3 Habits to Give Up for Your Best Year Yet

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I would consider myself to be thick in the trenches of mommy hood. There is hardly a day that goes by where I’m not running from sun up to sun down (literally and figuritively) trying to juggle all the balls, put out fires and keeping our ordinary imperfect life afloat. Soggy cheerios, baby spit up, dirty diapers, potty training mishaps, crusty toothpaste, cars scattered all over the floor that I step on at least once a day… if you haven’t experienced it, it’s like living an everyday thrill ride! I don’t share this to complain, however, I can’t even express in words how blessed and grateful I am to be my kid’s mom. I get to love them and take care of them, wipe their tears, hug them when they’re sad, read books to them, play make believe, kiss their owies, and teach them truth. It is the best job EVER. And hardest job ever. But I will gladly live this thrill ride every day forever!

My husband is a very busy resident doctor, we have four little kids (8 and under), and we are often busy with church, lessons, practices, and my VERY occasional (I wish it was more frequent!) blogging. We don’t have a lot of down time, but we are always trying to improve our family life and personal lives.

When we stopped doing these three things, it felt like our time doubled. Our time together also became much more meaningful. Kick these habits to the curb and it will change your life for the better!

1. Television

In 8 1/2 years of marriage, we have never had cable or television channels. For a long time we had Netflix and it was a great way to stream shows without commercials. We had our “shows” that hubby and I would watch at night, and the kids would have 1 or 2… or 5 shows/day. It all depended on our phase of life… New baby? 5 shows a day. Normal busy day? 1 show a day. Hubby working all day AND all night? 3 shows AND a family movie night (it’s called survival mode people!) You get the idea.

Our family gave up TV– 7 months ago.

We still have the occasional family movie night, It’s just different now. It is a special event. We sit down together and watch a show or movie… TOGETHER. My kids are happier. As parents we are happier. We have more time. More time for conversation and interaction. Not to mention that my kids don’t ask me to watch TV anymore. Hooray!

So let’s talk about YOUR television watching habits. But first, a story:

I’ve never been much of a TV watcher. In the past, whenever I’d get together with friends, often I woud be totally out of the loop when the conversation turned to TV shows. The only TV exposure I’d get was running on the treadmill at the gym. I have a friend who LOVES the Kardashians. One day it came on while I was running at the gym, out of desperation to make the time pass, with nothing else to watch, I decided to see what all the fuss was about. I may have watched for a whole two minutes before I was disgusted at what I saw and turned it off. A few days later, again on the treadmill with nothing to watch, I turned to it again. This time I watched a little longer. This episode wasn’t so bad so I was in for the hour, and it made the time on the treadmill pass by quickly. Before too long, I began to catch it more often. One day, I realized something, I was becoming comfortable. Comfortable with this trash. Filth. Horrible depiction of real life that is degrading, staged, and fake (no offense if you like the Kardashians— but seriously). Not only that, the commercials were bad enough. Cheating, lying, sleeping around, killing. Is this really what we let entertain us? And then we sit and wonder what is wrong with the world around us?

I DARE you to give TV up. At least give up the shows that drag you down. For me, I’ve thrown out nearly all of them (I still have to catch up on Fixer Upper every now and then, gotta love Chip and Joanna)! Think of it this way… what if YOU ARE WHAT YOU WATCH? 80% of what is called “entertainment” these days should be called “detainment”. Try flix fasting for one month and document how it changes you and your family. You will feel more free, I promise! Unrestrained by the filth of the world around you. Read uplifting books, play outside with your kids, cook something together, listen to audiobooks (my kids personal favorite), learn a language on Duolingo (another favorite), go running, take up a new skill. Don’t let the TV rule your life. Because before long, you will have nothing to show for all of those empty hours but EMPTINESS.

I weigh my decisions for everything I view with this in mind:


{13th Article of Faith, View full article HERE}

If you are looking for a great way to watch edited movies, try THIS. Perfect for a Family Movie Night.

Please excuse me if it sounds like I am on a soapbox here. But I know this can change your life. This is something that I have always been passionate about, AND have experienced for myself.

