Title: Happiness is a Habit
Author: Michele Phillips
In her new book, Michele Phillips begins by asking the following questions: “Do you want to be happier? Do you want to experience more joy in your life? Do you want to build a strong foundation for yourself so when life doesn’t go as planned you can remain peaceful and strong?” (p.xi) I was immediately intrigued as those all sound like great things to have, especially in our busy and sometimes unpredictable lives as mothers. I appreciated that this book does not claim it will solve all of your problems with one quick read. The habits she discusses are to be assessed and incorporated with diligence and time. She writes, “The goal of this book is to get you to look at your current habits and start, slowly at first, to build new, better, more powerful habits.” (p.xii)
The first few chapters discuss the definition of a habit, how long it takes to acquire a new one, and how her life has been affected by habits. She then goes on to say that the 48 habits she will share in this book are ones she developed over fifteen years ago, and what she calls her “core fitness routine.” (p.11) These categories include popularly encouraged habits such as “Eat Breakfast” and “Get Enough Sleep” as well as the more unique “Listen to Audiobooks in the Shower.” Each habit or chapter is only a few pages, sharing key concepts and examples from Phillips life. She ends each chapter with a section called “MAKE it a habit,” a list of ideas to get that habit going.
Parts I Liked Best:
I really loved the habits and concrete ideas shared in this book, but I picked a few of my favorites with my role as a mother in mind.
Habit 3: Visualize Your Tomorrow Tonight. Over the last few months I have worked on creating a habit where I look at the next day’s tasks in my planner the night before. However, visualizing your tomorrow is a different habit than planning your tomorrow. Visualizing and walking through my morning routine has helped me get up in the morning with more enthusiasm and, quite honestly, less snooze button.
Habit 10: Eliminate What Is Not Working. We talk about priorities quite a bit at Power of Moms and eliminating what we call “time suckers.” Eliminating what is not working is all about looking at your life and finding those habits that are working against you or just not working for you. Phillips cites examples such as watching too much television, surfing the Internet/social media, and trying too hard to be perfect. (p.30) This book is all about adding new habits and one of the most common complaints from people when adding something new is lack of time. Phillips points out that it really is not about a lack of time but rather a lack of priorities. By eliminating what is not working we free up time and energy to focus on what we really do want.
Habit 20: Pay Attention to the NOW. This is a habit I definitely need to work on. As a self-proclaimed planner it is so easy to become over focused on the end result and forget about the process. Whether it’s a big goal like moving to a new place or a little goal like cleaning out the garage we need to remember to stay present and aware of the now. Phillips says, “Be present and feel. Joy happens right now in the moment, but you have to make yourself aware to experience it.” (p.81)
How This Book Made an Impact in My Life, Especially as a Mother:
When I first picked up this book I thought it would be all about how I need to do more, be more, add in new goals to my already busy life. What it really has done is open my eyes to just how much daily habits can make a difference in our lives, for better or for worse. It helped me to take a step back and analyze what current habits I have or my family has that just aren’t working for us anymore. It has also taught me specific tools I can use to introduce new and beneficial habits into my family that will help us feel uplifted, productive, and connected.
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