good habits to start

5 Good Habits Dads Need to Start Today

“You are what you eat.” “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” We’ve all been there and set goals that have probably fallen short. We keep getting on and off the treadmill of our resolutions (pun intended).

Let’s imagine shifting from short-term and inwardly focused goals to positive and healthy lifestyle choices. What sort of impact do you think that will have on our families? Jim Rohn’s Law of Diminishing Intent says, “The longer you wait to do something you should do now, the greater the odds that you will never actually do it.” So here are 5 good habits to start today for a better tomorrow for you and your family.

1. Reading

One way leading begins at home is by reading to and with our children—early and often. It is fantastic for their cognitive and language development. It’s also an easy way to spend quality time together and to discuss the stories you are reading. Regarding our personal growth, Warren Buffet suggests reading—a lot. He says when we do, knowledge builds up “like compound interest.” And author Michael Hyatt says that “reading makes us better thinkers, improves our people skills, and helps us master communication.”

2. Playing

No matter their age, find everyday moments to play with your children.

Husbands and fathers often work really hard for the sake of our families. We work as providers and caregivers, but when is the last time we worked on playing more? Child psychologist Jean Piaget said, “Play is the work of childhood.” Fred Rogers said, “Play is serious learning for children.” Just like reading, playing with our children builds memories and bonds for a lifetime. It also enhances their brain development and imagination. No matter their age, find everyday moments to play with your children. And be sure to build your own leisure into your life, too. Self-care is critical so we can give our families our best.

3. Exercising

I once attended a leadership presentation where the speaker mentioned how often people give up a bad habit but never replace it with a good one. Exercise is a good habit we easily can insert into our days. Whenever possible, walk instead of drive. Be active with your kids and get outside to do some exploring. If your desk space allows, stand instead of sit. Or, sit on an inflatable exercise ball, instead of using a chair, to build your core muscles. Regularly elevating your heart rate through activity increases natural energy, improves quality of life, and helps reduce stress. In turn, you are able to give and enjoy more time with your family.

4. Praying

For many, prayer is a last-ditch effort when a crisis arises. It’s uncomfortable and does not come naturally. Sometimes, even for people who are devout in their faith, prayer is far too often neglected. We simply need to be more intentional about doing it. To start your day off with prayer, simply talk with God. Share what is on your heart. Write small prayers on index cards and keep them with you to review regularly. Pray with your family on a regular basis—and watch how your relationships flourish over time.

5. Engaging

Being involved as a father means you are present and have all the main responsibilities covered. Engaging implies you are actively seeking a deeper relationship with your children and with others. Examples include minimizing distractions to increase family time and being intentional to build partnerships with your children’s teachers. Perhaps it means taking an active role in a cause you and your family are passionate about. There are many physical, psychological, and emotional health benefits to volunteering.

I suggest not making all these changes at once. You will burn yourself out. Instead, take an honest self-assessment and start with the areas that need the most care. I assure you that when you do, you will change for the better. More importantly, your kids will notice positive changes in their dad, and you just may inspire them to begin good habits of their own.

Earn some points: Are you married? If so, share this iMOM article with your wife: 5 Good Habits to Model for Your Kids.

Sound off: What are a few good habits you need to start immediately?

Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What are some habits that would be good for us to start?”