| A Better You |

Creature of Habit  

Being consistent, even when doing less, is more sustainable than making big changes

Creature of Habit
Hadassah Eventsur


hira collapses on her couch and whips out her phone. Her eyes glaze as she watches a reel. Fit and lean with glowing skin, the influencer’s animated message is highlighted with bold green and purple captions at the bottom of the screen. “You don’t have to like exercising; just do it anyway.”

Shira scowls. She knows how many times she’s pushed herself, only to crash and burn. “Maybe there’s something wrong with me,” she mutters.

Miri can’t wait to begin her new endeavor. She’s heard about the benefits of journaling and just knows how life-changing it can be. After work, she detours to the arts and crafts store and purchases a shiny new journal and glitter pens. She’s bursting with excitement as she enters her first journal entry. Unfortunately, by day three, the journal sits at the bottom of a kitchen drawer collecting dust.

Leora’s been waiting to drop those extra pounds since the baby’s birth. She heads to the grocery, shopping list in hand, and 30 minutes later, her cart is piled high with fruits, rice cakes, and low-carb wraps. After unpacking, she detects a low rumbling in her belly. But she’s too exhausted to cut up a salad, and the tub of ice cream in the freezer seems much more appealing than the rice cakes in the cabinet. She whips out the ice cream and a spoon and retreats to her bedroom in shame.

When attempting to establish new habits, many people start strong, but after a few weeks, or maybe even days, their success take a nosedive. If you have ADHD or executive functioning deficits, it’s likely you find it even more challenging to create new habits, due to things like low dopamine production, poor emotional regulation, and poor working memory.

In his book Atomic Habits, James Clear offers ten rules for successful habit building, three of which we’ll discuss in this article. The first rule is: “When building a new habit, consistency is more effective than intensity.” Being consistent, even when doing less, is more sustainable than making big changes. Shira will be more successful starting her exercise program for five minutes a day, five days a week, than if she pushes through an intense one-hour workout.

The second rule is: “When starting a new habit, make it as obvious as possible.” Miri will be better served placing her journal and pen in an area where she’s likely to see it and use it. This could be on her nightstand next to her bed or beside her coffee pot, but not inside a kitchen drawer.

The third rule is: “Make the habit easy and convenient.” In Leora’s case, the ice cream was readily available and didn’t require any prep time. It would be advantageous for her to buy precut fruits and move the ice cream to the basement freezer.

Contrary to popular belief, building new habits has less to do with motivation and more to do with putting in some forethought and planning to set yourself up for success.


Hadassah Eventsur, MS, OTR/L is a licensed occupational therapist with over 20 years of experience, and a certified life coach in the Baltimore, MD area.


Family Ecosystem
Dr. Jennie Berkovich


eaching kids to tackle chores is often a chore itself. I can mop floors or fold laundry a lot faster without little hands trying to “assist.” However, I recognize the importance of chores for a child’s development, well-being, and future success. Engaging children in age-appropriate chores from as early as age three has numerous benefits. Ordinary tasks like washing dishes or folding laundry help children develop essential life skills and cultivate a sense of responsibility, self-esteem, and empathy.

It’s important that parents assign age-appropriate chores. Preschoolers can pick up toys or help with other basic jobs. As children grow older, they can take on more responsibilities, like cooking simple meals, cleaning shared spaces, or assisting with yard work. By gradually increasing the complexity of chores based on age and capability, children develop a sense of accomplishment and independence.

Practically, this isn’t always easy, as requests and reminders are often met with groans and resistance (or maybe that’s just my house?) Here are a few tips to make chores more fun:

Let children help design the chore chart using their favorite colors, stickers, or drawings.

Turn chores into games: Set a timer and see who can complete their chores the fastest, or create a points system where children earn rewards for finishing tasks.

Play upbeat music.

Recognize and celebrate when children complete their chores, even if the results aren’t perfect. Positive reinforcement can encourage them to keep trying.

Discuss the chore list with your children, and let them choose which tasks they want to be responsible for.

Assign chores at the same time each day or week to help children develop good habits.

Adjust as needed: Be willing to modify the chore system if it’s not working for your family. Flexibility and open communication are important. Turns out my two-year-old loves to “sweep,” while my eight-year-old prefers to set the Shabbos table.

Involving children in shared responsibilities within the household teaches the value of contributing to a larger ecosystem, fosters a pitch-in mindset, and reduces self-centeredness. Consistent chore doing instills a strong work ethic, promotes delayed gratification, and enhances problem-solving abilities.


Dr. Jennie Berkovich is a board-certified pediatrician in Chicago and serves as the Director of Education for the Jewish Orthodox Medical Association (JOWMA).


When Silence Isn’t Golden
Sara Eisemann

“Tact is golden, not silence.” — Anonymous

Silence is one of the most powerful and most misunderstood forces in the world. Used well, it conveys an empathy deeper than words could ever hold. It’s an entity — not just the mere absence of sound.

Sometimes, however, it can be used as a lazy shortcut, as a means of avoiding what needs to be said. Rather than taking the time and courage to really express a thought with tact, one can easily retreat into silence and maybe even applaud herself for it. But that kind of silence is just an opportunity that was lost.


Sara Eisemann, LMSW, ACSW, is a licensed therapist, Directed Dating coach, and certified Core Mentor.


(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 890)

Oops! We could not locate your form.