2. Late Nights and Late Mornings

The truth is, when Benjamin Franklin said, “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.”—— he was RIGHT! Go to bed a little bit earlier so that you can wake up earlier. With a little window of time to yourself in the morning, the possibilities for growth and progression are endless!

“Go to bed early and get up early. If you do, your body and mind will become rested and then in the quiet of those early morning hours, you will receive more flashes of inspiration and insight than at any other time of the day.” {Harold B. Lee}

My favorite mornings are the ones that I wake up early and exercise while I listen to something spiritually uplifting and inspiring. My go to’s are usually the scriptures, a talk, a podcast, an audiobook… there are so many possibilities! This way, by the time your day really starts with kids, work, family, etc. You will have already fed yourself physically and spiritually. You will have better ability to focus on what needs to happen around you. Wake up and run your day, don’t let the day run you.


3. Gossip

Have you ever read Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People? I can’t give a higher recommendation than I do for this book. In our family, this one is nearly scripture. Carnegie’s first suggestion is “Don’t Criticize, Condemn or Complain.” I think he could have simplified it even further by just saying “Don’t Gossip.” Why do we gossip? I don’t quite understand why we as human beings (especially women) feel the need to do this. It becomes a terrible habit that may feel like it brings people together in the moment, but really it just tears us apart. Think about it. What good has ever come to your life by gossiping about someone else? Certainly many bad things have happened because of gossip, but I doubt anything good. This has been a struggle for me at times during my life, and I haven’t quite mastered the art of avoiding gossip (both when I and others start to do it.) All I know, is that it is destructive and my life is 1000x happier when I don’t do it.


I think of Abraham Lincoln who is considered by virtually all historians and scholars as the best U.S. president in the United States’ history. He did some incredible things that are well-known by all of us. But did you know that he never gossiped or complained about anyone? And things weren’t nice and peachy for Abe. His very election to the presidency is what caused the southern states to secede from the union. I think it’s safe to say that more than a few people didn’t like him. Yet, he was always positive and kind to both friends and enemies. The best part about this story is that he wasn’t always like this. When he was younger he would frequently write opinion pieces in the local newspaper complaining about people in the community. Then one day, he made someone so angry that he was challenged to a duel. I’d say he made quite the lifestyle shift, and was quite effective at kicking this bad habit of gossiping. So if Abe can do it, so can I, and so can you.

Here we are, it’s 2016, a great time to become a new you. Make it the best year yet! The time to change is now. If you make your list of changes/goals too long, you’ll get discouraged and you won’t do any of them. So focus on one at a time for thirty days and track your progress.You’ve got this!



What are some of your goals for the new year? How is it going?

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  1. I would give up cable in a heartbeat but it would not go over well with the husband. I tried it once when he was away for 3 months and he thought I lost my mind. I didn’t miss it. At. All.

    1. That’s a hard one! At least you can choose not to watch it and maybe invite him to do something active with you! Maybe he’d be willing to do a little experiment for a month? 😉

  2. awesome Laura. Love this post. My ‘resolution’ for this year was to be MORE positive, MORE cheerful, MORE optimistic. It’s a very consicous decision sometimes to choose to be happy sometimes, especially after a long day with the boys.
    I follow you on instagram – I’m kateypie83 xx

  3. What time do you go to bed (ideally?) and wake up (ideally)? Do you astill push yourself to get up if you have a long night with the baby? I dont watch tv either (i like movies)…… my kids dont watch tv either (again movies and occc netflix). i too feel out of the loop when people talk about tv shows. Fun to learn something new about you (tv thing). I try not to gossip either– obviously have been guilty of that. I need to work on not complaining. Im pretty good about not complaining to friends and in public but i need to work on that more in my personal. There is too much good going on in my life I don’t need to complain. Great read Laura.

    1. Hey Megan! I try to go to bed by 9:30 or 10:00 at the latest, and often (not always) wake up by 5:30am. Sometimes I feel like I need to opt for sleep and schedule some time in my morning after the kids go to school to study and exercise. I can sometimes catch a nap during the day if I need to when both kids are napping. The bottom line for me is to make sure that I get physical and spiritual nourishment each day. Thanks Meg!

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