Habits are a curious thing.
Whether good or bad, habits are so ingrained in us we often don’t see what type of effect they are having in our lives. We don’t see ourselves performing the habit, we only see the wake that follows.
That’s what I realized when I heard a chair crash to the ground, a bedroom slamming, and sobs coming from my child’s bedroom.
When I heard all the noise I couldn’t believe the reaction I was witnessing from this child. I actually had to stop, think, and remember what it was I just asked of him that caused this reaction.
Now I remember….I gave instructions for the bathing/bedtime routine that was just slightly different than normal.
This trajectory from the normal routine caused (what I call) a change in habit breakdown.
I get it: change is hard. Routine habits and monotony sometimes feel like welcomed friends.
Different often feels impossible. To do something a different way, or with a different person, or in a different location can throw some people into a tailspin.
Tailspins are hard in our house. They don’t just effect the one caught in the vortex but seem to suck everyone else in as well. Ryan and I know we need to establish new, healthy coping habits in a few of our children. Different doesn’t have to cause a tailspin.
Because old habits and routines are hard to change, I’ve decided that one of my best strategies will be to enforce the simple concept of “trying new things.”
It isn’t that the new things themselves hold any special or magical power but it’s the act of trying that holds the power. Therefore, I am enlisting this very action every day until trying new things is the habit itself!
Introducing the Newcom’s “March Culinary Madness.” Every weekday for the entire month we will adventure into a new food/drink simply for the sake of trying new things.
Our first week we deemed SMOOTHIE WEEK and tried a new recipe for smoothies each morning.
Monday: Orange Dreamsicle
Tuesday: Chocolate Raspberry
My girl, first out of bed every day. She was my every present helper and the first to try each smoothie.
Wednesday: Chocolate Peanut Butter
Thursday: Green Smoothie with apples/carrots/mango/strawberries
Friday: Pina Colada
At first, all of the kids (except X) were super hesitant. I had won their hearts over on traditional strawberry/banana smoothies but with these new recipes I was pushing the limits.
Ryan established a precedence for trying the new smoothies: Every day you try the new food, you earn a day to eat the new desserts during ‘Dessert Week’.
In the end, almost everyone tried each and every smoothie. A few of the smoothies (chocolate peanut butter and green) were so good that by the time a few of my late risers finally entered the kitchen, there was none left.
The key is they survived change and different.
Here’s what I believe made it work – and what I can hopefully transfer with success to other areas of life.
- We all did it together. No one was expected to be the only one trying this new thing.
- It was planned out and there were no surprises to throw kids off.
- Expectations were set and a reward was clearly defined.
- Whether we liked the recipe or not, we celebrated trying.
This week is ‘Pizza Week’. We will be making 5 different types of pizza throughout the week to broaden our horizons past pepperoni.
We may fall in love with something new or learn that certain flavors are not our family’s favorite. Either way, it will be different and it will be fun!
*I adapted my smoothie recipes from Back to Her Roots. I did not use the greek yogurt or honey after day 1 because no one liked the taste of it. Instead I used So Delicious Coconut Milk Vanilla Yogurt to satisfy the need for yogurt and sweetness. I also added my standard gluten/soy free protein powder which seemed to take each recipe from “ok” to “great”.