals, I thought back to your 21 Days series and included as one of my personal goals to establish one good habit per month too. Drinking more water per day is one of the habits I’d like to form as well. Right now I’m aiming for 6 to 8 glasses.

  • Paige says:

    I’m using your recent posts as guidance plus flylady. I feel like the first 31 days of flylady is good because you start small, but that for a stay at home mom I really CAN do more on the first day, second day, third day, etc… as long as I put my mind to it. A lot of the books on my reading list are from your 2011 list. That made it very easy for me to come up with a few and I’m alternating between 1 fun, fiction book and 1 more educational/spiritual book. Then when I’m reading the fun book I have more time to continue to reflect and work on what I learned from the other book before starting something else new. I think I need to change so much (but so far this year I’m doing a great job!) and I would rather not choose 1 habit for each month at least for January. I think I will reevaluate at the end of the month/beginning of February and see where I feel I am at that point. I also think that as my children are getting older it’s getting easier for me to try to work on myself and our routines because they have become more consistent and independent as well.

  • Leah L says:

    Hope you don’t mind if I share mine. Some are the same as yours. 🙂
    This year, I want to cultivate the habits of:
    1. Waking up early
    2. Getting dressed every morning
    3. Drinking 8 glasses of H2O every day
    4. Tidying my bedroom every night
    5. Surrounding my life with music
    6. Eating minimal refined foods
    7. Being thankful
    8. Praising God morning, noon, and night
    9. Doing my chores every day (instead of letting them pile up)
    10. Affirming people
    11. Minimizing computer/TV time
    12. Taking pictures of everyday life events

  • Lana says:

    Here is tha rule for determining how much water your body needs each day. Take your weight and divide it by 2 plus 2 ounces for every ounce of caffeinated beverage you consume. You may be surprised at how much water you actually do need. My husband and I have followed this rule for water since Dec 2010 and it totally changed how we feel.

  • Love this list. So simple, so doable, yet will make such great impact for you and your family, I’m sure. Thanks for sharing!

  • christine says:

    Personally, I’m not sure if things like eating breakfast, lunch and dinner at the same time are really habits that should be cultivated! Although routines are excellent, and especially wonderful for children… I think there’s a danger in trying to make every part of your day fit into a specific plan. Some people might have a really hard time when their day doesn’t fall into their new “habit.”

    • Crystal says:

      Yes, it definitely wouldn’t work for some people, but for me, it’s a habit that I know will be very helpful–even if I don’t always follow it perfectly! And I so agree that it’s vitally important to give ourselves grace and focus on routines, not rigidity. Thanks for your input!

  • Pam says:

    How funny! Sleep is my blog topic for January – and my specific goal is going to bed earlier. I know that when I stay up late I am just robbing myself of a better tomorrow, yet I still find myself cleaning the kitchen, picking up, reading, etc. Good luck – I’ll definitely be following along!

  • Jill says:

    Love these goals! I think I’d be willing to try these goals…except for December…drinking water is VERY HARD for me!! I guess this is something that I really should be working on.

  • Katherine says:

    Here’s a neat idea my Mom shared with my from Family Fun Magazine about drinking enough water–put rubber bands around your glass for however many glasses you want to drink (my big cup equals two regular cups, so I only put 4 rubber bands). Take one off each time you finish a glass. This helps you keep track of how much you’re drinking. I didn’t realize how little I was drinking until I did that…now I do much better!

  • Ginger M. says:

    I don’t have 12. I have 4, so I figure I’ll work on one each quarter.

    The first one is to get into the habit of putting my keys, pocketbook, and phone on top of the bar when I get home. I can’t tell you how many days there has been a mad scurrying about trying to find my keys. Or my wallet. This really has an impact on my life because there have been several occasions now where I HAD to leave and just could not find my keys for the life of me, so I had to use the spare flat wallet key to my car and could not lock my apartment up.

    The others are:
    – drink more water (and to space it out throughout the day, rather than guzzling a liter before bedtime so as to get my quota in.
    – really, really, really stick to my cash envelope for food. No cheating and robbing Peter to pay … Starbucks.
    – lay my clothes out for the next day the night before.

  • Sandra Lee says:

    I have decided to worship first thing each morning. I set my alarm 30 minutes earlier than I had been which allows me enough time to worship as I would like, without feeling rushed. I just love my new way to start my day!

  • Laura Jane says:

    I’m doing the same thing this year by focusing on one habit each month. I’m starting with going to bed early (and getting up earlier) this month. It’s definitely a challenge to get to bed early. There’s so much I want to get done and I have to let some things go in order to make it to bed on time. I had to leave a big pile of dishes in the sink last night since we ate dinner late. However, it’s so helpful to wake up feeling rested and refreshed instead of exhausted. My mornings are so much smoother and less stressful when I wake up early and rested and have enough time to get ready and eat breakfast calmly.

  • Amanda B says:

    Great post! As always, you are an inspiration. So much so that I went to my own drawing board and came up with my own list of 12. Well, some are actually the same as yours, as they are also areas that I would like to focus on. You can see my list here:

    I look forward to seeing your progress in the upcoming months as well as keeping me accountable in mine!

  • Amanda B says:

    Great Post! As always, you are an inspiration. So much so that I went to my own drawing board and came up with a list of 12 of my own. Actually, some I borrowed from you as they were also areas that I would like to develop. You can see my list here:

    Thank you for all that you do. I look forward to hearing your monthly updates and linking up to keep myself accountable!

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