One of the pitfalls in trying to get a new habit going (like making dinner, for example) is not being clear on the goal. It’s one thing to say you’re going to make dinner every night instead of eating via the drive-thru, but it’s another thing entirely to quantify your goal.
Here are three things you need to do to make a new habit:
1– Make a serious commitment, not just run your mouth. As SHEs (Sidetracked Home Executives) we are the Queens of Running Mouths. We talk a blue streak, but actually doing something about it takes a while before we get that it isn’t the talking about it that will do it, it’s the DOING something about it that will do it! For dinner making, that means committing to meal planning, making a grocery list, shopping, and then making the time to prepare the meal. It takes a little doing, but it is well worth the effort.
2– Examine the benefits of doing all of this. It’s huge—your children do better in school, are less likely to do all the things you DON’T want them doing, and are happier, more secure and nutritionally, better fed. You’ve heard me talk time and time again about the value of the family dinner table—psychologically, socially, and nutritionally. One meal can make that much difference!
3– Have a backup plan. There is no shame in ordering pizza ONCE IN A WHILE or making breakfast for dinner or anything else that shortcuts your way to the dinner table. The big thing here is actually EATING together.
And please remember this. No one likes a dinnertime martyr anymore than they like the housekeeping martyr. Don’t be afraid to tell “your people” what you need. Have your kids help with dinner (hands-on nutrition; life skills that will serve your children forever), have your husband help with grocery shopping, and have everyone pitch in for dishes. Dinner and meal-making can be a family affair if you will help orchestrate it. Have a family meeting, get your crew on board and go for it! It’s worth the effort!
Leanne Ely, Your Dinner Diva since 2001
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