Time to develop a habit

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  • Kim

    I just bought the Laying Down the Rails set and plan to work this into our evening family devotions. My kids are 6 and 14. I would like to go a bit faster through the book, but this would mean I am introducing new habits before the 6-8 week mark. Is this possible?

    Karen Smith

    It may be possible for some habits, but it usually takes at least 6-8 weeks to form a good habit, especially if you are changing a bad habit to the desired good habit. Also, focusing on more than one habit at a time can be stressful and set you up for constant nagging.

    Please don’t feel like you have to do every habit in the book, or do every habit in order in the book. Choose, one at a time, from the habits that need the most work in your home. It is better to learn a few habits well than to learn many habits poorly.


    Something else you may not have considered is that with it being part of your devotion, and not just a school subject, you should be able to fit in some extra habits over the summer or holiday breaks.

    I think if you focus on one habit at a time you’ll be surprised what you accomplish in a few years!  There is that popular quote about how we tend to overestimate what we can accomplish in a day but underestimate what we can accomplish in a year.

    We also just focus on the current habit and not worry about the rest.  We just start with the habit I feel will make the most difference or what they need to work on.  I also like to alternate something concrete with something more abstract.  For example we just finished diligence and now are on manners.  Diligence is hard to set “rules” to follow, but more of a heart issue.  Manners will be much easier to focus on specific goals (I plan on focusing on table manners).

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